How to Start an Affinity Group

From The Rev. Dena McPhetres, Associate Minister:

It’s fun to hang out with people who have similar interests. When you have an activity in common, it is easier to make friends and feel like you belong to a community. The Affinity Groups in our congregation are an excellent opportunity to do this and they are open to everyone, whether you are a long-time member or a newcomer.

We currently have ten Affinity Groups. Some are demographically oriented according to age or “place in life” like the UU Parenting group, the YANKS group for young adults, the FFUUN group for Forties and Fifties, and the SWANS group for single women alone or newly single in, shall we say, the second half of life. Some groups gather according to interest, like the Poetry Group, Buddhist Group, and Book Discussion Group.

But there are many more groups that could be formed. What about a LGBT group or a softball team or a men’s group or a chanting group? What about a Spanish conversation group or a humanist group or a motorcycle group? OK, do you think a uni-cycle group would be more popular?

Almost any kind of group can be formed if there is enough interest and one or two people willing and able to serve as leaders. If you have an idea for a new group, here’s what to do: contact me and I will coach you through the process. It’s pretty simple.

First, decide on the purpose of the group and find a name for it. Second, talk it up and find other members with the same interest. Make a list of people who promise to be involved for the first year. At least half of the names need to be members of our church. Third, send me a proposal and I will refine it with you and bring it to a staff meeting for consideration. Once staff approval is granted, you are good for a one year “incubation” period to see if your group gains momentum. That’s really all it takes!