Whenever you are dealing with people there are certain absolutes that apply to the exchanges between you and them. When you are leading intimate study and relational groups these absolutes are vital.
Unquestionably, there must be trust. What is said in the meeting(s) to one another must be guarded from exposure to others outside of the group. Why is this important? It is important because there are situations and scenarios happening in people’s lives that they feel comfortable relating to a small intimate group of friends–but not necessarily to the entire community. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the moderator of the group to create an atmosphere of order and trust so that everyone feels welcome and relaxed.
While attending graduate school I had a text written by Parker J. Palmer entitled, “A Hidden Wholeness”. In Chapter Five, ‘Preparing For The Journey–Creating a Circle of Trust’ Mr. Palmer states the following, ” …community–a kaleidoscope word that assumes new meanings at every turn–can evoke utopian images of a bygone era, a slower, simpler time when people lived side-by-side in villages and small towns. If community is to become an option for more than a fortunate few, we must shake off these romantic fantacies and create forms of life together that respect contemporary realities. Circles of Trust do exactly that because they have boundaries that traditional communities lack. Such circles, for example, do not depend on a critical mass of people the way a traditional community does–two people who know how to ‘protect and border and salute’ each other’s solitude can form a circle of trust” (73) The average Circle of Trust contains five to eight participants.
There are rules in a Circle of Trust. These are:
a.Respect one another
b. Do not blurt
c. Do not interrupt one another. Everyone gets their say.
d. Turn off cell-phones
e. Never argue with another circle member
f. Allow the moderator to moderate.
g. Greet one another and always pray
If everyone can agree to adhere to the rules of the Circle of Trust you can avoid chaos and misunderstandings, and the planned events can take place.
Women Under His Wings is a Circle of Trust. Feel free to unburden your heart with the knowledge that your sisters in Christ will listen, pray, intercede, and keep the things that are close to your heart in their trust.
Rev. Charlene W. Kirst
Reference: ” A Hidden Wholeness’ by Parker J. Palmer. Copyright 2004 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Jossey-Bass Publishers.