Chalice Circles

A way to explore life’s ultimate issues, deepen your spiritual growth, and develop a richer sense of connectedness and community.


Membership to the Chalice Circle Program is open to members and friends of the FRS. Newcomers to the church are particularly welcome. Register for a 2017-18 Chalice Circle.


What FRS members and friends say:

Being in a Chalice Circle forced me to carve out time from my crazy schedule to sit, breathe, and think about some really meaningful things.

It’s a great way to get to know and be inspired by fellow parishioners.

I felt accepted and comfortable in my group. It seems that with every meeting the connections grew deeper, and we loosened up and shared many laughs together.


Chalice Circles are a type of Small Group Ministry, a spiritual practice that creates a sacred space where we can tell the stories of our lives, discuss meaningful topics, and be heard, and listen deeply to those of our companions. Chalice Circles are facilitated groups of 8 to 10 people who meet twice a month from October to June to deepen their spiritual growth and connection to each other, and the FRS community, through reflective conversation.

In a church our size it is nearly impossible to know everyone, and surely it is difficult to know anyone in depth without the opportunity that deep conversation can provide. When we come together and share our time, our concern, and our ideas around topics of substance we create connection and build community. We also deepen our spiritual identification within ourselves and the wider community.



What are Chalice Circles? A Chalice Circle is intended to be …

  • A way to deepen our spirituality through a shared practice
  • A way to share our thoughts on life’s big questions
  • A way to connect across age, gender, ethnic, economic and other difference
  • A way to be engaged, included, and heard in a safe, nurturing environment
  • A way to bring together the newer and the longtime members of our community
  • A way to deepen our practice of shared UU principles
  • A way to practice service from within a small community
  • A way to develop our connections with the rest of the congregation

Why have Chalice Circles?

Chalice circles are a way to help people think about their lives spiritually through the process of sharing with others their thoughts and experiences.  The results are twofold.  They will grow in their understanding of what is personally meaningful at the same time as they build a caring community.

What makes Chalice Circles different from other groups?

Chalice Circles focus on shared ministry. The emphasis on Chalice Circles is on deep listening and spiritual growth. They typically have only 8-10 members.

What Happens at a Chalice Circle gathering?

The intent of the groups is to promote active discussion of a spiritual topic, not to arrive at a conclusion at the end of each meeting.

The meeting format is as follows:

Opening:         Welcome, chalice lighting and a reading

Check-in:         What, briefly, do you need to share that will help you be more present today? This is a brief sharing (perhaps 3 to 5 minutes each) that helps people get to know each other. Other members listen without comment or interruption.

Topic:         A reading related to the meeting's topic

Silence:         A moment for grounding and reflection

  • Deep listening: Each member has up to 5 minutes to share his/her thoughts on the topic.  There is no feedback/crosstalk at this point so that each person’s experience can be expressed and witnessed.  
  • Discussion.  After each member has spoken the floor is open for discussion.  This is a chance to share and discuss new thoughts or ideas.

Check-out:          Likes and wishes; wrap-up comments.

Closing:    Extinguishing the chalice and closing reading. 

How long are meetings and how often? How many sessions are involved?

  • Meetings are scheduled for two hours.
  • The groups meet twice per month.
  • The groups are designed to last for one church year.

What is the level of commitment that I am expected to make in joining a group?

  • Once assigned to a group, you are expected to participate until the end of the church year (June).
  • You do not need to be a member of the church.
  • The group develops a covenant, a shared understanding, so that ground rules are explicit and followed, such things as start and end times, how to participate etc.
  • Members are expected to participate in the meetings by sharing their thoughts about the topic/subject of discussion, and to participate in their group’s community service.

How will it be decided which group I am to join?

You will be assigned to a group based on your availability. We will run multiple groups which will be scheduled at different times and days throughout the week to accommodate as many different people and schedules as we can. New members may join ongoing groups throughout the church year if there is availability.

The Chalice Circle Steering Committee:

Marie Murphy
Alex Mezey
Paula Francese
Abigail Bottome
Linda Tulley
Beth Munro

Read more: Chalice Circles add new dimension to FRS life (written in the fall of 2016)