E S S A Y S , A R T I C L E S A N D R E V I E W S
EarthLight Community Circles:
Help Till the Soil of the Great Work
EarthLight Magazine #43, Fall 2001
So many of us yearn for a safe space to be authentic, to share our passions for Spirit and Earth, and to get the support of kindred spirits. EarthLight has sensed among our readers the need to gather in closer communities, and we hope to be able to facilitate those circles. The Great Work proposed by Thomas Berry requires communities to carry it out.
We are calling on those of you who feel that need most strongly to become a starter seed for a circle of EarthLight readers and friends in your area. We suggest meeting monthly in one another's homes, using ideas from the current EarthLight issue and beyond to spark your discussions. We will provide your first meeting with extra copies of the magazine and we will try to give you all the support we can in getting started and maintaining the process.
Content: There are many ways to shape the content your EarthLight Community Circle takes. Here are some ideas on content:
- A simple discussion group that focuses on the theme of the issue or particular articles of interest to participants.
- A gathering that begins with a hike or a potluck and then proceeds into a discussion of one or more topics of shared interest.
- A more personal group discussion with a special focus, e.g. the ideas presented in Cindy Spring's column, "The Conscious Life" (see page 24), Joanna Macy's column, "The Great Turning" (see page 16), Cecile Andrews' ideas in her book, Voluntary Simplicity, or The Great Work by Thomas Berry.
- A group that meets primarily to share and support each other in their activities of "engaged spirituality"-the ways in which you translate your beliefs into action.
Form: Here are alternative forms your circle might take:
- A simple discussion study group. See NorthWest Earth Institute's website, www.nwei.org, for their superb courses on deep ecology, voluntary simplicity, and sustainable living.
- A "wisdom circle" which contains ritual and the use of a talking stick. See www.wisdomcircle.org for the ten constants and how to start one.
- A "PeerSpirit" circle based on principles in Christina Baldwin's Calling the Circle. See www.peerspirit.com.
- An excellent support group format, developed by Herman Greene, can be found in the Ecozoic Community handbook. Especially useful for implementing the Great Work. See www.ecozoicstudies.com.
We're asking people who are willing to be the "seed" for their area to contact Susan Kleihauer, EarthLight's Editor-at-Large, who has volunteered to play a coordinating role. (See below for Susan's contact information.) We will then send out a postcard to EL readers in your area notifying them of your interest and suggest they contact you.
We need each other in this time of transition and transformation. Not one of us can make it alone. We think EarthLight is a great place to till the soil of community and to sustain its growth. Join us in creating EarthLight Community Circles.
Contact Susan Kleihauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (541) 767-9950.
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