Chalice Circles


In our religious tradition, our own lives are considered sacred texts in which we find truths as profound and as powerful as in any religion’s scriptures.

– UU minister Erik Wikstrom, Spirit in Practice


Also known as “covenant groups” and “small group ministry,” Chalice Circles are a vital part of many Unitarian Universalist(UU) congregations. Small groups meet regularly, usually monthly, to reflect on and discuss significant life topics.

Small groups are great places to get to know other people and to get to know yourself. Over time, participants build deep connections with one another, with the congregation, and with the sacred.
Whether the topic is “good and evil,” “mindful living” or “letting go,” the conversation is respectful and caring and leads to greater understanding. In each session, facilitated by a member of the congregation, all participants have the opportunity to share their perspectives, tell their stories, and listen deeply. The time together is structured: Groups begin and end with centering readings and often include a time of silence before the sharing begins.
We warmly invite you to participate in Chalice Circles at UU Fresno. Recognizing the Unitarian Universalist call to minister to each other and to the world, Chalice Circles provide a unique opportunity to engage in the spiritual practice of deep listening.
Please contact Janise to get more information on signing up.
Joining a Circle
Chalice circles generally run from October through May. While it is nice to start in at the beginning, you may join at any time! Many circles begin in October, while others start in January depending on the availability of facilitators.
There is no cost to join, and you do not have to be a member of the church to participate.
What a Chalice Circle is Intended to Be
A way to deepen our spirituality through shared practice.
A way to share our thoughts on life’s big questions.
A way to connect across age, gender, ethnic, economic and other differences.
A way to be engaged, included, and heard in a safe, nurturing environment.
A way to bring together the newer and the longtime members in our community.
A way to deepen our practice of shared UU principles.
What a Chalice Circle is NOT Intended to Be:
A social club, although ties between church members deepen through Chalice Circles.
A debate society, although many important topics are discussed.
A support or therapy group, although the atmosphere is positive.
A worship service, although the meetings and topics have a strong spiritual tone.
A rigid template of activities, although there are general guidelines to follow.
How do they work?
Chalice Circles meet twice a month for an hour and a half. Groups meet with a facilitator and listen deeply and intentionally to each other. Exploring a different theme each month, you will deepen your spiritual life and get to know a small group of people in a meaningful way. Chalice Circles are ideal for both new folks and long-timers.
The format of the meetings helps participants set aside daily distractions, reflect on their lives and beliefs, and make meaningful connections with one another. Each Chalice Circle becomes a small, personal community of listening and caring in the midst of a large congregation.
Group Meeting Times (For the October 2019 – May 2020 session)
Tuesday Chalice Circle / 10:30 – 12:30pm
Wednesday Chalice Circle /  6:30 – 8:00pm
Thursday Chalice Circle / 6:30 – 8:00pm
Friday Chalice Circle /  6:30 – 8:00 pm
Sunday Chalice Circle / 6:30 – 8:00pm
Special ZOOM Option for our homebound community members.
Chalice Circles usually meet during the 2nd and 4th week of the month with a few exceptions around the holidays. Please click the Chalice Circle Calendar or the Main Church Calendar.

Email Janise at to find out more and sign up.