Hold a gathering!

This “gathering” can be large or small, depending on your circumstances. Size matters less than the determination to create fruitful discussion that will lead to plans on the local level for some kind of action or further engagement.

1. Welcome and Introduction of program (10 minutes)

  • Call the gathering to order, welcome all, and provide a brief overview of the plan for the meeting
  • Be sure that all present have signed in with email addresses so that follow up contacts can be made
  • Distribute handouts if needed

2. Opening Prayer (20 minutes)

  • A suggested opening prayer is provided on the website – use this or something else to begin the meeting with communal prayer

3. Opening presentation (optional) (15 minutes)

  • If desired, have someone give a short opening talk on some topic related to the gathering. This presentation should be brief and serve to create an atmosphere of inquiry and participation in the group

4. Small group discussions (45 minutes)

  • Depending on the size of the gathering, people should divide up into the subject matters that interest them. Within each grouping, whether a table-size or a room-size, engage in conversation using the “Discussion Guide” as stimulus. Each group will have a conversation director and scribe.
  • The scribe will keep a record of the salient conclusions or recommendations of the group. Scribes should turn in these notes to the organizers of the gathering.
  • The conversation director will ensure that all participants are heard from and that the discussion follows the general framework of the outline.

5. Break (15 minutes)

6. Large group sharing (30 minutes)

  • At the agreed upon time, the gathering will reconvene together and share one or two points from their group discussions so that a “sense of the whole” is shared.

7. Action planning and follow-up (15 minutes)

  • Are there any actions that the group will carry out locally?
  • Do people present want to stay in touch?
  • Are more gatherings desired?