What is a Chalice Circle?

A Chalice Circle is a small group of people, including two trained facilitators, who gather once a month for two hours in a safe setting to speak from our lives and experiences.  (The meetings are currently being held virtually via zoom during COVID-19 “safer-at-home” directives.)

In Unitarian Universalism, we recognize that each person has learned some share of truth and each has gained some hard-won wisdom. In small groups, Chalice Circles offer safe settings in which to speak from our lives and experiences with the expectation that our words will be heard and respected–without criticism.

These small groups provide an opportunity for individuals to make deep and meaningful connections by sharing their own stories and deeply listening to the stories of others. Through the spiritual practices of deep listening, authentic sharing and respectful silence, Chalice Circles affirm and promote our third UU principle – acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth.

What happens at a Chalice Circle?

While not a discussion group, each month we do focus on a monthly theme that is shared throughout congregational life, from the music and sermon at Sunday services, to children’s and youth religious education, and other groups in the Fellowship. We use session plans developed in collaboration with Rev. Nica, using resources from the Soul Matters Sharing Circle, a network of Unitarian Universalist congregations who are following the same monthly themes.

What do the session plans look like?

The session plans are simple and typically consist of these elements:

  • Opening words/Chalice lighting
  • Check-In
  • Centering Reading
  • Reflection and Sharing
  • Check-Out
  • Closing Words

What is the purpose and benefit of a Chalice Circle?

This simple but profound experience of carefully listening to another without preparing a verbal response or offering a fix can, over time, have a deep spiritual effect, one that transfers to other aspects of our lives. Speaking, and in turn listening, without interruption offers a kind of growth not found in most other social encounters both within and outside the congregation.

A Chalice Circle is:

  • A way to deepen our spirituality through 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 bring together the newer and the long time members in our community.
  • A way to deepen our practice of shared UU principles.
  • A way to practice fellowship as each circle performs a service project for the congregation or larger community.

Chalice Circles are open to any member or friend of the Fellowship, age 18 or older. They meet at the Fellowship and form anew each church year to help develop wider connections over time.

For more information, contact facilitators at ChaliceCircles@chaliceuu.org .