“People come to church longing for, yearning for, hoping for … a sense of roots, place, belonging, sharing and caring. People come to a church with a search for community, not committee.” — Glenn Turner

Chalice Circles are small group ministries that enrich our spiritual community.  The practices of holding space and deep listening create mutual trust, and support personal and spiritual growth through sharing our experiences and bearing witness to the lives of others.  

Frequently Asked Questions include:

  • Who can participate in a Circle?
    • Chalice Circle participation is open to all People’s Church members and friends.
  • What happens in a Circle?
    • Christina Baldwin, in Calling the Circle, writes:
      • In circle, our personal life stories are laced with comprehension of the immensity of the challenges we face.  In circle, we acknowledge that these challenges are real and unavoidable….
    • The focus is on sharing and listening, vs. study or debate.  Typically, each session highlights a reading related to a theme such as gratitude, grief, friendship, divinity or nature.    
    • Sessions are structured and include simple rituals: check-in, candle lighting, sharing recent joys and concerns, silence, personal responses to readings, deep listening, opening/closing words and check-out.  This process ensures space is held to honor what is true for each person. Each circle self-governs and adopts agreements of behavior called covenants.
  • Where and when do Circles meet?
    • Scheduling a newly forming Chalice Circle is done by the facilitator in collaboration with members.
    • The group decides meeting frequency and location.  Generally, Circles are held once a month for 90 minutes to 2 hours, at church, in members’ homes or on Zoom.  Some groups schedule additional gatherings for socializing and fellowship. 
  • How long does a Circle last?
    • Each Chalice Circle has its own life cycle and can last for a few months or several years.  Some Circles are “drop-in” and others are closed to new members.
  • Who leads a Circle?
    • Formal training is periodically provided for church members interested in facilitation.  Sharing rotating leadership among members can also be considered.
  • How big is a Circle?
    • The ideal size is 6-8 members, though some groups as large as 10 can function quite well.  “Drop-in” Circles can be larger.  As the circumstances of members’ lives change, the membership of a group may change, too.  Openings for new participants may occur if there is consensus among all Circle members. 
  • Can a couple be members of the same Circle?
    • Because married couples and others in intimate partnerships are both unique individuals and a “unit”, the decision to jointly participate in the same Circle is considered on a case-by-case basis after discussion between the facilitator and the couple.  Best practices suggest that intimate partners benefit most from being in separate Circles.
  • How can I join a Circle?
    • Opportunities to join a Circle are periodically available throughout the church year.  Email Donna McClurkan at dcmcclurkan@gmail.com to inquire.