What are they?
Chalice Communities are UUCF's Small Group Ministry. The name alludes to the flaming chalice, the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Chalice Communities are normally six to twelve members and friends of the congregation. Each group meets regularly (usually twice a month) to share experiences, interests, and ideas, and to explore spiritual themes through guided discussion. Topics for discussion are selected by the group and groups are led by one or two facilitators. Though these groups provide fellowship and support, they are not intended to be therapy.
Who runs the program?
UUCF’s program has been developed by members of the congregation, based on successful programs in other UU congregations, with the support of the minister. Chalice facilitators meet together several times a year. Administration of the program is done by the Chalice Communities Steering Committee. Current co-chairs are Tina Whims and Tara Scibelli, who can be reached at .
Why should I join?
Small group ministry programs answer the need many people feel for creating community ties and nurturing spiritual growth.
- For newcomers they offer a way to become a part of the congregation and gain a sense of belonging.
- For long-time members they create new ways to relate, care for, and connect to one other.
What are the meetings like?
Chalice Community group meetings follow an established pattern:
- Chalice lighting and opening reading
- “Check-in” to see how you are doing and what's on your mind (Limited to a few minutes per person.)
- Discussion based on topic chosen
- Meetings will focus on topics such as:
- Pure Joy
- How We Celebrate the Holidays
- Moral Courage
- What we Love
- "Check-out” for final comments
- Closing words and chalice extinguishing
Groups may spend as many meetings as they like on a topic. However, the primary goal is not to lecture to one another, but to talk and listen to one another.
When and for how long do the groups meet?
New groups form each fall and generally meet from late September through mid-June twice a month. Daytime, evening, or weekend groups are planned depending on registrations and preferences of the participants. Each meeting is usually two hours.
What else should I know?
- People who join chalice groups are asked to consider them as a time commitment. While occasional schedule conflicts do arise, the intent is not for chalice groups to be a "drop in when you want" kind of group. That said, individual groups do have different ways they handle this commitment.
- Each chalice group is asked to perform two service projects as a group each year; one within UUCF and one out in the larger community. Some groups in the past have hosted new member or artist receptions, provided refreshments or support for other UUCF events, or assisted with the bi-monthly Elmer Derr Road clean-up. Outside projects have included providing support to the local food bank, assisting in beautification activities at local state and community parks, and packing donation boxes for Meals on Wheels or Blessings in a Backpack. Groups decide together what projects they want to work on, with the idea that as many group members as are able will participate.
How do I join?
Look for sign-up announcements in the mid-week e-mail and order of service beginning in mid-August. A sample chalice session is usually planned at the beginning of each new cycle so those who have never participated in chalice groups before can see what they are like.
New members may be added to these groups during the year on a space-available basis, or if enough people sign up, a new group can be formed during the year at a time that is convenient for all participants.
- Register online at any time.
- Registration forms are in the Religious Education cabinet in the atrium (the room behind the sanctuary) during the fall registration period.
- Register by email: send your name, phone number, and times you are available for a group to the .
It is possible to arrange to visit a group before committing; please make arrangements to do so by e-mailing the co-chairs, who will direct you to the appropriate chalice facilitator.
(Note: The Short Link for this page is FrederickUU.org/CC)