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Standard Session Format
Opening WordsThe facilitator or other member will read a poem, quote or a reading from a UU source, such as the hymnbook, to help set the tone and focus the group. This could be the same each meeting, becoming a familiar ritual, or could change to reflect the discussion topic that session. It is encouraged that the lighting of a chalice be incorporated into the opening.Check In / SharingOne of the purposes of Circles is to provide a sense of intimacy and community for the members.Each member will be asked to briefly share joys and concerns from their life. This is intended as a time to share significant events and deep concerns, rather than a recap of everything that has happened to them since the last meeting.This is an important element of the meeting, since it is a significant opportunity for members to learn about one another, bond and offer support.Church-wide Spiritual PracticeEach month a single subject for Spiritual Reflection and Activity will be shared to all the Circles. This is a way to add another Spiritual Component to the group, and a way for all Circles throughout the church to connect to one another.The facilitator will lead a brief discussion of the member’s response to the previous month’s Spiritual Reflection or Activity. The facilitator will then announce the subject for the upcoming month.Discussion Topic / ActivityAnother central purpose of Circles is to provide a place for spiritual exploration and growth.The facilitator will introduce the Discussion Topic. Each member will be encouraged to comment and discuss.The purpose of the discussion is not for the facilitator (or any other member) to teach or lecture, nor should it deteriorate into a contentious debate or become group therapy. The topic is a vehicle for the members to share their thoughts and feelings on the topic, and for all members to listen and reflect.Check Out / SharingEach member may share a final thought on the discussion topic, the meeting in general, how their thoughts or mood have changed because of the meeting, something important that is coming up for them before the next meeting, or a wish for the other members.Closing WordsThis may be the same each time, or change to reflect the topic. The chalice would be extinguished at this point.
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