There is a quality of listening that is possible among a circle of human beings, who by their attentiveness to one another create a space in which each person is able to give voice to the truth of his or her life. There is the miracle of authentic narrative, made possible by listening that holds still long enough to let the truth be told. Where there is this kind of listening and speaking, a new kind of community is born – a community of life. – Rebecca Parker, Unitarian Theologian
I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place. – Rufus Jones, Quaker historian & theologian
Our Chalice Circles are designed to foster deeper connections within our church community by providing a space to explore spiritual questions and matters of the heart in a loving atmosphere based in compassionate listening.
The groups are all designed for 8-10 people and vary in duration, frequency of meeting, and topics for reflection.
If you have any questions about which group might be right for you, please reach out to Rev. Joan, Liza, or one of our Small Group Ministry coordinators. Ideas for new Chalice Circles are also welcome — please contact Rev. Joan or Liza.
This year in addition to Small Group Ministry and Soul Matters, we have several Seasoned Souls groups for elders and also a Queerality chalice circle led by our ministerial intern. Most of these groups welcome new members in the fall, though occasionally there are openings mid-year or new groups form. Stay tuned in the weekly e-news for any updates.
Small Group Ministry
In these groups, participants create a covenant to guide their sharing and reflection. Themed readings are provided for reflection. The heart of each session is sharing and listening to one another’s reflections on the topic and readings. Each group also participates in a service project together.
Following a model developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association, participants in a Small Group Ministry meet regularly to discuss topics raised by the weekly sermons. These groups allow for deeper and more meaningful engagement with others in an atmosphere of spiritual sharing. Many members and friends of the church have participated in these groups over the past few years, and often say they have found it a wonderful way to explore their own lives and ideas and get to know others in a safe and comfortable environment. Groups run from October to January and from February to May. Watch for sign-up announcements in September and January, or check at the Hospitality Table on Sunday. Small Group Ministry coordinators are Lydia Lowery Busler, Pam Cameron and Mary Jane Ohlson.
Soul Matters Circles
Unitarian Universalism is about connection. We are a religion that sees people struggling, not against our own sinful souls, but against a shallow, frantic and materialistic world that all-too-often leaves us disconnected from our deepest selves, life’s gifts and needs greater than one’s own. And so our congregations work to heal that divide by helping each other listen to our deepest selves, open to life’s gifts and serve needs greater than our own. Soul Matters supports this mission of helping people listen, open, and serve by offering its participants:
- Formative space & circles of learning, support and challenge
- Opportunities for spiritual deepening and practice
- An intimate home within a larger church community
…so they become the people they want to be.
In other words, Soul Matters is about becoming.
In our Soul Matters Circle, we live more deeply into our monthly theme. Each month, participants engage in a spiritual exercise related to the theme and then ponder a question for deeper reflection. In our covenant-based circle, we share with one another where we are on our journey of living more deeply into the theme of the month. Contact our Director of Lifespan Spiritual Exploration, Liza Earle-Centers, for more information.