Spiritual Development

Chalice Circles

 

Chalice Circles — 2021 Zoom Format

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

Registration begins Wednesday, September 15, 2021

https://bit.ly/FRSChaliceCircles2021

Participation in the Chalice Circle Program is open to Members and friends of FRS. The program is especially recommended for newcomers.

Chalice Circles, a type of small group ministry, are facilitated groups of up to seven Participants, which will meet via Zoom for seven
1.5-hour sessions. A Tech Check meeting will precede the first session to ensure a distraction-free start.

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 listening and conversation 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 identity within ourselves and the wider community.


Here’s what Chalice Circle Participants are saying:

Each time my Chalice Circle met, I learned something new or received a different perspective that helped my own spirituality grow.

The Chalice Circle was a unique opportunity to reflect and share big questions with deep impact.

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

Deep listening is powerful, and it is an essential value of our Chalice Circle.

I have often felt the desire and need to talk thoughtfully about “real” subjects, but rarely had an opportunity. Chalice Circles gave me a wonderful outlet for that.

My Chalice Circle offered profound ways to connect: exercising my own growing ability to deeply listen, trusting other participants’ openness. I was touched that our service activity delivered yet another kind of sharing among Circle members. (Note: Gift of Service has been suspended for this year’s Zoom format.)

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

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 differences
  • 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 is on deep listening and spiritual growth. For the Zoom format, Circles will have a maximum of seven Participants.

 

WHAT HAPPENS AT A CHALICE CIRCLE SESSION?

The intent of the Circles is to practice deep listening and promote active discussion of a spiritual topic, not to arrive at a conclusion at the end of each session.

The FORMAT of a SESSION is as follows:

Welcome, Statement of Purpose: We meet to build community and to deepen our spiritual growth.

Circle Covenant: The shared understanding of the way we promise to be with and treat each other.

Opening: 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 1.5 minutes each) that also helps people get to know each other. Others listen without comment or interruption.

Topic/Discussion Questions: A reading related to the session, and questions to ponder the topic.

Silence: A moment for grounding and reflection.

Deep Listening followed by Shared Discussion:

◊  Deep Listening: Each Participant has up to 5 minutes to share his/her thoughts on the topic while others practice Deep Listening. There is no feedback/crosstalk so that each person’s experience can be expressed and witnessed.

◊  Shared Discussion: After all participants have spoken, there is time for open discussion. This is a chance to share and discuss new thoughts or ideas.

Session Reflection: Brief wrap-up comments.

Closing: Extinguishing the chalice and a closing reading.

 

HOW LONG ARE SESSIONS AND HOW OFTEN? HOW MANY SESSIONS ARE INVOLVED?

  • For the Zoom format, sessions are scheduled for one and a half hours.
  • This year, Zoom Chalice Circles offer two very different schedules, as you will see on the registration page.

 

WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF COMMITMENT THAT I AM EXPECTED TO MAKE IN JOINING A CHALICE CIRCLE?

  • Once assigned to a Circle, you are expected to participate until the Zoom program ends.
  • You do not need to be a Member of the church.
  • The Circle develops a Covenant, a shared understanding, so that ground rules are explicit and followed, such things as starting and ending on time, how to participate, etc.
  • Participants are expected to contribute to the sessions by sharing their thoughts about the topic/subject of discussion, and to take part in their Circle’s Gift of Service. (Gift of Service has been suspended for this year’s Zoom format.)

 

HOW WILL IT BE DECIDED WHICH CIRCLE I’LL BE IN?

You will be assigned to a Circle based on your availability. Circles are scheduled for different times and days throughout the week to accommodate as many different people/schedules as possible. While registering in September is ideal for the mid-October start and the fullest overall experience, new participants are welcome to join ongoing Circles throughout the church year if there is availability.

 

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Register here: https://bit.ly/FRSChaliceCircles2021. Registration begins Wednesday, September 15, 2021

 

The Chalice Circle Steering Committee:

Diane Forman

Annalee Johnson

Howard Mandeville

Beth Munro

Ted Stedman

Linda Tulley


Questions?

Contact Julie Parker Amery

Director of Faith Formation and Spiritual Exploration

julie.amery@frsuu.org

Pastoral Care

Pastoral care: Rev. Rebecca is available for pastoral care and other one-on-one meetings Tuesday-Thursday, 10am-8pm. To schedule time with her, email Revrebecca.bryan@frsuu.org

Pastoral emergencies: Rev. Rebecca is available any time for pastoral emergencies. Contact her on her cell at 860-882-9410.

Helping hands: Parish Friends help church members with meals, rides, visits, and even dog walking. Contact Diane Carroll, Office Administrator at dcarroll@frsuu.org

Addiction Team Ministry

“We now have, as part of our church outreach, an “ADDICTION MINISTRY TEAM”..comprised of FRS members who’ve offered to provide information, support and local resources for anyone who is struggling with issues of addiction or who has a loved one or friend who might have problems with addiction. Addiction takes many forms including (but not limited to!): struggles with alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, shopping, co-dependency, work, perfectionism, etc. Addiction can also create issues for those living with or being raised by an alcoholic/addicted person. Addiction takes us away from “our best selves”..and interferes with our physical, emotional and spiritual growth. As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states: “Alcoholism cuts us off from the sunlight of the spirit”.

The good news is…There is help! Please feel free to contact any one of us.

Rob Burnhamrobburnham0449@gmail…603 501-9549

Nancy Kiddnankdd@gmail.com…978 376-8687

Margerite Flanaganmom@flanaganweb.com 914 299-1238

Jon Steevesjonathonsteeves55@gmail.com 978 270-9228

Rev. Rebecca BryanRevRebecca.Bryan@frsuu.org…860 882-9410

Nancy Colbyncolby1961@gmail.com…978-973-6208 

Buddhist Meditation
Buddhist Meditation is led every Monday, 6:30-7:30pm in the Lower Meetinghouse, Rooms A&B. Enter through the office door on the parking lot side of the church. First-timers, please come at 6pm for an orientation.

In the Kwan Um School of Zen, the purpose of our meditation practice is to clear our minds so that we can become peaceful and compassionate and then help save other beings from suffering. Meditation is led by Joyce Haydock. Read more on Joyce’s website.

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