What is a Small Faith Community

Small faith communities are relational groups that gather regularly to pray, learn, and share faith. A small faith community is a smaller, more intimate experience of church. Small faith communities provide safe places where people can be open and honest.

Remember the popular television show “Cheers”? Its opening song went like this:

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

That song is a great description of a Small Faith Community. People who were once strangers come together, get to know one another and, before long, become friends. They know they are accepted as they are and are supported in their struggles as well as their joys.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is invited to join a SFC?

You are invited to be part of this exciting and enriching model of parish life!  It’s our hope that everyone would be a part of a small faith group.

What are the benefits?

Here are just a few:

  • feeling like you belong to the parish
  • having the opportunity to be listened to in a trusting and non-judgmental atmosphere
  • making the connection between what we believe—what we celebrate at Mass—and your own life
  • having your abilities and talents encouraged and appreciated
  • feeling supported during trying times and sharing joys during the happy times
  • deepening your faith and your relationship with Jesus Christ
  • finding ways to serve the parish and the wider community as an individual and as a group

What is the importance of joining a SFC today?

Catholic parishes are meant to foster an experience of love and an experience of faith.  In a large parish like St. Thomas Aquinas, that can be a challenge.  Among so many, it is easy to feel isolated and alone, especially during a pandemic.  Gathering in Small Faith Communities allows the church to become smaller and more intimate. These communities offer what everyone desires:  the experience of being known and being loved.  SFCs also offer an experience of faith.  We all have faith, but most of us need help from others to learn to trust the faith within us and learn to recognize and describe our experience of faith.  The more our experiences of faith and love are shared—and this can only happen in a small group—the more we notice God and God’s call to be church for one another.  SFCs enable us to be who we are—the loved and cherished faith-filled people of God.

What is faith sharing?

It is the simple sharing of our experience that gives us the opportunity to reflect on and recognize God’s activity and presence in our daily lives.

What about the programs used by the groups?

Groups begin with Come as You Are, a 12 session program that is an invitation to slow down and become more reflective about life.  It helps people connect with one another beyond the usual “news, weather, and sports” conversations so that they will want to stay together and go beyond this introductory program.

How do the groups meet?

  • In homes
  • Online
  • Outside around a fire pit
  • In parks
  • Wherever!

How do Small Faith Communities remain connected to the parish?

Each group has a leader who keeps the community connected to the parish just as the pastor is the connector to the diocesan church and the bishop is the connector to the Pope and the universal church.


“Anytime I have a challenge, I have this group of people that I can just e-mail [and ask them to pray for me] and they can e-mail me and say, “Pray for me.” …Also, it is great to share the joys in our lives. …It’s true joy looking around and seeing the faces of people who are happy for you.”

“I love the way that our small faith group comes together to serve others.”

“I love my small faith group because it has allowed me to have a safe place where there is no condemnation or judgment of anything I share…only love and encouragement.”

In the first of our series on Small Faith Communities, parishioners Bruce and Deena Schonk talk about the importance of small faith groups amidst the changes life brings.
In the second of our video series on Small Faith Communities. Dennis and Cady Murray talk about how diversity has shaped their Small Faith Group.
In part three of our series on Small Faith Communities, Kathy and Don Hoffman talk about how their small faith group has become a close-knit family.
In part four of our videos on Small Faith Communities, Marie Ragghianti tells the journey of her small faith group, from strangers to family.
In part five of our series on Small Faith Communities, Nancy and Bud Barker talk about how their small faith group has enriched their lives as parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas.