Beginning in May, 2018, Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon gathers on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. for earth-centered Sacred Circle Meetings.
In these meetings, we all sit or stand in a circle, so that everyone is equal. We celebrate the continuous cycles of the moon, solar year and seasons. We honor the ancient deities of our ancestors, whom we experience as imminent and powerful in the world today. We share in readings, invocations, song, drumming, dance, and other activities, all held within a sacred space which is consecrated at the beginning of the meeting.
While this may be very different from the average person’s experience, circle meetings are becoming common in Unitarian Universalist churches. (see Circle Worship on the UUA website.) These meetings are completely participatory, but there is always a “script” to follow. They are intergenerational–young people are included as equals in the meeting. (As we grow, we may begin a separate “children’s circle” for young people, but currently families all gather together.)
What Happens in a Sacred Circle Meeting?
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted and invited to join the circle (which may be in the sanctuary, outside on the lawn in nice weather, or downstairs).
We begin by sitting or standing in a circle. We create a sacred space around ourselves, and light the congregational Chalice to honor Unitarian Universalism and our congregation.
The main part of the circle meeting may include a variety of different things. We may do invocations with a lot of poetry and spoken words. We may do a physical activity such as weaving a web of colored cords, creating a piece of art, even coloring eggs. We may use drums and musical instruments for healing and cleansing ceremonies. We may do divination work, asking for guidance. We may sing chants or dance. We may do several of these things in one meeting. Members can suggest or request that we focus a circle meeting on a certain topic, or bring something different for the group to try.
Whatever we do, it is considered a sacred act, undertaken by all of us together within a holy space that we’ve created for this hour or so that we meet.
At the conclusion, we bless food and drink–usually juice–and pass them to each other, partaking in a “communion.”
Finally, we thank the divine powers and formally close the space, returning to the everyday world.
The best way to find out what a Sacred Circle Meeting is like is to visit and participate in one. We welcome guests and newcomers at any time.