Chalice Circles

The Program
We launched Chalice Circles, our small group ministry program, in 2004 and have beenChaliceGlow going strong ever since! Chalice Circles provide opportunities for people to learn and grow through honest personal reflection and open-hearted listening in small groups that come together to explore varied topics. A trained facilitator upholds the Chalice Circle Covenant, assures safe space for conversation and exploration, and keeps the discussion of the session topic on track.  Related support teams are:

  • Session-Building Team: vets session topic and develops the readings and questions for each session

  • Planning Team: implements strategies to help the program be accessible to the widest possible audience and to promote equity in our methods of signing up for Circles

  • Circle Facilitators: participate in training and meet as a group throughout the year for support and guidance

  • Format

    Our Chalice Circle program typically runs October through May of each year with groups of 6 to 10 people meeting once a month at the church or in members' homes. Each session lasts two hours and begins with a chalice lighting and opening words, followed by a time for personal check-in. There is a shared reflection on the topic for that session, and then the facilitator introduces a variety of questions to spark discussion.

  • Signing-Up

    Our Chalice Circle program is designed for Members, Friends, and newcomers to UUCV. That means participants must be affiliated with the church before signing up. In September we have an open sign-up period in order to give everyone a fair and equitable chance to join a Chalice Circle. Participants for each Circle are selected at random from those whose sign-up forms are received by the deadline. If a group has substantially more requests than spaces available, we may try to create a second group at that time if we can arrange for a Facilitator.


2017 03 Chalice Circle

What's Your Vision
—for yourself, for UUCV, and for the country?

Visualization is a way of making change. It's constructing a mental image that lets us see where/what/how we want to be.

Visualization is a mental picture of the result we want to achieve—a picture so clear and strong it will help make that result real. A vision is not a vague wish or dream or hope. It's a picture of the real results of real efforts. It comes from the future and informs and energizes the present.

  • Here's why a vision is so powerful:

    A vision inspires action. A powerful vision pulls in ideas, people and other resources. It creates the energy and will to make change happen. It inspires individuals and organizations to commit, to persist and to give their best.
    A vision is a practical guide for creating plans, setting goals and objectives, making decisions, and coordinating and evaluating the work on any project, large or small.
    A vision helps keep organizations and groups focused and together, especially with complex projects and in stressful times.

    ~John Graham, author and motivational speaker

At our March Chalice Circle meeting, we will explore this theme of visualization and what it means not just for us as individuals but how it ties in with our feelings about our church.

Additional Resources:

Internet talks

The Dream We Haven't Dared to Dream by Dan Pallotta

Gandhi 3.0 Bridging the Internet and the Inner-Net (This is an hour-long talk.)


LaLa Land
The Pursuit of Happyness
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Hidden Figures


The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd


 Selma HiddenFigures  InventionOfWings  PursuitOfHappyness  PoisonwoodBible

2017 02 Chalice Circle

February - Fearless Love

Additional Resources:

Ted Talk: Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

WhenLoveMeetsFearThis is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul

When Love Meets Fear David Richio examines the deepest roots of fear and how it limits our ability to act and fulfill our greatest potential.

Chapter Four in Becoming Wise: an Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett The chapter is titled "Love, a Few Things I've Learned" "I'm a person who listens for a living. I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard. This book chronicles some of what I've learned in what has become a conversation across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations."

Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from an array of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett's compassionate yet searching conversation.

In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many BecomingWisedimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett and accompanied by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of teaching faculty.

The open questions and challenges of our time are intimate and civilizational all at once, Tippett says – definitions of when life begins and when death happens, of the meaning of community and family and identity, of our relationships to technology and through technology. The wisdom we seek emerges through the raw materials of the everyday. And the enduring question of what it means to be human has now become inextricable from the question of who we are to each other.

This book offers a grounded and fiercely hopeful vision of humanity for this century – of personal growth but also renewed public life and human spiritual evolution. It insists on the possibility of a common life for this century marked by resilience and redemption, with beauty as a core moral value and civility and love as muscular practice. Krista Tippett's great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid.

One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett and her teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it better.

   Me Before You
   The Book Thief

2017 01 Chalice Circle

January - Commit, Cooperate, Create

For further consideration:

   The Great Turning: from empire to Earth community by David Korten
   The Penguin and the Leviathan: the triumph of cooperation over self-interest by Yochai Benkler
   A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


   As Good As It Gets
   A Man Called Ove (released this fall, but not in the big cinema chains. It might be available on one of the online streaming options.)

TED Talk: How Messy Problems Can Inspire Creativity by Tim Harford