Chalice Groups

Women's chalice group (1)

Chalice Group Ministry is a vital part of many Unitarian Universalist congregations. Groups of 10-12 people meet regularly, usually monthly, to reflect on and discuss significant life topics.

Chalice Groups are a great place to get to know other people and to get to know yourself. Over time, participants build deep connections with one another, with the congregation and with the sacred.

Whether the topic is “good and evil”, “mindful living” or “letting go”, the conversation is respectful and caring, and leads to greater understanding. In each session, facilitated by a member of the congregation, all participants have the opportunity to share their perspectives, tell their stories and listen deeply. The time together is structured: Groups typically begin with centering readings before the sharing begins. Many groups also put their faith in action through service projects.

Here are a few examples of current Chalice Groups at First Parish:

  • “We are a diverse and welcoming group of seekers meeting on third Tuesdays from 7 – 8:30 PM on Zoom; in summer we like to meet in an accessible location outdoors. We share our lives as well as our reflections on a wide variety of topics. We gladly welcome new members.”
  • “Our Chalice Group meets the first Monday of each month. We rotate hosting and – separately – facilitating. Our meetings feature a Chalice Lighting, check-ins and discussion. Wine, beer, cheese, and light snacks are provided. Conviviality abounds. Recent topics include: What momentous decision in your life did you take and how has that affected you? Entitlement and gratitude. What is your purpose in life? Taking in the good. Homelessness.”
  • “Our group meets on the third Sunday of the month, onsite after the church service. We usually have seven members. Topics of discussion relate to that morning’s service or another topic that members have suggested.”

If you are interested in joining or facilitating a chalice group, contact Rev. Norm at minister@firstparishportland.org.

UU Outdoors Group

Members of UU Outdoors aim to build meaningful connections with others in our church community who gain inspiration and strength in celebrating the glories of the natural world. Our small group (maximum ten people) offers easy to moderate walks that range from a stroll in a nearby nature preserve to a mountain hike. Generally, we explore natural areas within an hour drive of Portland. Depending on the interests of our members, we may also include other activities such as birding, paddling, biking, or snowshoeing. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor activity, we switch venues and meet indoors at a member’s home. We meet once a month, typically the fourth Thursday. We expect members to be experienced, familiar, and comfortable with hiking; our group is not intended to be a training/education service to introduce newcomers to outdoor activities. 

Every member of our group is expected to facilitate monthly meetings on a rotating basis. Facilitation includes selecting the time and location of the meeting, as well as planning a spiritual aspect to our outdoor adventure. This includes offering poetry, prose, or artwork; leading activities that help us appreciate the natural world; presenting topics pertaining to natural or cultural history relevant to the area; and leading group discussion relevant to the topic of the day. For more information, contact Lois Winter at loiswinter54@gmail.com or Elizabeth Chapman at eliza.chapman177@gmail.com.