In a small group ministry, or “Chalice Circle” as it’s frequently called in UU congregations, meaningful questions are explored in a way that encourages each group member to look for his/her story. In the process of exploring the questions, stories are shared in an environment of attentive, caring listening and in this framework, ties of friendship grow and are strengthened.
The following are excerpts taken from an article by Christine Robinson and Alicia Hawkins, that appeared in the UU World and that give an overview of the dynamics of the small group ministry:
Deep listening means listening from the heart rather than the mind or ego. It grows out of silence. Deep listening happens when people listen without responding, so they don’t have to think about what to say, what the other person needs to hear, or how to heal the person or solve the problem.
When we speak from our hearts and talk about ourselves—saying what has happened to us, how we believe and feel and think—we find not only that we have gained from hearing ourselves, but that our stories have been interesting to others in the group.
When you speak to me about your deepest questions, you do not want to be fixed or saved: you want to be seen and heard, to have your truth acknowledged and honored. If your problem is soul-deep, your soul alone knows what you need to do about it, and my presumptuous advice will only drive your soul back into the woods.
When the heart is speaking and the heart is listening, silence becomes fulfilling. After some practice at this, the early awkwardness is gone and the silence becomes as rich as a river of love flowing to and from the listener.
(The full article can be found at http://www.uuworld.org/spirit/articles/199572.shtml)
Listening is a way to show respect, regard, love. Listening and speaking are a dynamic: we speak more of what we value when we feel valued by people’s attentive listening.
We are currently restarting one Chalice Circle and forming a new one. There will be a Circle meeting the 1st Sunday of the month, from 9:00 – 10:00 in the basement youth room (or we can make other meeting arrangements if there are mobility challenges). There will be another Circle meeting the 4th Wednesday of the month, from 7:00 – 8:30, in the sanctuary.
Although anyone can join a group at any time or attend just once to check out the format, after joining the group, the program structure only works well when group members make a commitment to attend regularly. Signing up with the intention of regular attendance is respectful to the members of the group and is also the approach that is most rewarding to the individual. Open to adults and youth, there is a maximum of 10 members in each group.
Next 1st Sunday: October 6, 9:00 – 10:00
Next 4th Wednesday: October 23, 7:00 – 8:30
For more information, contact M.E. Tanabe: firstname.lastname@example.org ph # 815-337-9895