The Small Group and the Church of many Small Groups
The Class Meeting is a treasure that has been mostly lost in American Methodism. As the Methodists organized in England in the 18th century, they created a structure to support individual piety by close personal association.
A “Class” was a group of no more than 15 people led by a “Leader” who coordinated the spiritual needs, and often the temporal situation, of Class members with clergy or lay preachers in the larger, usually monthly, gathering of the “Society” where all the Classes would meet to hear exhortation, preaching and robustly sing hymns. There was accountability by class members because admission to the Society meetings required a “class ticket” affirming diligent participation in the class meetings preceding the Society gathering.
While there are churches in the United States that approximate the Class structure in groups like Sunday School Classes or small disciple and bible study groups there usually is not a strong component of self examination in the modern gathering and the Classes do not have as formal a connection to the modern pattern of weekly church gathering for worship.
Somerville First United Methodist Church has a very strong Sunday School Class with over 50 associated members, the Stone Soup Class. We have smaller and close knit Classes; Pairs and Spares and the Wesley Class. However, there are many active members of our church and regularly visiting non-members to our Worship Services that are not in a Class or Small Group with a specific goal of spiritual growth and personal piety.
I propose the opportunity for anyone not connected to a Sunday School Class currently, or who would be interested in also exploring a small group meeting, to gather with a group that will exercise the Wesleyan Model of Small Group Ministry.
If you would like to join in fill out this form and put it in the offering plate or place it in the Mail Box at the Pastor’s Study….
Phone or Email for text or message_______________________________________
I would like to gather during the Sunday School Hour Yes or No (circle one)
I would like to meet at another time. When? ________________________________________________
If I meet at another time I will need child care. Yes or No (circle one)
Peace and Grace,