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Facilitator Guidelines

Below is a letter which you can customize and send to a facilitator for a specific meeting of an interfaith story circle.

Dear [insert facilitator's name],

Thanks for being willing to facilitate the Interfaith Story Circle on [insert date] on the theme of [insert the theme]. We truly appreciate the gift of your time and talents! The following are guidelines for each circle which, if followed as closely as possible, make for a rewarding circle.

Please begin promptly at 7:00 p.m., with a prayer related to your topic. This may take many forms; poetry, music, written reflection, prayer from a specific tradition; anything that will help us to acknowledge the spiritual nature of our circle and to ready ourselves for story listening and telling.

Forty minutes is set aside at the beginning of the circle for you to share your knowledge/expertise on the theme and the stories you choose to tell. Some discussion usually follows but please be mindful that this is a story circle, not a workshop. If there is extra time toward the end of the evening, after others’ stories have been shared, you might tell additional stories or continue the discussion.

At 7:40 it’s time for open telling.. Please encourage others to tell. Some people will come with stories that relate to the theme of the evening, but they may tell any story they wish. Some may have a story they are working on and would like response to/ help with. Others may simply be inspired to tell a story that “fits”. Our circle is usually a real “mix” of people who use story professionally and of those who come out of a love for story itself.

Please allow for a brief space of silence between the stories, giving time for reflection and the work of the Spirit. This lends a prayerful atmosphere to our sharing.

Please keep to our ending time of 9:00 p.m and close with a brief prayer.

It would be much appreciated if you could provide the group with a handout of story resources on your topic and/or bring samples of books you find useful. This is in keeping with our goal of acting as a resource for those who wish to learn more about storytelling on various themes, spiritualities and faiths.

Our circle is publicized in the religion calendars of the local papers, public access t.v., an ecumenical newsletter and a local weekly magazine. If you would publicize the session you are leading in your faith congregation and in others that neighbor your own, that would be most helpful. Our main goal is to make our circle a genuine “interfaith” effort.

Please feel free to call with any questions you might have. [insert organizer's name and telephone number]

With prayers for your storytelling journey,