Authentic Spiritual Conversations groups can be started anywhere, independently of CGI Fellowship as locally-initiated, self-responsible groups. However, we offer the following resources to help you start a group in your area.
- Consultation. We are available for telephone consultation and sharing our experiences with starting ASC groups to help you determine if this is something that you want to initiate. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Introductory Meeting. We offer our presence and facilitation at a two-hour introductory meeting for the purpose of attracting a core group of people interested in starting an ASC group. Here is an example of a flyer for an introductory event at a book store. Contact us at email@example.com to discuss possibilities.
- Finding a Location. The first challenge is to find a suitable meeting place that is free or low cost, private, quiet, and comfortable. Ideally the space will have a positive energy and will allow people to bring in their own contained beverages. We have found that some public libraries offer meeting space for free as long as the meeting is open to the public and does not offer anything for sale. Some hospitals have meeting rooms that are available to community non-profits for free. We found a Masonic Lodge that was willing to provide space for the cost of $1.00 per person attending. We avoid using church facilities because they may not be considered by potential members to be neutral territory. Likewise, some people may not feel comfortable meeting in a private home. You may find a local book store, coffee hang-out, or other business that has suitable meeting space for free or low cost.
- Advertising. Many local newspapers will print meeting/event announcements for free. Click here for a collection of newspaper announcements for ASC meetings. You can use these same materials for social media announcements.
- Target Audience. We find our target audience tends to be “spiritual but not religious” adults who are older and possibly retired. Take into consideration the audience you are trying to reach when selecting the type of advertising media you use as well as the day and time when you schedule your meeting.
- Confidentiality Agreement. Trusting in the confidentiality of what is said in the group is an important aspect of creating a sense of safety for authentic conversations. Here is an example of a confidentiality agreement that you can share and amend with your group.
- Values Statement. CGI Fellowship has established broad values which help to create an environment that encourages authentic self-expression in a group where members hold a variety of differing beliefs. This document can provide you with a starting place for conversation in your group about the qualities that support safety for authentic conversations and qualities inhibit authentic self-expression. Here is a condensed one page version of the values. Here is a colorful values handout that you can share.