Two talking circles were recently facilitated for parish councillors and lay assistants at The Parish of Bundaberg to explore the question, “How do we work together for a healthy parish?”
A talking circle is an intentional space where participants share their insights on a given question or topic with the complete attention of others in the room.
The talking circles were facilitated by parish pastoral care coordinator Dr Howard Kingston and assistant parish priest Mother Kate Ross.
Kate Ross said that participants were given the option to share in the respectful and open gathering format.
“The talking circle process is an intentional way of coming together to talk about what is important to us and to listen to others,” Mother Kate said.
“Through the circle we create a collaborative space in which each of us can share our experiences, wisdom, questions, issues and ideas.
“The process is designed to enable deep and respectful speaking and listening, while also retaining the freedom to not speak.”
The Bundaberg talking circle participants described the experience as a respectful and constructive way to discuss matters important to the leadership team.
During the gatherings, participants said that they appreciated the people of the parish and the connections they had, expressing the need to establish further links within and across their congregations.
Youth ministry was identified as a key area to foster and strengthen.
Participants also identified that working together means listening and respecting each other.
The talking circle participants used a small bowl as the “talking piece”, which was held by the given speaker, with a pause between each person speaking.
The talking bowl was passed around the circle so people could speak in their seating order.
Talking circles are becoming an increasingly popular way for our Diocese’s parishes and ministries to explore salient topics.
Talking circles are valuable for parishes and ministries because they enable exploration of an important topic so that each person’s perspective is heard, without being judged or quickly commented on.Jump to next article