Small-Group Session (2 of 2)
Before the session starts, the leader should set chairs in a circle, with a chalice and matches on a small table in the middle, or somewhere visible to participants. Make sure the strips of paper for “Readings from the Common Bowl” are in the bowl. Welcome people, and allow folks to settle before lighting the chalice.
Chalice Lighting and Opening Words
The group leader lights the chalice (or asks someone else to) and then, with the intent of creating sacred space, reads the following words:
“but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
Let us bear fruit in the season to come,
To plant tender seeds of purpose
To water the fields of our souls and journey
To soak in sunshine
To know nutrients, here of mother earth,
To feel the sense of harvest come-
The fruits of our being
Hope, mercy, and love.
Invite each person, in turn, to share a brief answer to the check-in question. The check-in question is: “What do you treasure in your life, what would you consider your wealth?”
Readings from the common bowl
The leader passes around the bowl, with strips of paper that have quotes on them. Invites each person to take one strip/quote out of the bowl. Then, invites each to read the quotes. They don’t have to read in order, one right next to the last one. But instead, invite them to allow some silence after every quote, and then to see if the quote they picked out of the bowl should go next or not. (See additional page for quotes; these are the quotes that will be torn into separate strips, and put in the bowl before the meeting)
After everyone has read the different statements, the leader asks the central question that will guide the session’s discussion: “How have you found or struggled with a faithful life with money?”
Leader invites attendees to take no more than 2 minutes to share a response to the question. Find a way to gently hold the group to the no-more-than-2-minute limit. Also, let people know there’s no cross-talk to the responses: group-members don’t answer the statements people make. One person speaks for oneself, then the next person does the same. It’s not a conversation, so much as a series of statements. Again, each with some silence or space between. And, again, voices don’t need to go in order, with people sitting beside each other speaking—just as the Spirit moves.
After hearing everyone’s statements, the leader invites the group to sit in silence for 2-3 minutes. This is not time for them to plan what they’ll say. It’s time to sit and be present, to let whatever comes up, come up.
Second round, reflections on what was heard, with additional thoughts
Whereas in the first round, attendees were encouraged to stick to their own thoughts, here in the second round, people can respond to some of what they heard. Again, encourage brevity—whether a formal 2-minute limit is enforced or not, encourage the conversation to move from one place to another in the circle, not getting dragged down to one or two voices who speak at length. It’s OK for people to respond to each other’s comments.
Likes and wishes
The leader asks for people to share, as they’re moved, what they liked about the session, and what they wish for next time, that they may or may not have experienced this time.
Closing Words & Extinguishing the Chalice
Give me the poverty that enjoys true wealth.
-Henry David Thoreau
Quotes for The Common Bowl
To be liberated, woman must feel free to be herself, not in rivalry to man but in the context of her own capacity and personality.
It’s easy to be independent when you’ve got money. But to be independent when you haven’t got a thing—that’s the Lord’s test.”
Money is not going to organize the disadvantaged, the powerless, or the poor. We need other weapons. That’s why the War on Poverty is such a miserable failure. You put out a big pot of money and all you do is fight over it. Then you run out of money and you run out of troops.
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.
The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.
The lack of money is the root of all evil.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
-Alexis de Tocqueville
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.
Quotes for The Common Bowl