Thu, May 05, 2016

Circles Group image

Mutual Ministry*

In Unitarian Universalism we recognize that each person has learned some share of truth and each has gained some hard won wisdom. Sharing this in a life story is a form of ministry. And giving your full attention to another’s life experience is also a form of ministry. We bear witness to each other’s worth and dignity.
What a Circle is intended to be
A way to deepen our spirituality through a shared practice.
A way to share our thoughts on life's big questions.
A way to connect across age, gender, ethnic, economic and other differences.
A way to be engaged, included, and heard in a safe, nurturing environment.
A way to bring together the newer and the long time members in our community.
A way to deepen our practice of shared UU principles.
A way to practice service from within a small community.
A way to develop our connections with the rest of the congregation.
What a Circle is not intended to be
A social club, although ties between church members deepen through Circles.
A debate society, although many important topics are discussed.
A support or therapy group, although the atmosphere is positive.
A worship service, although the meetings and topics have a strong spiritual tone.
A rigid template of activities, although there are general guidelines to follow.
A closed club, although groups must be limited in size to be effective.
*From the Participant’s Handbook of the Small Group Ministry Program of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley CA

As a spiritual practice, Small Group Ministry focuses on process, not problems. It aims to treat all content of a person's life in the same way: as a moment worthy of one's full, undivided attention. It does not aim to offeradvice, guidance, and direction or to resolve personal problems. It simply stops time so that the full presence of each person is acknowledged and appreciated in that moment. The idea is not to work on problems. The idea is to share experiences. Each moment is packed full of the joys and sorrows, the victories and defeats, the thoughts and ideas that make each lived moment of our life an experience worthy of our time....As people pay active attention to the details of each other's lives, this gathered community can extend a moment of time until it is filled to overflowing with the thoughts and feelings that turn time into an experience that is not fleeting, but abiding, because we are now fully present. Sacred time begins here.

-Thandeka, UU Theologian

Each Circle has two facilitators who are committed to leading that circle for 12 months. 6-12 participants join the facilitators for a total of 8-14 people in each Circle.

We ask that all participants make a sincere commitment to stay with their Circle for a full year.

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 & September of each year. If there are fewer than 14 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.
We welcome new members to any of our Circles that currently have openings. If you are interested in joining a Circle or if you have additional questions about the program please contact Beth Dana via e-mail at in the Department of Congregational Life.

Learn more about Circles Meeetings and Circles Basics HERE.

Learn more about monthly Sample Circles HERE.


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