Friday, April 18, 2014
Circles Basics | Program Descriptions | Programs

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Circles Basics | Program Descriptions | Programs

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Circles logoCircle Covenant

Consistent attendance is expected:
We have made a firm commitment to be with each other in this Circle.
Start on time – End on time:
We honor each other’s time and commitment.
Participation is encouraged but never coerced:
We expect engagement and still honor each other’s sense of privacy.
Share from personal experience, feelings and thoughts:
We will use “I” statements and share about our own lives.
No Fixing: Each of us is here, to take our own inner journey.
We are not here to make “fixing” suggestions to another member of the group.
Avoid gossip and telling other people’s stories:
We respect and appreciate each other and our willingness to share in this Circle so we will not gossip about what we learn in this process.
Share the time and attention of the Circle equally and respectfully:
We will listen as deeply as we share, seeking to understand rather than advise and learn rather than teach.
Welcome Silences:
After someone has spoken, we will take time to reflect without immediately filling the space with words.
Refreshments & beverages should never be disruptive or the center of attention – if they are served at all:
This is time we have set aside to focus on building relationships and attending to our spiritual development.
No alcohol is served, and preferably participants won’t drink before Circle:
This is an honored, sacred time for clear-minded reflection and sharing.

Standard Session Format

Opening Words
The 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 / Sharing
One 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 Practice
Each 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 / Activity
Another 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 / Sharing
Each 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 Words
This may be the same each time, or change to reflect the topic. The chalice would be extinguished at this point.

Circle Basics

We ask that all Circle participants make two sincere commitments:
1) To attend sessions regularly and
2) To stay with their Circle for a full year.
 
Each Circle has two facilitators who are committed to leading that circle for 12 months. 6-10 participants join the facilitators for a total of 8-12 people in each Circle.
 
New Circles form in January, June & September of each year. If there are fewer than 12 participants in a Circle new people are welcome to join at any time.
 
Some Circles continue more than one year, at the discretion of the facilitators and participants. It’s always fine to drop out of a Circle after your first year commitment is complete.
 
Facilitator Covenant
 
Although we participate in this circle as peers, we acknowledge our responsibilities as facilitators to create a safe environment for deep listening, honest sharing and spiritual growth.
 
We will honor the time commitment you have made by beginning and ending the meetings in a timely manner and keeping the group on topic.
 
We will create and maintain an environment that invites sharing by all members of the Circle. We will intercede when one member is dominating the conversation, engaging in cross-talk, or attempting to advise or judge another member.
 
We will respect the sanctity of the circle. While communicating concerns to appropriate church staff, we will honor your requests in these matters.
 
We feel privileged to share this sacred space with you and ask for your help in guarding the integrity of our Circle.

Participation in the Circles program expands the network of people you know well within the larger church community, while promoting spiritual growth through a sharing and listening process. New Circles form in January, June & September of each year. If there are fewer than 12 participants in a Circle, new members are welcome to join at any time.
 
Some Circles may wish to continue more than one year and this is at the discretion of the facilitators and participants. However, the initial commitment is for one year from the Circle start date and once that commitment is met, individual members of a continuing Circle may choose to not continue.
 
 

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Circles Basics | Program Descriptions | Programs
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