“Writing for Discernment” – A Contemplative Look at Monthly Ministry Themes

What does this month’s ministry theme – Widening the Circle – mean? How can we deepen our friendships, even those connections that challenge us? Where do we see areas in our social lives that encourage us to reach out, encounter, and lean into greater understanding?

Bettye Barclay is generously offering us a safe and nurturing online space to ask ourselves questions like these, based on the ministry themes of the month. In this program, “Writing for Discernment,” participants will receive ahead of time short readings and questions. Each person is invited to choose one thing that speaks to or touches them in some way and to write about it.

During the once-a-month Wednesday night meetings, there will be time for each person to read what they wrote prior to the meeting, in a safe and supportive group environment. There will then be a prompt with time for a brief writing response that people can then share. This isn’t a group that gives critique to one’s written word. All abilities and styles of writing are embraced.

The intent of the meeting is as stated in this lovely quote by Rev. Carol Meyer,

“May we hold one another in the deep and tender places with compassion, and may we grace one another by sharing our own vulnerabilities, being ever mindful of the divinity within that makes soulmates of us all.”

Why should we contemplate the monthly ministry themes? First, they are used to help focus the life of our wider congregation each month for worship, for RE programs, small groups, and other activities. This also helps create a broad and multigenerational connection among people within each church. Through “Writing for Discernment,” we can have a shared experience with our fellow UUSM congregants in contemplation of the themes.

The upcoming themes are: February – Widening the Circle; March – Faith; April – Awakening; May – Beauty; and June – Blessings. This will not be a drop-in group – you will be expected to attend all sessions and contemplate these themes together.

Since coming to UUSM about 10 years ago, Bettye Barclay has helped plan, develop, and facilitate small group programs, including the Heart to Heart program and the Chalice Circles. She led a weekly meditation group for two years, and for several years was the chairperson of the Pastoral Care Associates. She has organized and helped plan the holiday craft fair for several years and she helped plan the Empty Bowl event in two different years that raised over $2,000 each time for the Westside Food Bank.

Bettye is very excited to offer “Writing for Discernment” and looks forward to meeting interested members of the congregation and sharing this time together. The group will meet on the second Wednesday of every month from February until June, from 7:00 -9:00 pm on Zoom, starting this February 9th.

Please sign-up by contacting AdultRE@uusm.org soon!


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