“The Small Group Ministry program deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. A group usually consists of 8-10 members who “normally” would meet at the church, usually once every two weeks. Each meeting is focused on a spiritual or religious topic.”
Here are two quotes from Parker Palmer that distill for me the essence of this “Sacred Circle” experience or what Palmer calls a Circle of Trust:
“Every practice that creates a circle of trust must keep the space between us open and free and yet focused on things of the souls. We must be intentional about exploring the real issues of our lives: faith and fear, hope and despair, love and hate, among others. But our explorations must be invitational, giving everyone the freedom to engage those issues in his or her own way. When our intentionality becomes heavy-handed or our openness becomes aimless, the soul will not show up.”
(Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward An Undivided Life)
“What exactly do we trust in a circle of trust? Four things, at least:
- We trust the soul, its reality and power, its self-sufficiency, its capacity to speak truth, its ability to help us listen and respond to what we hear.
- We trust each other to have the intention, discipline, and goodwill to create and hold a space that is safe enough to welcome the soul.
- We trust the principles and practices that create such a space and safeguard the relationships within it, aware that the pull of conventional culture is persistent and can easily tug us toward behaviors that will scare the shy soul away.
- We trust that welcoming the soul with no “change agenda” in mind can have transforming outcomes for individuals and institutions.”