Theme Based Ministry, by Reverend Stefanie Etzbach-Dale
Theme-Based Ministry is a vibrant spiritual enrichment program that has been enhancing many Unitarian Universalist congregations in recent years. It is being celebrated for its ability to build religious literacy and Unitarian Universalist identity. It inspires and challenges, encouraging creativity, as well as multigenerational and interfaith relationships.
Offering a creative framework that can be adapted to each congregation’s needs and resources, Theme Based Ministry (TBM) encourages members, visitors and guests of all ages to engage with timeless theological themes. A different theme is given focus each month for nine months of the year (September-May), primarily through Sunday worship services, but also through monthly Theme Based Ministry flyers (see below).
Below please find Theme Based Ministry flyers for this year’s monthly themes, as well as those of the previous two years:
Summer Months June, July & August there are No Themes as we are on Summer Break. TBM will continue in the Fall.
2016-2017 MONTHLY THEMES:
2015-2016 MONTHLY THEMES:
Unity (September 2015) (pdf)
Vocation (October 2015) (pdf)
Gratitude (November 2015) (pdf)
Peace (December 2015) (pdf)
Grace (January 2016)
Prayer (February 2016)
Letting Go (March 2016)
Salvation (April 2016)
Truth (May 2016)
2014-2015 MONTHLY THEMES:
Forgiveness (September 2014) (pdf)
Death & Letting Go (October 2014) (pdf)
Faith (November 2014) (pdf)
Hope (December 2014) (pdf)
Justice (January 2015) (pdf)
Love (February 2015) (pdf)
Brokenness (March 2015) (pdf)
Transformation (April 2015) (pdf)
Transcendence (May 2015) (pdf)
Theme Based Ministry is readily experienced as meaningful both on a personal level and for congregations actively seeking to grow in depth.
It gives shape to the flow and content of our weekly worship services and inspires other activities, such as: journaling, reading related books or watching movies, writing poems, songs or reflections, organizing related service projects, or creating or participating in related small-group discussions or prayer or meditation groups.
The monthly “Sharing Circles” facilitated by our Minister are powerful and popular ways to engage in heart-centered reflection and conversation on the monthly themes. (See newsletter and calendar for schedule).
Teams and committees are encouraged to incorporate monthly themes into their business meetings by offering opening and closing words relating to the topic, by using related quotes or questions as part of the check-in and/or by assuring theme-based ministry planning is on the agenda.
Another way to share these themes with the wider community is to engage with UUFRC’s Facebook page (clicking “like”, commenting or sharing), which often contains resources and memes related to the monthly theme.
Please do share your experiences on Theme Based Ministry with our Minister and Committee on Ministries!
How are these themes being incorporated into your own life, spiritual practice and world view? Are they helpful? Do you struggle with them? Why? What resources might you be able to recommend or organized? What are your ideas for weaving these themes into congregational worship, learning, social activities, and committee and team work? Would you welcome revisiting some of these themes? Which ones, and why (or why not)? Which themes do you think might be helpful to incorporate into our program in the future?