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Sharing Circles - a Small Group Activity in 8 Simple Steps!

Simple step-by-step instructions for running a small group sharing circle!


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  1. Step 1 – Opening: group elects a “stoker”

  2. Step 2 – Dedication: participants offer dedications

  3. Step 3 – Naming & Affirming: participants introduce themselves

  4. Step 4 – Guidelines: stoker reads the guidelines... “Thank you for joining in this circle. Here are our agreements: We will not try to advise, fix, or converse with you. Everything said here is welcome here, and everything said here stays here in confidentiality. We honor your silence. We will remember these four intentions: listen from the heart, speak from the heart, be spontaneous, and be brief.”

  5. Step 5 – Sharing: participants respond to prompts... Use any prompts that suit the nature of the group.

  6. Step 6 – Witness Round: stoker invites final reflections... “As we end this circle, what do you hear in your heart? What came up for you in your body during this time? What have you heard from others and yourself? No more than a sentence, please.”

  7. Step 7 – Naming & Affirming: participants acknowledge each other

  8. Step 8 – Closing: stoker concludes the circle... “Thank you for trusting me as stoker. And thank you for joining us in this sharing circle. The circle has ended. Onward.”

Sharing circles practice informed by:

  1. Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle, The Way of Council, 2nd ed. (Las Vegas: Bramble Books, 2009).



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