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circle starters

Perhaps someone told you about our discussion circles, or perhaps you've been in one and wish to start your own closer to home or in your faith center or workplace.

These links review the concept of a circle and describe the possibilities.

You may wish to use the Simple Living Wheel to figure out which topic(s) appeal(s) to you the most. The guides can be associated with the following wheel spokes:

  • CSL: 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 15, 16
  • DSOP: 10, 13, 16
  • GW / LCD: 6, 16
  • HCHP: 4, 6, 7, 8
  • MF: 12, 10, 14, 15, 16
  • RE: 9, 16
  • VS / LBP: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15
  • YMOYL: 4, 6

It might be a good idea for you to borrow or order a copy of the discussion guide(s) in which you're interested.

Once you decide which guide most appeals to you -- you can choose a couple -- it's time to plan an Introductory Meeting. There, your guests will learn what a circle is, what topic(s) you propose they discuss, and what the timeframe will be. Given the choices, they'll decide whether they want to join your circle.

In many cases you won't need to worry about conducting the Introductory Meeting. Check out if there's an SMEI volunteer located close to you. If there is, you need only to choose a meeting a date that works for both of you. The SMEI volunteer will wear the hat of Introducer and will conduct your meeting for you. The Introducer's job is explain what a circle is, and to reach a consensus among the people you invite regarding the topic, meeting location and timeframe. The Introducer will also talk about how to get discussion guides, and the cost.

It's usually the case that the circle starter will also be the circle book person, but that's NOT obligatory. We encourage everyone to take responsibility for different aspects of the circle.

If there's no volunteer Introducer who can come to your meeting, you'll need to wear that hat, but it's not that hard. All you need to know is linked to this page.

Next, decide which people to invite. Promote the meeting using:

Have fun and thanks for being interested in starting a discussion circle in Maryland or DC!


Flyers advertising introductory meetings

CSL-Choices for Sustainable Living: Editable (in Word),
or fill out by hand, in B/W (PDF 278 KB) or in color (PDF 346 KB)

DSOP-Discovering a Sense of Place: Editable (in Word), or fill out by hand, in B/W (PDF 220 KB) or in color (PDF 196 KB)

GW-Global Warming Changing Co2urse: Editable (in Word),
or fill out by hand, in B/W (PDF 168 KB) or in color (PDF 318 KB)

HCHP-Healthy Children, Healthy Planet: Editable (in Word), or fill out by hand, in B/W (PDF 149 KB) or in color (PDF 293 KB)

MF-Menu for the Future: Editable (in Word), or fill out by hand, in B/W (PDF 133 KB) or in color (PDF 334 KB)

RE-Reconnecting with Earth: Editable (in Word), or fill out by hand, in B/W (PDF 133 KB) or in color* (PDF 334 KB, Exploring Deep Ecology)

VS-Voluntary Simplicity: Editable (in Word), or fill out by hand, in B/W (PDF 208 KB) or in color (PDF 282 KB)

2-sided printable descriptions of the NWEI discussion guides, with list or readings and excerpts (PDF):