The Circle Process we are using is outlined in detail in The Circle Way, A Leader in Every Chair by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. You may also download a simple yet detailed guide, Basic Guidelines for Calling a Circle, at www.peerspirit.com.
How does a Giving Voice Circle Work?
Intention: Intention shapes the circle and determines who will come, how long the circle will meet, and what kinds of outcomes are to be expected. Our Giving Voice circles will be a time to share with your age peers in religious life (an intergenerationally) in the conversations you most long for and need.
Center: The center of a circle is like the hub of a wheel—all energies pass through it, and it holds the rim
together. To help us remember how the hub helps the group, we invite you to bring a meaningful object such as a cloth, candle or icon that represents the intention of our circle.
Roles: The circle process invites an equality of presence, contribution, and responsibility that is shared out among all members of the circle. Rotating positions of leadership enhances everyone’s experience.
- Host: A circle host is like the host of a dinner party. The host joins the group process while maintaining and observing the pattern of the circle. The host and guardian work together.
- Guardian: One circle member at a time volunteers to watch and safeguard group energy. The guardian employs a bell or chime that signals everyone to stop, take a breath, and rest in a space of silence. The guardian makes this signal again and speaks to why she called the pause. Any member may call for a pause.
- Harvester: The person serving as harvester serves as record keeper or historian in circle process and may be the first one to articulate emergent wisdom, decisions, or completion.
- Talking piece is often used as part of check-in, check-out, and whenever there is a desire to slow down the conversation, collect all voices and contributions, and be able to speak without interruption.
- Conversation council is often used when reaction, interaction, and an interjection of new ideas, thoughts and opinions are needed.
- Reflection, or Silent council gives each member time and space to reflect on what is occurring, or needs to occur, in the course of a meeting.
We will be using this blog as a way to gather the harvests of our conversations at the 2013 National Giving Voice Gathering.