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"Branches" Covenant Groups: UCBR Small Group Ministry

A Branches group provides a structure within which participants minister to each other. The subject matter of the group is the participants' lives. Intimacy and Ultimacy are the goals. Group members listen to each other, but do not attempt to solve each other's problems. These are not therapy or encounter groups. The groups are part of a religious community , the Church. Most groups usher about one month per year. Some groups choose to take on other service projects for the church or the larger community.

There are currently 24 Branches groups, with over 250 participants, including 44 Branches leaders. The program began in 1999.

Eligibility

Anyone who is a graduate of the Unitarian Church Roots orientation class or is a member of the church may join a Branches group.

To request to join a group, print and fill out this form. This form is also available at the Welcome Table any Sunday. If you have any questions, call the church office at 225-926-2291, or email Karen Girardot at kaywerks@bellsouth.net or Leslie Todd at leslietoddlcsw@gmail.com

Basic Structure of a Branches Meeting

Branches groups have approximately 8 to 12 members and are led by lay people. Usually, there are two co-leaders. They meet monthly in private homes. Members may invite the group to meet in their home, or not. Meetings last two hours, including the refreshment period.

Expectations of a Branches Participant

  1. To commit to a year of participation.

  2. To give attendance at Branches meetings a high priority.

  3. To commit to listening to other group members.

  4. To help write a covenant for the group or to participate in a review of the groups existing covenant, if the new member is joining an ongoing group.

  5. To give church attendance a high priority.

  6. To participate in a group service project to the church annually.

Branches Leaders

The facilitators of our groups are usually experienced participants who volunteer to lead. Each leader is trained locally using Small Group Ministry materials gathered from across the nation. Sessions are chosen from the library of UU Small Group MInistry at www.smallgroupministry.net