Soul Matters

Soul Matters

Updated September 2021

In our church community, physical distancing does not have to mean social distancing. Small groups of people committed to exploring spirituality together are forming right now to meet online for this church year!

In joining a Soul Matters group, you can expect to gather online each month with 8-10 fellow Unitarian Universalists to explore your spiritual life in a deeper way. Soul Matters groups meet online once a month to explore our church’s monthly theme through an at-home packet of spiritual readings, videos, music, and soul-searching questions.

Whether you are a returning Soul Matters participant or want to participate in this spiritual exploration for the first time, please fill out this form to be registered in Soul Matters. Soul Matters groups from last year may decide to continue meeting in September or October. New members will be placed in existing or newly created groups.

About Soul Matters

Soul Matters is a theme-based ministry for the whole congregation. Each month, we join over 150 UU congregations across the country in exploring a monthly theme through resources from the Soul Matters program.

Soul Matters is throughout church life at UUCL – in worship services, in gatherings for children and youth, and in small groups that explore the theme together!

What are Soul Matters groups?

Unitarian Universalism entails seeking truth and meaning in covenant with others–and Soul Matters small-group ministry can extend your practice beyond Sunday mornings. Soul Matters groups offer an intimate community of trust who covenant to gather for a year (or more) to explore and deeply discuss a compilation of spiritual resources each month on a topic connected to UUCL’s monthly worship theme. These groups currently meet online.

Soul Matters participants help one another deepen personal spiritual practices and strengthen their bonds with each other as members of this faith community.

What is Soul Matters like?

Many at UUCL find Soul Matters groups a deeply meaningful part of our spiritual practice. They offer a sense of belonging and a circle of fellow UUs who support one another’s spiritual growth. Soul Matters groups consist of eight to ten people. Each month, members explore the packet of spiritual resources on their own, then gather with the group to share how the insights and wonderings from the packet have illuminated their lives.

Facilitators from the congregation, who meet regularly with the Director of Lifespan Faith Development, guide each group in a specific process designed to foster deep listening and trust.

You can learn more about the Soul Matters approach here.

UUCL offers four types of Soul Matters groups:

  • Soul Matters groups: Most groups at UUCL follow the core Soul Matters format, delving into the monthly packet and then meeting to discuss it deeply.
  • Starting Point: From the creators of Soul Matters, Starting Point brings new life to UU theology & history. After several sessions of exploring what Unitarian Universalism and spiritual connection mean to participants, the group continues with the “regular” Soul Matters experience of the monthly themed packet. Perfect for those newer to Unitarian Universalism or UUCL and long-time members who want to build community.
  • “Moving and Making” Soul Matters group: Members of this group stretch their spiritual muscles to engage with the monthly theme and communicate with their Soul Matters group first and foremost through creative and embodied practices. This might include body movement, drawing, music, craftwork, poetry, movement meditation, and prioritizing the creative or multimedia resources in the packet.
  • Parents’ Soul Matters group: A Soul Matters group for parents who seek to explore the monthly theme alongside other parents, finding connection and support along the way.

How to Gather in a Pandemic (September 2021)

As we all know, we’re in an ongoing pandemic. Children under 12 still don’t have access to the vaccine, and rates of transmission and hospitalization are very high in Lancaster. Therefore…
– Some groups will meet outdoors, masked or unmasked while weather permits, then move to online in colder months.
– Some will meet indoors after a conversation in covenant about vaccination status, risk, and whether to all mask or to leave it up to individuals.
– At least one group will meet virtually for the entire year.
We’ll try to place you with a group that shares similar baseline preferences (for example, if you indicate you want to only meet online, we’ll try to place you in a virtual group). But groups will also need to have a big conversation at the beginning of the year and again month to month.As you decide how to meet, whether that is…
  • virtually vs. in person,
  • outdoors vs. indoors,
  • all masking vs. individual preference only,
  • indoors with air filtration and distancing vs. higher risk activities such as eating or singing close together…
please consider this shared truth: that we live in an interconnected web of life of which we are all a part. The decisions we make about how to meet reflect our deepest commitments to inclusion, love, and mutuality. And, there are very few obvious decisions right now. So please make time for conversations about gathering that genuinely leave space for every person to express their needs. As you consider, I ask you to prioritize the highest needs for survival and safety among the group; while also thinking about each person’s access to the group:
  • If even one person in the group is or is in regular contact with a vulnerable person (such as a child under 12 or someone at high risk of hospitalization) and has concerns about meeting indoors unmasked, the group should find a safer way to meet – whether by all committing to wear a well-fitting mask, or meeting outdoors or online. We prioritize survival over comfort.
  • Once safety needs are considered – for example, if a group has already decided not to meet indoors unmasked – please also discuss your access needs.
    • If one member of the group has trouble hearing outdoors, the group may want to meet online, even if all are willing to meet outdoors for safety reasons.
    • If a member finds it difficult to meet in person without childcare, the group want to continue meeting online even if all feel safe enough to meet in person.
  • We strongly urge groups to also consider our responsibility to the community in its current situationif COVID spread is high, we encourage meeting outdoors/online or masking and distancing — even if you personally are vaccinated and are not concerned about your own COVID risk exposure.

Testimonials

“It occurred to me three years ago that Soul Matters truly is the heart of my UUCL experience.  This small group exemplifies the acceptance and social impartiality we all seek.  The topics examined are thought-provoking. It is so uplifting to take the time and inclination to examine my life.”  

– Candy DeGreen

 “I love the topics and various sources provided each month in the packet.  Our thoughtful leader helps us mine our own thoughts and responses.  I also got to know a lot more UUCL members through the group.” 

– Kirsten Buchanan

Unitarian Universalist Church - Lancaster, PA

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