“People come to church longing for, yearning for, hoping for … a sense of roots, place, belonging, sharing and caring. People come to a church with a search for community, not committee.” — Glenn Turner
A different way of doing church
The UUCPA Chalice Circles program deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. A group usually consists of 8-10 members who meet at each others’ homes, usually once every two weeks. 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
Each group has a facilitator who links the group to the SGM steering committee and the minister. The steering committee and minister provide overall guidance, recruit new members and establish new groups, and develop session plans. The Steering Committee meets the TBD of the month while church is in session.
How can you join a group?
Signups for new groups start in August each year. Groups will get started in early October and will run through early June next year. If you are interested in joining a UUCPA Chalice Circle, please fill out this registration form* and return it to the UUCPA office, or speak to Amy. *https://www.uucpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Regis- tration_Form.pdf
Or use this online form.
Or pick up a paper copy at the Information Table any Sunday.
Upcoming EventsNothing scheduled at this time.
Goals of Chalice Circles
The Chalice Circles program deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. This is done through five components:
- Listening: Deep listening is a 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. Chalice Circles 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.
How do Chalice Circles work?
Ministry happens in the meetings, which focus on spiritual or religious topics through a process of deep listening and service projects. Topics that may be shared during meetings include: sacred places, perfection, mothers, community, living simply, music, and healing. Groups choose their own order, direction and pace. Service projects are expected from each group once a year. In general, projects tend to be ones that serve the church community or the local community, but they can be larger projects that reach beyond our church community.
What is expected of members?
Group members are expected to commit to regular meeting times and to practice deep listening. Deep listening is a way of focusing intently on what another person is saying without interruption or simultaneously formulating a response. Deep listening also gives an individual an opportunity to speak without interruption or comment.
What are Chalice Circles sessions like?
- 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.
- 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 Words: This brings the formal session to and end. Groups are encouraged to start and end on time.
Resources for Chalice Circle Facilitators
Sessions developed or adapted by Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto:
Sessions developed by First Unitarian Church of San José
Sessions developed by Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa
Sessions contributed by members of the UU Small Group Ministry Network
The Complete Guide to Small Group Ministry by Robert L. Hill (in church library)
Evensong — An Eight-Week Series of Gatherings by Barbara Hamilton-Holway (in church library)
The Augusta, Maine Small Group Ministry Session Book by Calvin O. Dame, ed. (Susan and Amy have copies)