Small Groups

An Introduction to Love Small Group
Four gatherings at 50 Church St. Waltham
This Agape small group is centered around the book "Love: A Guide for Prayer" by Jacqueline Syrup Bergan and Sister Marie Schwan.  Our small group times will be a chance to dive deeply into spiritual practices, scripture, and individual reflection on our faith, while also meeting regularly for support, sharing, and prayer.  First gathering, including a brief introduction, will be the week of February 25. Let Matt your availability here for which weeknight works best for you.  We’ll meet first the week of February 25th, with our three gatherings the following days:
Monday March 11 from 7:15-8:45pm
Tuesday March 26 from 7:15-8:45pm
Monday April 8 from 7:15-8:45pm
  
Initiating Inspiration Book Group
March 18th from 7:15-8:45pm
Waltham Public Library
Daring Greatly by Brené BrownAgape, in partnership with the Waltham Public Library, is leading a book group focused on inspirational, empowering, and spiritual readings. This group meets every other month. The March book is "Daring Greatly" by Brené Brown. All are welcome whether you've read the book or not. Please reach out to the Library for book availability.Researcher and thought leader Brené Brown encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. Daring Greatly is about truth and trust, in our organizations, families, schools, and communities. She asks us to consider that vulnerability is necessary. When we show up and allow ourselves to be seen and heard, we are being vulnerable. We are daring greatly.

Racial Justice Training
Sunday, March 24th and March 25th
March 24- 2pm to 8pm
March 25- 7pm to 9pm
Intercultural Center (ICC), Brandeis University
415 South St., Waltham 02453 

The Bible says in Genesis 1:27 that "God created humankind in God's own image." Later in Genesis 1:31 the Bible says, "God saw all that was created, and it was very good." When we combine these two essential passages from Genesis, there is no basis for racism. Racial justice is a moral problem - it is a spiritual problem. Come and join in this 8-hour level one racial justice training, building off the 2-hour introductory training last June. This training is organized by Agape Spiritual Community, and led by trained facilitators in the Mass. Conference UCC.  All are welcome to attend, but space is limited. 

For more information, contact Matt Carriker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 774-270-2185.  For info about Agape: www.agapewaltham.org Agape Spiritual Community's vision is to be a Multicultural, Multiracial community that makes God's love and justice real in Waltham and the world.

Zen Zone
Date TBD
Waltham Public Library
735 Main St Waltham, MA, 02451
  
Mindfulness fills a great need for adults and youth to find physical, mental, and emotional calm in these busy, often overwhelming times.  Mindfulness promotes non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, and fosters calm, better concentration, and more openness.  Youth and adults learn how to be kinder to themselves and others, more confident, and less judgmental.  This monthly Zen Zone, a partnership between the Waltham Public Library and Agape Spiritual Community, will engage in and practice a variety of mindful and contemplative practices.  Zen Zone will be facilitated by Rev. Matt Carriker (Protestant Chaplain at Brandeis University and Pastor at Agape Spiritual Community in Waltham) and other guests.
 
 Contact Matt if you would like to participate, or would like more information. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vital small groups keep people connected in the Agape community.  Each small groups in the Agape community has various spiritual practices to "fill your cup" and empower you to be a blessing in the world.  Some examples of practices we do include:

- Clearness Committees  “Sacred, intentional way of helping someone discern God’s will in their life and in particular situations through silence, and deep sharing and listening.”
- Heart Circles    “Small groups where people sit in circle to explore what they truly want to create in their lives and world.  Topics could include partnerships/marriage, family, friends, community, work, money, leisure, health, learning/creativity, life details, etc.”
- Lectio Divina    “Slow, sacred means of reading scripture in a devotional way, seeking to integrate the insights of prayer, silence, and scripture into life.  Imagine the image of a cow chewing grass, rather than reading academically or intellectually.”
- Bible study    “Studying biblical books, stories, etc. for greater clarity of understanding, and seeking to integrate the Bible’s wisdom into our own lives.”
- Book study    “Reading a book of choice and reflecting on its spiritual or moral implications for our lives.”
- Forgiveness    “Doing forgiveness prayers together, including Howard Wills’ prayers.”
- Yoga & Chanting    “Getting into our bodies through incarnational yoga practice, and deep, devotional, heart-centered chanting, to open one’s heart to God.”
- Meditation (various forms) including Centering Prayer, Mindfulness, and Practicing the presence of God:     “Opening one’s heart to God in silent prayer.  Meditation could include various forms, including visualizations or centering prayer (which uses a sacred word to concentrate).  Mindfulness is a centering awareness practice- of ourselves, our body, breath, actions, emotions, surroundings, and God.  Could include mindful breathing/sitting, mindful walking, mindful eating, etc.”
- Cycling    “Biking out in nature as a spiritual practice.”
- Hiking    “Walking out in nature as a spiritual practice.”
- Storytelling     "Everyday we tell a story to people. This small group provides the opportunity to reflect on the story that we (and others) are telling in life as well as what this means to us."
- Service    “Various local or global service projects to make a difference in the world.”
- Peace and Justice work    “Includes various forms of working for peace in the home, community, or world, or for various social justice issues.”
 

Why small groups at Agape?

People long for connection in community.  Not superficial connection, but deep and meaningful connection.  While people are inspired by worship services, deep community happens in small groups that are affirming, life-giving, and uplifting.

Vital small groups are the lifeblood that keep people connected in the Agape community.  These small groups have several components that facilitate deep meaning and connection:

  1. Spirituality- whether it be prayer, meditation, or another form of spiritual practice, each small group integrates spirituality to varying degrees, depending on their focus.
  2. Meaningful personal sharing, and support and prayer for each small group member throughout life’s ups and downs.
  3. Service- depending on their focus, service may be the primary activity of some groups, while others may engage in service for targeted periodic projects.  Each group together discerns how they are called to be of service in the wider community and world. 
  4. Regular meeting time- whether it be monthly, biweekly, or weekly for a period of time, the regularity of each group’s meetings is determined by its members.

Interested in starting or participating in an Agape small group? 

  Contact Matt