By Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister


Starting this church year, Emerson will be participating in “Soul Matters,” a Small Group Ministry program built around monthly themes. What I am really enthusiastic about is that Soul Matters is not a stand-alone program—we will also be exploring those themes in Worship and in Children’s Religious Education.


Many Christian churches follow a liturgical calendar, where each Sunday has predetermined scripture passages, which then inform the theme of the service. Since Unitarian Universalists are not tied to one holy book, many congregations have started following monthly themes. I like this approach because the structure forces me to get creative with Worship, and inspires me to preach about topics I might not normally think to preach about.


Some churches have started exploring the themes together as a way of sharing ideas and inspiration. What I really like about the “Soul Matters” model, which almost 200 congregations are participating in, is that the worship themes integrate into other aspects of church life. Whether you’re in Worship, Small Group Ministry, or a Religious Education class (including teaching), we’re all exploring the same theme from different perspectives.


There are also readings, songs, articles, spiritual practices, reflection questions, movie recommendations, and more, included in a monthly packet. And if you want to explore further, you can join the Facebook group for deeper discussions with people from other congregations.


If you’ve been thinking about joining Small Group Ministry–whether this is your first time, or you’re coming back after taking a break–I think that this would be a fantastic time to participate. We’ll be starting the new groups this September and October. Contact Rhod Zimmerman at to sign up, or if you’d like to switch groups.




2016-17 Monthly “Soul Matters” Themes

What does it mean to be a community of…

September:  Covenant

October:  Healing

November:  Story

December:  Presence

January:   Prophecy

February:  Identity

March:  Risk

April:  Transformation

May:  Embodiment

June:  Zest