St Clements Church Toronto
Small Groups at St. Clement's
Updated: Mar 10, 2022
Our parish strategic plan calls for “developing small groups as a vehicle for prayer, study, and belonging.” Those are your words, not mine. Over and over again, in the development of our strategic plan, when asked where you felt most spiritually alive, connected to God and one another, you responded that it happened in small groups. Places to know and be known beyond the big-ness of Sunday morning.
This past fall, 40 of your fellow parishioners took the step to participate in a small group for 6 weeks. The responses were overwhelmingly positive, with 84% saying they hoped not only to continue but also to do so with the same group.
As your priest and pastor, I see and hear your sense of isolation, loneliness, fear, and hunger for more. The pandemic is hard and it is not over. And the longer it draws out, the harder it can be to feel connected to God and one another. To feel a part of the ship that is St. Clement’s.
Look up at the ceiling of our church sanctuary and you will see the hull of a ship. Blow out the stained glass windows and that’s where the oars go. The pews are the galley where we row together into the future God is carrying us toward.
Ours is neither a pleasure craft nor a cruise ship, but an expeditionary vessel. We are traveling through seas no one has ever charted before. The world in front of us is not like the one behind us. Not one single person alive knows what the church will look like on the far side of the pandemic.
What I do know is that no one needs to journey alone. And the stories and the view are way better when we’re rowing next to somebody.
Our parish mission is “learning to follow Jesus Christ.” Our small group ministry is designed to support that big goal in practical, small ways. What to expect?
We will provide structure and space for ordinary folks...to share where and how God is showing up in our lives...reflect together on scripture and wisdom and their intersection with our everyday lives...close with prayer, thanksgiving, and worship. There is no formula, only people, learning how to follow Jesus together.
A few pieces to ponder:
Our winter small groups launch the week of Feb 1 and run to Holy Week (10 weeks total). Each group will meet on a predetermined day/time and will be run by a trained, lay small group leader, who is a fellow parishioner.
All gatherings this winter will take place over zoom, with the hope to move in-person down the road.
Groups will be inter-generational by design, with between 8-12 people each.
Registration goes live next week. Hope to see you on board!
Yours truly in Christ,
Andrew (Rector aka ‘Captain’)
For the full Anchor, click here.