Wings Touch Groups

2017 Spring Con Touch Groups:

A note to the touch group leaders,

Congratulations and thank you for choosing to be a touch group leader at this spring con! Being a touch group leader is an important part of con and is a meaningful position in the community. As you lead your group through the activities give them the option or opportunity to respond in a way that is most appropriate for them. I also ask that you are mindful and respectful of people in the group as well as your space in the church. If you have any questions at all about touch groups, feel free to let Will or I know and we will do our best to help you and your touch group. Have an amazing and insightful time. <3



    Chalice Lighting/Opening Words:

Spirit of life and love, we have gathered here in search of answers to hard questions. We have come in search of understanding, in search of community. We have come in search of hope and healing.

Let this be a place not only of searching, but of discovery. Let this be a place of learning, but of wisdom.

Let this be a place not only of meeting, but of connection. And let this be a place where healing fosters giving and hope fosters service.

This is our prayer: that we may create here a circle of love, ever expanding, ever growing, as we seek to know you, the source of our being. Amen and blessed be.

-Sue Ayer

Welcome to  Spring Con 2017! This touch group is primarily for your group to get to know each other. So if someone in your group hasn’t ever been to a con welcome them and give them a little introduction to what con is and what it means to you in your check in.

    Check in:

  • Name and pronouns

  • How many Cons have you been to?

  • Where are you from?

  • What is your favorite “me-time” activity?


Before beginning, quickly go over the guidelines for the activities:

  • Everyone has the right to participate

  • Everyone has the right to pass or be silent

  • Treat one another with respect

  • Aim to converse with-not convert-other participants

Add any others as needed.

Part 1: Invite the group to divide into small groups and spend a couple minutes taking turns answering the question, "What brings you here?" Explain that it can be a powerful spiritual practice to fully and deeply listen to someone else-not to fill our heads with what we're planning to say when it's our turn or with judgments and responses to what we're hearing, but to simply listen to another person.

After about four to six minutes, bring everyone back into one group. Ask for volunteers to respond to the following questions. Record responses on paper provided.

  • Did you find that the individuals in your group had very different motivations for participation, or similar ones?

  • What are some motivations that your small group had in common?

  • What other motivations-perhaps less common-have brought you here?

Explain to the group that these sheets will be posted again at the end of the weekend so that they can assess whether they've gotten what they came for and whether their reasons for participation have changed over time.

Part 2: Refer to the paper Eight Spheres of Spiritual Growth. Go over the information, taking time to highlight each sphere. Ask participants to listen to each sphere's description and to reflect on how they do or don't engage that sphere in their spiritual lives.

When the description of the spheres is complete, offer the following questions for discussion:

  • Do these spheres describe a well-rounded Unitarian Universalist spiritual life? If so, how? If not, is there any area you would add to the model to round it out?

  • What spheres have you found it easiest to tend to in your life? Which ones are harder to tend to?

  • Which spheres have been enhanced by participation in your congregation/ in the activities done at Con?

Conclude by affirming participants' motivations for attending. Express your hope that this be a place where they can deepen and grow their spirituality.


Keeping faith, our faithfulness keeps us. Go in faith. -Raymond R. Nasemann

Saturday Morning:

    Chalice Lighting/Opening Words:

We recognize and accept one another and encourage spiritual growth in our congregations and spaces. -3 UU Principle

    Check in:

  • How are you feeling?

  • How is Con going so far?

  • Is there anything else that you would like to share?


Divide participants into small groups. Invite each group to move next to one of the circles representing a sphere of spiritual growth. Ask the groups to use the markers to write down as many spiritual practices as they can think of that are related to the sphere they're considering. After about two minutes, ask the groups to rotate to their right and take some time writing down more practices on another sphere. Rotate one more time, so that each group has had the chance to consider three spheres.

When all of the practices have been identified, ask participants to take a few minutes to read what has been identified in the various spheres. Invite discussion on any of these questions:

  • What was it like to do this activity? (Ask follow-up questions to draw out participant responses. For example, if a participant says "It was hard," follow up with "What was hard about it?")

  • Did anything you wrote or read surprise you? How so?

  • Looking at these lists, what can you conclude about Unitarian Universalist spirituality?

  • What criteria can help you choose a practice that's meaningful to you?

  • How do you know when a spiritual practice "fits" you?

Affirm the good work of the group. Emphasize that spiritual practice, like spiritual growth, is something that can change and be adapted throughout our lives according to who we are and where we find ourselves.


And now may we go forth

in the certainty of faith,

in the knowledge of love,

and in the vision of hope.

And in our going, may we be blessed

with all good things on this day

and forevermore. Amen.

-Harold E. Babcock

Saturday Afternoon:

Chalice Lighting/Opening Words:

We unite in our differences in background and belief;

We unite—with gratitude and hope:

Hope for a world of differences;

Hope for a world that honors difference;

We unite in community

With gratitude for difference.

-David Breeden

    Check in:

  • How was Con, overall?

  • What did you learn?


Part 1: Remind the group that they began Touch groups by answering the question "What brought you here?" Now it is time to focus on what they will carry forward with them. Invite participants to form small groups and spend four-six minutes taking turns answering the question, "What will you take from here?" Note once again that it can be a powerful spiritual practice to fully and deeply listen to someone else-not to fill our heads with what we're planning to say when it's our turn or with judgments and responses to what we're hearing, but to simply listen to another person.

After show the group the newsprint sheets from the first workshop listing participants' responses to "What brought you here?" Invite participants to compare for four-six minutes, bring everyone back into one group. Ask for volunteers to respond to the following questions. Record responses on paper provided.

  • Did you find that the individuals in your group had very different things they were taking with them, or similar ones?

  • What are some take-homes that your small group had in common?

  • What other things-perhaps less common-will you take home?


  • How did the group's reasons for participation change over time?

  • What couldn't you have predicted at the outset about the things you're taking home?

Part 2: Distribute Handout: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly. Note that this handout presents an organizational structure that can help us ensure that spiritual practices are included in our lives on a regular basis.

Ask participants to take five minutes to consider the grid and to start making specific plans for the coming year. Provide pens or pencils and invite participants to fill in their grids.

After five minutes, invite participants to find a partner and share their ideas for two minutes each.

Conclude the activity by pointing out that something as concrete as this handout works well for some people and not so well for others. Affirm participants' motivations for participation. Express your hope that this workshop series has been a tool for deepening and growing their spirituality.


As we leave this community of the spirit,

May we remember the difficult lesson

That each day offers more things than we can do.

May we do what needs to be done,

Postpone what does not,

And be at peace with what we can be and do.

Therefore, may we learn to separate

That which matters most

And that which matters least of all.

-Richard S. Gilbert


Eight Spheres of Spiritual Growth

Personal Spiritual Practices: These are practices done alone and, perhaps, daily—such as meditation, dream work, journaling, prayer, and so on. They’re what most people think of when they hear the words “spiritual practice.”

Communal Worship Practices: Although Unitarian Universalists affirm the uniqueness and individual nature of a person’s spiritual path, our movement is also founded on a belief that community is essential to that journey. Regular engagement with communal worship—the ongoing and collective search for truth and meaning—is one way of supporting this belief.

Spiritual Partnerships: Spiritual development is hard work, and most faith traditions affirm the usefulness of companions on the journey. A spiritual partnership can take the form of participation in a small group, a one-on-one relationship with another congregant, spiritual guidance with a minister, or one’s own personal therapy. What matters most is the intentional relationship with another person and a mutual commitment to the journey.

Mind Practices: Could a program of spiritual development be Unitarian Universalist without an intellectual component? This is a role of adult religious education: book studies, film discussions, lectures, adult forums, scripture studies, courses in UU history, and other RE offerings are all ways to fulfill this dimension of a “rich, integrated program.”

Body Practices: We know that mind, body, and soul are interconnected. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that a well-rounded spiritual practice includes some kind of physical practice? It might be running, sitting, gardening, tai chi, massage, or virtually anything else that keeps us in touch with the miracle of our physical selves.

Soul Practices: These are the practices that exercise our creative selves—drawing, painting, sculpting, music, poetry, and other creative endeavors. It has been said that the Biblical expression that humans are “made in the image of God” means that we are made to be creative.Eight Spheres of Spiritual Growth

Life Practices: Religious traditions from around the world agree that we eventually need to take what we do in private and in our congregations and bring it out into the rest of our lives—in our relationships with our family members, in our workplaces, in our interactions with strangers.

Justice Practices: A fully mature spirituality does not stop at the goal of transforming oneself, but must extend beyond oneself—to others—and include a vision of transforming the world.