pix1  pix2 pix3  pix4  pix5 
Home Newsletter Calendar Worship & Music Religious Education Membership & Belonging Who's Who Social Justice Weddings & Other Rites Administration Programs & Activities Search
So why do we need small group ministries?

by UU Minister Thandeka

For Good Reason

So why do we need small group ministries? Why can't we do this work by ourselves? Because it takes a village to sustain a soul. I use an extreme example to make this small point. The story is recounted by psychoanalyst R. D. Laing during his work with a catatonic schizophrenic patient.

Each day, as Laing made his rounds, he would sit next to the immobile man and say something like: "If my mother had locked me in a closet for all of those years, I wouldn't want to talk to anyone either."

Day in and day out, Laing made such statements to the man and then would move on to his next patient.

And then the day came. Laing sat next to the man, told him he would not want to speak to anyone either, if he had been treated the way this man had been treated by his mother. And the man turned to him and said, "Yeah."

The man had heard another person say to him "You are sad and for good reason." This man had been left alone for so long that his feelings and thoughts had been gutted of content. He had become an abstraction of time, an experience without thoughts, feelings, or an inner life because no one was there with him; no one was there who cared.

In covenant groups, members say to each other, "I am lonely and for good reason," and the group is there with them and says, "Yeah."

Someone says, "I feel sad and for good reason." And the group is there with them and says, "Yeah."

Someone else says, "I need more love, more compassionate engagement, more attentive care--and for good reason." And the group says, "Yeah."

So if someone tells you that she or he knows pain, loneliness, loss, fear, and dismay, but does not know the feeling of being sustained by a love that is wider, deeper, and infinitely vaster than the sorrows, hear those words as a commission.

Hear your commission to love, to create community, and to heal. One at a time in personal relationships, ten at a time in covenant groups, hundreds at a time in our congregations, hundreds of thousands at a time in our religious movement, millions at a time as we take our commission deeper and deeper into humanity's heart as a justice-loving people who will transform the world.

This is the Good News of our faith. The power that sustains our faith turns our small group ministries into spiritual practices that can heal and transform the world.


Member Canadian Unitarian Council
The First Unitarian Church of Hamilton
170 Dundurn Street South
Hamilton ON  L8P 4K3
Phone: 905-527-8441  Fax: 905-527-6420

General Email: info@firstunitarianhamilton.org