Circle of Hands

Monthly Theme Circles

Theme Circles (Coming This Fall!)

Sign-up for the coming year opens August 23 and closes September 29.

Theme Circles are small groups that gather to focus on the monthly worship theme, exploring guided questions and short readings. Led by a trained facilitator, these circles engage deep questions of spirituality, with time for reflection and sharing.


What is a Theme Circle?

Theme circles are monthly small groups that deepen and support the spiritual journeys of participants in community with each other and in connection with the church’s monthly worship themes.


Is this a sermon discussion group?

No, the goal is not to explore the sermons in more depth, but to explore the monthly themes in more depth. Sunday services enrich the experience of the theme, but are not the focus of Theme Circles.


What is the focus of Theme Circles?

Connection. Connection to self, others and that which is larger than ourselves through reflective questions, short readings, spiritual exercises, and sharing our experience in a space of trust.


What do we mean by spiritual exercise?

Spiritual exercise goes beyond the question “What do you think?” and invites us into the deeper question: “Where are you willing to let your faith take you?” The goal is to get us out of our heads and into our lives. This is not to say we leave think­ing behind. Instead, the aim of the spiritual exercises is to challenge our tendency to use “objective analysis” as an escape. By pushing us to engage and talk about “what is really going on in our lives,” we find ourselves challenged not just to think differently, but also to live differently.


What do Theme Circle meetings look like?

Here is a sample format:

  • Centering (opening words, chalice lighting, followed by a moment of silent reflection)
  • Brief Check-In (15–20 minutes)
  • Spiritual Exercises (40 minutes; Members share which spiritual exercises they chose and how it went)
  • Engaging the Questions (40 minutes; Members practice deep listening as they share their experience ‘living the questions’ related to the month’s theme)
  • Check-Out (10 minutes)
  • Closing Words


Who can participate in a Theme Circle?

Theme Circles are open to First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee members, pledging friends, and regular guests who register for the program during the annual fall registration period.


How often do Theme Circles meet?

Theme Circles meet once a month for two hours, during the third week of the month, October to June. Circles include up to eight participants, guided by a trained facilitator.


What is expected of Theme Circle members?

Each month, members engage in pre-reading and contemplation exercises based on that month’s worship theme. Materials are sent electronically in advance for participants to delve into, at whatever level works for them.

Because Theme Circles only meet once a month and focus on spiritual exploration within community, we expect participants to make every effort to attend all meetings. If you already know you will miss more than two meetings, please wait to register until next year.


When do Theme Circles meet?

Registration begins August 23, and the registration deadline is September 29. There will be a variety of meeting times to choose from when you register.