We encourage you to participate in one or more smaller groups where you can have an opportunity to socialize and talk in more depth with people. Some groups discuss things they have read while others meet for informal conversation and support. Some meet via Zoom and some in person with appropriate social distancing, either outdoors or indoors with masks. Some of our groups are oriented to a diverse membership while others are affinity groups aimed at people in similar circumstances, such as over 55 or parents of young children. Music groups also help people to connect.
As part of our Open & Affirming commitment, our church welcomes people from across and beyond the spectrum of gender and sexuality into the fullness of the life of the church. We have many LGBTQIA+ members and leaders at ORUCC. Our gender affinity groups such as the men’s group and the several women’s groups are for those who identify as male or female inclusive of trans people, and also inclusive of gender non-binary or gender queer people. Please speak to the pastors or a group’s leader if you have any questions about any group, or if you would like to help form a small group focused on a particular life situation or identity.
Small groups are open to new members and you are invited to contact them to learn more about each group and how it operates. Please ask Julie at [email protected] if you need information on how to contact a group.
Groups welcoming new participants at any time
- Java and Jesus. Meets weekly on Sunday after worship at 11:30 via Zoom. The link is on our web site and in the church calendar. All are welcome. A different volunteer facilitates each week. Weekly readings are sent out to an email list and also in the Thursday announcements and Saturday worship resources. To be added to the Java and Jesus email list, please contact [email protected].
- Breakfast Group. The Breakfast Group has been meeting on the first Friday of the month at a local restaurant for decades. It began as a women’s group but for the last 10 years has included a men’s table as well. Open to all, it is informal and a chance to connect and converse on many topics. Although the group has been on hold during COVID, it hopes to return to monthly gatherings in early 2022. Contact Louise Jeanne, [email protected], for more information.
Affinity groups and groups that seek more committed ongoing participation
- Men’s group. Meets 2nd and 4th Mondays 7-8:30. Currently meeting in person at church outdoors or masked indoors. May shift to Zoom if needed. Tries to create a safe space for sharing and forming connections. Contact John Lemke [email protected] or 608-829-3692 for information.
- Mediation group. Meets Friday mornings 9-10, currently meeting virtually on Zoom. Ritual typically involves 5 minutes of silence, a reading, 20 minutes of silence, then verbal reflections. Contact Sue Dixon for information [email protected] 608.712.9050
- Over 55. Meets monthly during a weekday with programming of interest for people over age 55, although everyone is welcome. We have had programs with many talented speakers from, among other places, the University, non-profits, city employees. Pre-COVID this was a noon meeting over a delicious buffet. Currently seeking a safe format. Contact Steve Sheets for information. [email protected] or phone 608-225-4052
- Movie Discussion Group. 3rd Fridays. Pre-Covid the group focused a movie available to all. Discussions were lively with many opinions shared with the group for discussion. Until in-person meeting resume, the group is currently looking at creative alternatives to in-person meetings. For more information contact Baxter Richardson, [email protected] or phone 608-509-5528; or Steve Sheets [email protected] or phone 608-225-4052.
- Women’s Compassion Circle Meets 1st and 3rd Thursday 10-11 on Zoom. Confidential sharing and support and forming ongoing connections with attention to the concerns of older women. Small group has room for a few more members. Contact Mary Connor [email protected] for information.
- Women’s Book Group: First Thursday of every month, 1:30-3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Contact Jan Christian [email protected]
- Knitting Group. Knits prayer shawls. Contact Sandra Dyar.
- Pantry Garden Mission Team. We are a seasonal (May – October) group of volunteers who tend the food pantry plot in the ORUCC Veggie Village (garden on east side of property). We welcome new team members each spring. Contact LuAnn Greiner [email protected]
- Landscape Team Plans improvements for landscaping. Contact Ralph Petersen.
- Garden Tenders Team. Meets weekly when in season for sprucing up the flower beds or pruning trees and bushes. When safe, often gets brunch or lunch together after working. Contact Joyce Pohl [email protected] .
- Catering mission team. Prepares and serves food at ORUCC events. We always welcome new helpers and have fun working together to make really good food. We follow safe protocols. Contact Loretta Swanson [email protected]
- Immigration justice mission team. Works with others in the community on advocacy and support for immigrants. Contact Ruthanne Landsness [email protected]
- Racial justice mission team. Plans programming for ORUCC about racial justice issues and connects with other groups in the community working on these issues. Contact Pam Oliver [email protected]
- Care of Creation mission team. Plans programming for ORUCC about environmental issues and connects with other groups working on these issues. Contact Sara Roberts [email protected]
The pandemic has hurt our rich music program and it is still not safe for the choir to reconvene, but some of the instrumental groups have been able to meet in person, masked or outdoors. Music groups are open to new participants and are a place to form friendships while making music together.
- Bell Choir. Bethany Schultz, director
- Tru Function (youth). Rock band and vocals. Rob Martens, director.
- Senior Choir. Bruce Gladstone, director.
- Children’s Music. Julie Mazer, director.