The Prayer Circle curriculum, is to be used when we go into the prison as part of their religious programming. Based on a small group ministry model the Prayer Circle is a small group (usually 8-10, including two facilitators), who meet together twice a month in two-hour sessions to encourage one another to spiritual growth and offer each other support by deep listening in whatever challenges they may be facing. Sessions typically last for two hours, and are facilitated by the same person(s) (outside volunteers) each time. Each session starts with the lighting of the chalice, the symbol of Unitarian Universalism, and then has a time when each person can check in with how things are for their spirit and share a short prayer. Then there is generally a reading and a question or two posed by the facilitator, and each person in the circle has a chance to share in response to the questions.
In an effort to make space for every voice, a time limit is set for each person to talk in each round of sharing (three minutes is a common limit, though this can fluctuate depending on the number of participants.) Not every person will have something to share during each round of sharing. Reminding participants that they can always say “I pass” is a practice that helps create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable sharing as they wish.
The goals of the 12-session curriculum are:
Telling Our Stories; Transforming Our Lives
This Telling Our Stories; Transforming Our Lives curriculum, is to be used in jails generally as part of enrichment programming. Based on the Prayer Circle curriculum, this includes six stand alone sessions that can be experienced individually or in a sequence. This development is because a person's stay in jail is (hopefully) short-term so regular participation is less certain.
Other Unitarian Universalist groups wanting to use the curriculum in prisons or jails in their states should Contact Us for the latest version of the curriculum.