Circles of Connection are a small group ministry at Jefferson Unitarian Circle that allows you to practice what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist. Ours is a living tradition, influenced by how each one of us shows up in the world. We all have growing edges that are made visible in our relationships with each other. 

Each Circle will be made up of 8 to 10 JUCers, including a trained Circle Guide (sometimes two!). The Circles will meet twice monthly for 90 minutes. During this time, you will participate in a mini-worship, try on a spiritual practice, engage with the theme of the month, and think about how these ideas and tools apply to your life.  

Groups will begin meeting in the 3rd and 4th weeks of September 2021, and will run through the end of May 2022. Showing up for one another is an important spiritual practice, so if you can’t commit to 16 sessions, you may want to try another program at JUC.

Why should I join a Circle of Connection?

Our third principle encourages each of us to be active in our own spiritual growth, and our sixth principle commits us to the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all. We can’t get there unless we practice.  As a member of a Circle of Connection, you will:

  • Meet new people
  • Try on spiritual practices 
  • Practice being in covenantal relationships 
  • Explore your beliefs in community
  • Make mistakes and be held in community
  • Have space to be a human BEing, not a human DOing

How will my group be chosen? 

This year, our intention is to widen the circle of every JUCer who participates in the program. That means we are carefully curating groups, based on meeting times, safety needs, and identity groups. When you register, you will be given options of meeting times. Please select three times to give us flexibility to place you in a group. 

What does a typical session look like?

There will be a variety of formats and activities you will experience over the 16 sessions. The most common format will include:

  • Mini-Worship
    • Song of the Month
    • Chalice Lighting and Covenant
    • Joys and Sorrows
  • Spiritual Practice
  • Shared experience of the theme of the month
  • Discussion
  • Embodiment – What are you taking with you into the coming weeks?
  • Closing

What’s the time commitment? Is there homework?  

The primary time commitment is two 90 minute sessions per month. We will be taking off the second session in December to accommodate Winter holiday activities.  There is no official homework, although we will send out a reading at the beginning of the month to get you thinking about the theme. There will also be additional activities related to the theme of the month to deepen your exploration available to you, if you choose. 

What if I don’t like the people in my group?

A church community is full of people who challenge us in many ways. As Unitarian Universalists, we are called to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Sometimes that’s harder than others. We ask that you give your group at least four sessions before deciding that your group is not for you. Be curious and open. 

The intent of these groups is to help you find your growing edges. Discomfort and conflict may happen. You may find that this is not a place for you at this time.  If you feel like you are not able to show up as your full self in a Circle of Connection, please speak to your Circle Guide and contact Katie Edwards at katieedwards@jeffersonunitarian.org to discuss what options you may have. 

When and where will these groups meet?

We have a mix of groups that will either meet at JUC in person or will meet online. Based on your choices on the registration form, you’ll be placed in a group that matches your preferences as best as possible.

In the case that it is no longer safe to meet in person due to COVID-19, all groups will move online. 

If I like my group, can we keep meeting after May 2022?

Circles of Connection are intended to help us widen our circles and practice the art of healthy endings. The official church program will end in May 2022. If we decide to continue with Circles of Connection in the next church year, new groups will be formed. You are welcome to carry forth the relationships that you make into the rest of your life. You are also welcome to let go of relationships that are no longer serving you. Each group will go through practices to tell their story and embrace the changes that have happened. 

What’s the deadline to register?

Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at 5pm MT.

I have a question that wasn’t answered here.

Great! For all other questions email Katie Edwards at katieedwards@jeffersonunitarian.org or call her at 720-295-1173.