Circle practices—from the traditions of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples—are a group spiritual practice grounded in love, respect, caring, cooperation, and mutuality. There are many different purposes for circle practices on a continuum—including listening, discernment, consent decision-making, policy, healing, and restorative.
As a first step for the entire First UU community to acknowledge what we’ve experienced, a Listening Circle (LC) program will be implemented to allow us to share our feelings about the past 18 months or longer (without interruption, dialogue, debate, or problem solving). The goal is to re-engage turning toward each other, strengthen and rebuild our relationships with each other, acknowledge the need for further work, and build trust—speaking the truth in love, listening to the different truths in the room with love:
Listening Circles are scheduled for a maximum of 2 hours—online or in person—each limited to no more than 9 participants (including 2 First UU trained co-facilitators). Confidentiality will be observed—just as for Funding Our Future sharing—no names, only feelings reported. What is learned will help the Board define goals to be used in the Developmental Ministry application process and will help our future Ministers in Residence work with us as we heal and move forward into our future.
Listening Circles are only one step in our return to practicing beloved community. Other processes will follow to address specific aspects of our needed work. Our care and concern for each other will be the first gift we give by listening to the truths of others with a different perspective from ours. This process is truly the way to live our mission to create community and nurture spiritual growth—as containers for holding the concerns and hurts of others. May it be so
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