Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday morning, it rained last night and everything's sparkling with moisture. We're up early in order to help out at our church, Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington. We're going to answer questions about and promote our Chalice Circle programs. Some churches call it Small Group Ministry. It's about 6-10 people coming together regularly through the year -- sometimes once weekly, sometimes two or three times a month -- in order to experience and explore 'deep listening' for themselves and the others in the group.

A topic is selected by the facilitator and each person vocalizes their thoughts and feelings about that topic, as they feel ready to share with the group. The task of the person sharing is to come from their heart rather than their head, the better to become known by the listeners. The task of the listeners is just that: to listen. Not to interrupt, not to dialogue, not to engage in discussion. These are not discussion groups; they're intended to develop our skills in listening closely to one another and, by so doing, to understand more fully the place from which another is coming.

Karen and I were in a Chalice Circle our first year in this church. The second year, we each facilitated our own group. And the third year we co-facilitated a group. I think I liked that best, because -- even though we've been together for 20 years -- I continue to learn new things about this wonderful wife of mine. I think we're going to take a break from Circles this year, though, not least because I'm still commuting weekly to and from my now-too-distant job and most of the groups meet on one or more evenings through the month. And in addition, our not facilitating allows another person to accept the challenge that they facilitate instead. And facilitation of such a group is another path to learning about yourself and others.

Short post today, I have to go get ready to leave for church.

Bellies hanging low
dark clouds ripped open...Rain!
How quickly they heal

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