How to Do Check-In

Q. I have always understood that the check-in process should be brief, personal, and without interruption. Is it possible that some of the objections to the process are due to sometimes letting check-in become too lengthy and more interactive than it should be? Many of us may have a totally different idea of what check-in really is. Where can one find an official written definition of the check-in process?

A. There is no single definition or process for check-in, says Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris, the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) deputy director of the Department of Congregational, District, and Extension Services. "When used at the beginning of a meeting or in a setting like an adult religious education class or in church school, here's what I usually do. Start by lighting a chalice. Share a brief reading for centering/focusing. Ask a guiding question or give simple directions for sharing, including a sense of time. (Two minutes each in a group of ten seems fine; less for larger groups). The facilitator goes first. Check-in is not time for conversation but a time for connecting. If you hear something during check-in that you want to talk to a colleague about, make time at a break or the end of the meeting for that. Have in mind a polite but clear reminder to folks who go on a bit long."

About the Author

  • Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.

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