A different way of doing church
Chalice Circles deepen and broaden personal spiritual growth. They are small groups of people who meet on a regular basis for the purpose of establishing bonds, fostering connection and caring, and providing an avenue for personal growth and spiritual development. Participants are expected to listen deeply and respectfully, letting others be heard in a safe, trusting environment. Our hope is that this program will ultimately strengthen the foundation of our community.
A group usually consists of 4-10 members who meet once or twice monthly for 1 ½ hours at each others’ homes, led by trained facilitator. Each meeting is focused on a spiritual or religious topic. The goals are to:
- Listen and be listened to in a safe place
- Learn about the mysteries of our world and our spiritual paths
- Build new and deeper personal connections
- Serve our community and the needs of one another
- Maintain personal connections and a caring community
The format of the group consists of a check in among the members, a reading, and a discussion of members’ reactions, reflections, and thoughts about the readings. Topics over the years have ranged from world religions to more personal topics such as friendship, community, nature, etc. The Chalice Circle is a more intimate place to get to know one another at the same time as providing the opportunity to explore meaningful topics with other members of our community.
How can you join a group?
Chalice Circles are open to anyone who wants to participate. We also leave a chair open at every meeting in case someone wants to join us during the year. All that is asked of you when you join a Circle is to make a commitment to try to get to all the gatherings. Groups typically run from late October or early November through June and meet different days of the week and at a variety of times during the day and evening.
Co-chairs: Tammy Zambo and Sharlene Reynolds Santo
Goals of Chalice Circles
The Chalice Circle program deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. This is done through five components:
- Listening: Deep listening is gift for both the speaker and the listener. A connection forms when we share and give this gift to each other.
- Worship: Worship is central to the life of our congregation. Small Group Ministry augments and strengthens our shared experience.
- Community: Small groups meet the need for connection and intimacy that is both a hunger in our society and essential to the ongoing life of a religious community.
- Learning: People come to the church seeking spiritual growth, seeking to know themselves better, to grow into their understanding of the world and to ponder the age old questions of faith: how to live, what to believe, how to act, what meanings we can decipher from the mystery of life.
- Service: A life of faith is a life of service. As human beings, we seek to be of use, and a healthy congregation needs to provide avenues through which we may serve.
What are Chalice Circle sessions like?
All groups follow same format below and run 90 minutes.
- Chalice Lighting and Opening Words: Gathering in, settling down, reminding participants of the special opportunity of the gathering, possibly reflecting the topic of the session. The meeting may begin with the lighting of a candle or a chalice.
- Personal Check-In: Participants share news of what has been happening in their lives. Each group develops its own customs as to the length of sharing. This portion of the meeting may expand from time to time when circumstances call for it.
- Topic/Discussion: A paragraph or two lays out a topic and presents questions that will elicit thoughtful discussion and significant reflection. A group may stay with a topic several weeks or be done in one evening.
- Check-Out: Likes and Wishes: This is an opportunity for feedback.
- Closing Reading and Words: This brings the formal session to and end. Groups are encouraged to start and end on time.