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 light the chalice, check-in with each other, connect with a story of Unitarian Universalism, and explore the themes of Belonging, Courage, Change, Wonder, and Finding Our Center. Additionally, in March and April, each small group will design and execute a manageable service project.

By the end of 15 sessions, you will have:

  • Built new relationships with other JUCers
  • Developed your understanding of what it means for you to be a Unitarian Universalist
  • Practiced being reflective, acting authentically, and respective respectful of the feelings, actions, and opinions of others, even when you may not agree.

Groups will begin meeting in the 1st week of October 2022, and will run through the end of May 2023. Showing up for one another is an important spiritual practice, so if you can’t commit to 15 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
  • 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, we are offering multiple circles on weeknight evenings from 7pm to 8:30pm. Some will meet in person and some will meet online via Zoom. You will sign up for the group that fits your schedule and your comfort level via SignUpGenius or the Sign Up Site.

What does a typical session look like?

After a year of experimentation, Circles of Connection will return to a discussion-based format. The typical format will include:

  • Chalice Lighting
  • Guided Check In
  • Unitarian Universalist Story and Reflection
  • Theme Discussion
    • Sharing Round – Listening deeply to one another without judgement, asking ourselves, “What can we learn?”
    • Response Round – With gratitude, we lift up things from the sharing round that particularly struck you or connected with you.
  • 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 your Guide will send out the materials ahead of time. It will enhance your experience if you’re able to read these ahead of time.

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 three 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 2023?

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 2023. 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. 

I have an idea for a service project, but I’m not in a Circle. Can I share it with you?

Absolutely, e-mail it to Katie Edwards at katieedwards@jeffersonunitarian.org. We compile a list of service project ideas, but the groups choose the project democratically. Submitting an idea is not a guarantee that your project idea will be chosen.

What’s the deadline to register?

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 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.