In "," a Tapestry of Faith program
Share this quote by reading it aloud or asking several volunteers to read it with you.
Come in. Come into this place which we make holy by our presence.
Come in with all your vulnerabilities and strengths, fears and anxieties, loves and hopes. For here you need not hide, nor pretend, nor be anything other than who you are and are called to be.
Come into this place where we can touch and be touched, heal and be healed, forgive and be forgiven.
Come into this place, where the ordinary is sanctified, the human is celebrated, the compassionate is expected.
Come into this place. Together we make it a holy place. —
Rebecca A. Edmiston-Lange, on the UUA website WorshipWeb
If group members are new to each other, invite participants to say their name, their school or where they live, and something they are looking forward to this year. If participants have been together previously, ask for everyone to state their name and anything interesting that has happened since the last meeting.
Say, in your own words:
Welcome to Sharing the Journey! Today will be different from most meetings because we have several items of business to discuss. Yet today's meeting will resemble future meetings in some important ways. One of those ways is that in each session, we will have time to listen to each other as we share both our common and unique experiences. What we will be doing with our time together is often referred to as small group ministry.
Ask participants what they know about small group ministry or what they think the sessions will be like. Affirm what you can. Explore ideas that will lead participants to clearly understand the program.
Share with participants any decisions that have been made concerning facilitation of sessions, other ways to participate, format, how topics for discussion will be chosen, and whether your group is closed or open (and the empty chair, if one is being used). See Chapter 2, Planning and Implementation, for more information.
You will have the most buy-in if most decisions are made by the group. Use this time to present the decisions the group needs to make. Facilitate the group to make the decisions. Use a sheet of newsprint and a calendar to keep track of ideas and decisions. There are three categories of decisions to discuss:
After the group has made the decisions needed to go forth, tell participants that the model for a small group ministry session has a few distinct components. Explain the purpose of the Opening, Check-in, Focus, Questions, Activity (if using in this session), Check-out, and Closing. Note that this session started with an Opening and Check-In. The focus for this session was the decisions on how the group will proceed. Now you will move on to Questions, Activity (if using), Check-out, and Closing.
This activity, Concentric Circles, was written by Eric Dawson. It is a way to practice listening. Give these instructions:
We are going to practice deep listening, the kind of listening we will do in Sharing the Journey. Find a partner. Each pair will respond to a question.
One person will speak at a time, the partner only using non-verbal communication.
After a minute and a half, I'll hit the chime, the person should finish their sentence and then the other person begins, with the first person listening silently.
After another minute and a half, I'll hit the chime again and ask another question.
When answering the question, speak from personal experience and only share what you are comfortable sharing. When listening, work on really listening. You do not have to think of a response to what your partner is saying; you don't have to solve anyone's problem; don't think about what you will say when it's your turn. Just listen, non-judgmentally.
Pose the first question:
After both partners have answered the question, ask the next questions. Ask as many as time allows. Here are a few ideas for other questions:
After the activity, process the experience with the following questions:
Use the closing ritual if the group created one earlier or extinguish the chalice with these words:
May our faith sustain us,
our hope inspire us,
and our love surround us
as we go our separate ways,
knowing that we will gather again
in this beloved community. Amen. — Jim Wickman
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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