Because the chalice is the UU symbol of the sacred aspect of worship and because listening to one another is a sacred act of community, Chalice Circle is the name we use at Tree of Life for this circle format of adult programming.
This type of program has been ongoing in our community since 2011. We use the Soul Matters curriculum for our circles and Soul Matters themes now also guide worship services and RE programming. Each month’s theme is our starting point for reflection, and then we gather to hear each other’s thoughts and questions. The silent listening is a dynamic which enables the speakers to find empowered voices. We often see that our own thoughts, questions, and journeys have much in common with our fellow human beings — and hearing the stories of others helps our own stories to appear with more clarity. We develop the skills of holding others in awareness and of becoming good listeners.
Irene Raven shares these thoughts about her experience: “For me Chalice Circle is the most deeply spiritual practice available to us as UUs. Monthly engagement with a small group encourages me to love myself and to show love to others by engaging in the practice of deep listening. When I am heard without interruption or comment, my sense of worth increases. When I listen to others, giving them my full attention without comment or judgment, I show my love for them as well” [i]full quote at bottom
In September our circles resume and will explore the theme of Vision. All circles meet once a month with a maximum of 10 persons in each circle, and a minimum of 6. On the back page is a list of the ongoing circles, but we are eager to start new ones as well. It’s possible to have a circle meet in someone’s home if there is enough interest in a general location – such as Woodstock.
If you would like to hear how other people feel about this program, Sue Rekenthaler, Irene Raven, Marc Stettner, Sue McCowin, Leah Mikkelson, or Lisa Messinger would be happy to share their experiences. If you’re unsure if this is for you, you are welcome to attend and then decide if you would like to continue.
If you have questions, comments, would like to sign up for a circle, or propose a different circle time, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us or talk to us in church.
- E. Tanabe Ph. 815 337 9895 and Janet Burns Cell 847 542 7678
Existing Circles meet monthly , some time/day changes are possible
2nd Sunday 9:00 – 10:00 am
2nd Wednesday 1:30 – 2:30 pm
3rd Sunday 6:30 – 8:00 pm
and we’re open for requests
“I suspect the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention… When people are talking, there’s no need to do anything but receive them”
— Rachel Naomi Remen
[i] Irene Raven’s full quote: “ For me Chalice Circle is the most deeply spiritual practice available to us as UUs. Monthly engagement with a small group encourages me to love myself and to show love to others by engaging in the practice of deep listening. When I am heard without interruption or comment my sense of worth increases. When I listen to others, giving them my full attention without comment or judgment, I show my love for them as well.
In addition, the monthly Soul Matters curriculum packets can act as my spiritual reading for the month, allowing me the opportunity to read and reflect and incorporate the theme and various suggestions throughout the month. I find it exciting and challenging to make this a part of my day.
Just as the practice of meditation hones our skill so we can be mindful in our daily life, the practice of deep listening in Chalice Circle helps us to develop and use the skill of attentive listening. We are better able to give our family, friends and acquaintances the precious gift of our full attention in daily conversations. That is a precious gift to both the giver and the receiver.
Chalice Circle together with Soul Matters has made a very positive difference in my life, in my daily living, giving me better tools for engaging with my “neighbor” and with myself. I believe I am a much better person because of it. I believe I touch the “divine” “