Being part of a small group book study is a wonderful way to deepen your faith and make connections. Not only do you learn and grow from the material being studied, you get to learn from one another. A small group study allows you to celebrate with one another the things going right, encourage one another when a little help is needed, and even challenge one other to go deeper when the autopilot has been engaged for too long.
This fall, there are three different book study groups being organized to address different people at different stages in their faith journeys. The specific time and location of the gatherings will be determined by those who express interest in taking part.
We’ll be forming and organizing the groups in coming weeks in hopes that they begin meeting in October and conclude their study in December. Contact Pastor Mandy by September 23rdto sign up to participate. The week of the 23rd, you’ll receive information in order to coordinate meeting dates/times.
The three small groups we are offering this fall are on Parenting, Aging, and Healing Spiritual Wounds.
This small group will gather for conversation based on the short but significant book 10 Best Parenting Ways to Ruin Your Child by Israel Galindo. The focus of the book is not on trying to “fix” our children but rather on learning how to engage in better parenting behavior. Childcare will be coordinated for this group’s gatherings and Pastor Mandy will be leading the group discussions. Are you a parent of a teenager? You’re welcome to participate and to use Israel Galindo’s similar book, 10 Best Parenting Ways to Ruin Your Teenager.
This small group will gather for spiritual reflection on the blessings and challenges of aging. Conversation will be based on Joan Chittister’s book, The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully which reflects on many aspects of aging—the purpose and concerns, the struggle and surprises, the potential and joys. Nancy Plott Williams will be convening this small group.
Healing Spiritual Wounds
This small group will gather for conversation based on Carol Howard Merritt’s book, Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God after Experiencing a Hurtful Church. Church member and chaplain Stephanie Hamilton will be leading this group. From the publisher: “Raised as a conservative Christian, minister and author Carol Howard Merritt discovered that the traditional institutions she grew up in inflicted great pain and suffering while purporting to preach about the God of love and grace. Though she loved the spirituality the church provided, she knew that because of sexism, homophobia, and manipulative religious politics, established religious institutions weren’t always holy or safe. Instead of offering refuge, these institutions have betrayed people’s hearts and souls. ‘People have suffered religious abuse,’ she writes, ‘which can be different from physical injury or psychological trauma.’
Though participation and affiliation in traditional religious institutions are waning, many people still believe in God. Merritt contends that many leave the church because they have lost trust in the institution, not in God. Healing Spiritual Wounds addresses the church’s dichotomous image—as a safe space and as a dangerous place—and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith. Merritt lays out a multistage plan for moving from pain to spiritual rebirth, from recovering theological and emotional shards to recovering communal wholeness.”