Small groups

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 before worship at 9 am in the Swan room (a meeting room on the side of Friendship Hal) and also available 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 was on hold during COVID, it returned to monthly gatherings in early 2022. Contact Louise Jeanne, [email protected], for more information.
  • 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.   Has resumed meeting over meals.  Contact Steve Sheets for information.  [email protected] or phone 608-225-4052

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 9:30-10:30, 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
  • Movie Discussion Group. This group has been reorganizing to find a safe format post-COVID.  More information in weekly announcements.  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. This 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 Deanna Blanchard [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). Food grown in this plot is donated to the food pantry. We welcome new team members each spring. Contact LuAnn Greiner [email protected]
  • Landscape Team Plans improvements for landscaping. Contact Ralph Petersen.
  • Garden Tenders Team. A friendly group gets together regularly during the growing season to spruce up the flower beds or prune trees and bushes. All are welcome to work on your own or in a group, whether it is to maintain one of the beds every week or to water for a half hour during hot, dry days. The goal is to have a welcoming area at our entrances and in the meditation garden where the garth is located and memorial services are occasionally held. New plantings emphasize native species to promote pollinators and respect for our habitat. 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]

Music Groups

Our music groups have come back together. 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.