Like our Chalice Groups, Food for Thought Groups provide an opportunity for us to share our stories, ideas and feelings while building relationships. Unlike our Chalice Groups, though, our Food for Thought Groups will take place in the context of a shared meal.
Most of our lives are so very busy with the many commitments we have to juggle. Food for Thought Groups will provide you with a regular, structured opportunity to slow down, savor good food in good company while having a deeper conversation than small talk allows.
Each Food for Thought Group will have up to 12 members including one facilitator. Groups will meet monthly between October and May. The groups will meet either in the homes of group participants or at the church.
The facilitator will host and also provide the main dish for the first gathering, taking into consideration each group members’ dietary restrictions. All other participants in the group will bring one item to complement the main dish. Groups can decide whether they would like to coordinate ahead of time who will bring side dishes, who will bring desserts, who will bring drinks etc. or let themselves be surprised by each person’s contribution.
At the first gathering, the facilitator will ask each group member to choose one month in which they will serve as the host. The responsibilities of the host include setting up space in their home or arranging space in the church and providing the main dish. By rotating the hosting responsibilities, each group member will only need to host and provide the main dish once during the course of the program year.
Once everyone arrives, the group will begin their meal. We encourage each group to share a prayer, blessing, song or short reading before beginning the meal. This will allow the group to begin their gathering on a shared note of attention and gratitude. While people are eating, each member of the group will have an opportunity to check in. Once the check in is completed, the facilitator will share a short reading and introduce a few questions on a single topic as the focus of that dinner’s conversation.
This year we will be using Soul Matters packets for our groups, which will introduce spiritual practice to the preparation and discussion.
In order to enable all group members to have the opportunity to share their reflections on the topic, the facilitator will ensure that each person has an opportunity to speak once before anyone speaks twice. After each participant has had at least one opportunity to respond to the reading and questions, the facilitator will open up the conversation for dialogue and group conversation.
Membership in each group will be predetermined and will remain consistent throughout the program year. This will allow the participants in each group to create connections with people they do not already know and to deepen relationships with others with whom they are already acquainted. If someone who initially joined a group finds they are unable to participate, we will be happy to add someone to that group from the waiting list. The facilitator just needs to let the coordinators know that they would like another member.
The Food for Thought Groups are coordinated by the Adult Religious Exploration Committee, which also coordinates our Chalice Groups program.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the Church Office at [email protected]
Download the Small Groups Conversation Brochure (Right-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” to save the document to your computer)
Download the Sign-up Sheet for Small Group Conversation (Right-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” to save the document to your computer)