A UUFP member presented this testimonial as part of the August 4th 2013 “How to Listen” service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula.
I facilitated a Fellowship Circle during the last cycle, and I was in Bob’s circle during the cycle before that, so I’ve been in Fellowship Circles for about four years, which is almost as long as I’ve been at the Fellowship.
I’m also a working mother of three. Some might ask, “Why would a woman who juggles forty to sixty hours of work per week, three sets of playdates, a social life, a husband, and (theoretically) house work choose to add another activity?” The answer is that Fellowship Circles are transformational. This program is really at the heart of what it means to be Unitarian Universalist for me.
One of our interim ministers said in a sermon that “What people are looking for in religion is intimacy and ultimacy.” I can’t provide the source of the quote, but it rings true to me.
In Fellowship Circles, we create intimacy. We speak from the heart. We listen without judgment. In the process, close relationships form that are sometimes friendships, but really these relationships are a little deeper than that. People generally join a congregation looking for a community and relationships. Fellowship circles provide intimacy, transforming your relationships with the participants.
But Fellowship Circles also provide that “life, the universe, and everything” that many of us join a congregation for — that ultimacy. I’m a Pagan, but I’m a UU Pagan who believes that all paths of good will lead to the light. Fellowship Circle topics aren’t necessarily spiritual, but there’s something about speaking from the heart that encourages people to share about and deepen their spiritual path. Don’t get me wrong: you’re as likely to hear about the spiritual path of an atheist as the path of a lapsed Catholic, or the path of someone who identifies with Eastern ideas as someone who grew up in a traditionally Protestant home — this is the UUFP, after all! But where else do we have the time to truly speak from the heart about our spiritual journeys? To me, different people from different paths speaking and listening in love — what could be more transformational, and more Unitarian Universalist, than that?
The UUFP is a busy, lively congregation, which is great. But what Fellowship Circles do is the quiet heart of our beloved community — a place to create intimacy and explore your own spiritual path. Fellowship Circles are where we are transformed into a deeper, more spiritual community.