To provide a safe, confidential space for women seeking a spiritual connection with other women within a group context and to share, support, and nurture our own and each other’s spirituality, spiritual exploration, and spiritual growth.
✦Use the talking stick appropriately: Use the talking stick to help you claim your space as speaker, not as a pointing device. Holding the stick with both of your hands when you are speaking may help you resist the temptation to point with it. When you have finished speaking, place the talking stick back in the center of the circle unless someone else has indicated that she wants to take it.
✦Start and end the gathering at the agreed-upon times each week: It’s tempting to want to wait for potential latecomers, but be firm about starting on schedule. This respects the time of those who have arrived on time and prevents the meeting time from being shortened. Folks who tend to run late will soon get into the routine of arriving promptly since they know the group is starting on time. It can also be tempting to run over the agreed-upon ending time. If you’re the facilitator, part of your job is to monitor timing, including making sure the gathering ends at the agreed upon time. Currently, we meet at 7pm on the 2nd and 4th Mondays each month, here at the church.
✦Inform someone if you know you’ll be unable to attend: Your presence matters and your absence is noticed. If you know ahead of time that you won’t be able to come one evening, let someone else in the group know (or the entire group via email) so that participants won’t be wondering if you’re okay.
✦Commit yourself to participating appropriately in all activities: Trust will quickly disintegrate within a small group if a member begins to dominate the dialogue or routinely doesn’t participate in activities (and instead takes on the role of observer). It is important to refrain from offering advice, trying to “fix” another person, debating, or judging. Any of these behaviors will also undermine the sense of safety and trust in the group.
✦Remember the purpose of the group, and use it to help you stay on track and to gauge whether the gatherings may be starting to stray (for example, if it feels like the group is starting to become a fellowship group, women’s support group, or therapy group).