Chalice Lighting

Good stories grow out of observation.  A good story grows out of a common human experience.  Preserving stories enlarges our capacity to empathize and sympathize with people.  – Fred Craddock

Check in Share briefly what is on your mind or heart or your highs and lows since we last met.


Thoughts to Ponder

The best stories help the reader to discover worlds he never knew existed within himself.  ̶ Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Identity development, all along the life cycle, is the process of editing, screening and redacting our developmental stories into a cohesive narrative.  Each person is the narrator of their experiences with objects that formed their storied selves.

̶ Jacquie Lewis


Millions of people are telling their stories of their life on websites like Twitter and Facebook.  Young people are remarkably and sometimes frighteningly self-disclosing.  You can know more about perfect strangers than you do about your own children, or you can find out more about your own children than you really want to know with a simple visit to their page.
̶ Michael Piazza


Remembering our stories helps us to connect with our inner selves.   Telling our stories helps us to connect with others.  –Kent Matthies


In which areas of my life is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I’ve got? − Jim Loehr


The parables reveal Jesus to be not only a figure of enormous wisdom but a great spinner of stories, a man with a terrific sense of humor, a man who probably better than most understands what people actually need to hear and can deliver what they need to hear in a way that challenges them to hear it.  – Amy-Jill Levine


Children are fairly new to the planet and storytelling teaches them a lot about the way life works around here. Through stories, they hear about characters who are good, bad and in-between. They see a dramatic representation of problems, how characters choose to solve them and the positive and negative consequences of those choices. They meet characters from their own culture and others, and become familiar with a range of customs, personalities and points of view. The stories of others can help children deal with their own life experiences, both big and small.
̶ Penelope Longfellow

Spiritual Exercises
Think about the following questions.

  • What was one of the happiest moments of your life? The saddest?
  • Who has been a big influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
  • Who has been especially kind to you in your life?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • Are there any funny stories your family tells about you that come to mind?
  • What is something you are proud of?
  • When in life have you felt most alone?
  • If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be?

1)  Pick a person you trust and share with him or her at least a story or two you remember from the questions above.

2)  Pick a person you trust and ask him or her to share at least a story or two from the questions above.  Listen well.


3)  Write your six word memoir and share it with your small group (or write them in the group.) Six-Word Memoirs is a project founded by the online storytelling magazine Smith Magazine to provide a platform for storytelling in all its forms, and has been used by various groups to foster connection and empathy. Visit for examples.



How did telling and listening to the stories in the spiritual exercises affect you?

Are stories important to you?Which of your stories help you to achieve your goals?

Which of your stories create obstacles for you as you work to achieve your goals?

Why is it hard for some of us to tell our stories?

Are there consequences when you keep your story to yourself?
Sitting in Silence Take a few moments to sit quietly and reflect upon your thoughts.

Sharing/Deep Listening
Respond with your thoughts/experiences with the topic.

This is a time to supportively respond to something another person said or to relate additional thoughts that may have occurred as others shared.


Song: We Are… #1051, Singing the Journey

For each child that’s born, a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are. (x2) We are our grandmothers’ prayers, we are our grandfathers’ dreamings, we are the breath of our ancestors, we are the spirit of God. We are mothers of courage and fathers of time, we are daughters of dust and the sons of great visions, we’re sisters of mercy and brothers of love, we are lovers of life and the builders of nations, we’re seekers of truth and keepers of faith, we are makers of peace and the wisdom of ages. We are our grandmothers’ prayers, we are our grandfathers’ dreamings, we are the breath of our ancestors, we are the spirit of God. For each child that’s born, a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are.

Extinguishing the Chalice
“Facts go straight to the head.  Stories go straight to the heart.”  ̶ Ingmar Bergman


Additional Resources
Can Reading a Fictional Story Make You More Empathetic? By Christopher


Video (TED Talk): The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie