Christophany Groups: Who Me?  Why…Yes!

Who Me?  Why…Yes!
Who should facilitate a Christophany group?
by Marilyn from an online Christophany group in Duluth, MN
Let’s start with why any of us might have chosen to be in a Christophany group. The answer is probably because we are curious, conscious, caring people, who enjoy connecting with others to have conversations about the ever evolving cosmos of which we and all things are always a part.
We want to know, and we want to grow, and doing that in the company of others who are on that same quest is a both a joy, and quite frankly, a relief.  An amazing opportunity beckons us to be with each other to think about science, religion, evolution, physics, neuroscience and theology together!   So much is made available for us to think about, share, and discuss from Sr. Ilia and her other contemporaries.  We are also so blessed to have so much to consider from many others who came before them.   So, where do we even begin?
How do we do this?
We are explorers making our way, but not alone in any way.  We have many guides on this spiritual journey, but our resources also need people willing to help set a course now.  Since there is so much material to discuss, so many podcasts to listen to, so many books to read and so many videos to watch, it is easy to find any number of things to choose from.  As a facilitator, it is just a matter of selecting something that you would love to talk and think about and are excited to share. Choose from the many options, and get ready to explore with others who are wanting to do the same.
Here is one easy way to begin:
When you volunteer to facilitate a group, you can work by yourself or find a partner–it is fun to pair up with someone, dig into some material and share some ideas for discussion. Working together furthers that connection too!  Pick out a few of the many things you wonder about and want to further consider with others.
Once you decide on content for discussion, share that article, video, podcast, essay or whatever you decide on with the whole group ahead of time so that they can read, watch, or listen before hand (a week ahead is usually a good amount of time).  When you send them the content, add 5-6 questions for them to think about for later discussion.
Your group may find it easiest if there is an agreed upon pattern to follow each time you meet.  Deciding what might work best for your group at the outset makes it easy to plug into the pattern while still bringing forth your own choices for topics and conversation starters.
Our group meets twice a month, and we use a pattern like this:
 We allow a little time for gathering and catching up until the start time.  Then we follow this format:
  • Begin with a prayer or a poem, a meditation, music etc. The text of  the prayer or other link can be provided in the material that is sent.
  • Then briefly say a few words about why you picked what you did–what interested you in the content.  The questions you created  and sent will make your reason or focus obvious but you might just say a few words.  See if there are any general questions; that is, do any of the questions need clarification, or is there anything else that needs addressing before jumping in to the small group conversations.
  • Now break into small group discussions of 3-4 individuals which can be randomly generated by Zoom with a given time limit like 30-40 minutes.    Use the questions you created as a  springboard for discussion and the questions and material will take the group where they will.
  • Next return to the large group and allow time for group members share what they feel came up that interested them or that they want more conversation about in the larger group.  Before starting the larger group discussion, you might take a minute or more for silence to just think about what has been discussed in the small group. Large group discussion can take 20 minutes or so.  You may run out of time and actually want to continue with the same material next time.
  • Finally before conclude the group session, decide on a volunteer(s) for next session(s).  You may feel you want to continue with the same topic or someone may want to volunteer to do the next group with a to be determined topic; however, it is good at this point to have a facilitator determined for the next session.
  • Close with a meditation, poem, music, prayer, or the like.
It is good to offer to help the next facilitator(s) if they are doing it for the first time or just to share ideas and connect.  Most of all, don’t worry about about trying something new.  That’s how great things begin, with someone willing to strike out; just ask any of the people who we are reading and listening to.  They are our examples for taking a path less travelled and leading onward.  Remember your group members are here to grow, learn and connect.  They will be forgiving, loving and caring, so don’t worry about trying to be a perfect facilitator.  Just follow an establish pattern for comfort and ease, then trust, and enjoy the conversation you have started in the group.  It’s fun, interesting, easy and a great way to explore the questions we are all asking during our ongoing evolution.
Then perhaps the next time the group asks who wants to facilitate the next session…you might just find yourself saying…why not…me!

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New Creation is the Center for Christogenesis online magazine dedicated to deepening our awareness of God, Cosmos, and Humanity in a scientific age.

Ω Vision and Ω Spirit cover questions of the theology and spirituality of the Center for Christogenesis worldview. Other areas include our What is God Today? video series, the Visio Divina image gallery, a Resources section with videos and PowerPoints, and the latest from Ilia Delio.

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I have been watching Ilia's talks and reading her writings quite often. Last year I interviewed Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim in Beijing while they were here for an international conference. In that interview we also talked a lot about Ilia's great works not only through the Christogenesis Center, but also though her teaching and writing. One young student name Liu Zheng is planning to do a fellowship with Ilia when the Covid-19 pandemic is over; he has been in touch with me very often sharing his ideas. Hope to be able to communicate and interview Ilia as well in the not distant future!
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