Learning Circles

Meaningful Learning Opportunities

Learning Circles | Initial Meetings  | Response Form | UCC Link 

A Learning Circle provides an opportunity for you to explore the learning you need, at your pace, with colleagues who share the same concerns.

The concept of clergy learning in community was introduced in the U.S. a number of years ago and has very encouraging results. The United Church has done a number of pilot projects in Canada, one facilitated by Congregational Life Centre staff, again with very good results.

This coming year, United Church's Faith Formation and Education Unit of Continuing Education has urged Centre staff to expand their facilitation of Learning Circles. We are offeriing a Learning Circle in Edmonton, Central Alberta, Calgary, and a Distance Learning Circle that will use telephone conferencing and the Internet to explore a common topic.

What is a Learning Circle?

A Learning Circle is a group of no more than 10 people who come together once a month to explore and learn about a specific topic the group has identified. This format provides an opportunity for the learning to be applied during the time between meetings. The circle becomes a place of support, and provides an opportunity for feedback and sharing of ideas. "Learning is only one of the benefits; people in their groups value the sense of being part of a supportive peer group as highly as they value the education content of the sessions."

How does it work?

Those who want to explore this learning style come together to determine the topic that they will focus on. Those who want to continue establish their covenant for commitment, meetings, etc. and the Facilitators organize the necessary resources so the process can begin.

Facilitators provide possibilities regarding resources and format. They look after administration and ensure everyone in the group is kept up-to-date with meeting times and places.

Will it work?

Previous participants had these comments regarding their experience:

• My listening skills have been honed.

• I am more attuned to my existing congregational leadership.

• I have been affirmed in my general stance with congregations.

• Having goals has been very helpful. I am integrating this with the ongoing life of my congregation through using some of the tools, seeking our vision and talking with folks.

• Learning is only one of the benefits; people in their groups value the sense of being part of a supportive peer group as highly as they value the education content of the sessions."

What does it cost?

The United Chuirch of Canada is funding Learning Circles for clergy. As a result, the cost to particiipants is $100 per year. Information about the United Church program is available on the United Church of Canada web site www.united-church.ca/learningcommunities/.

How do I apply?

Simply let us know that you are interested and we will connect you with the others in your area to explore being part of a Learning Circle.

What are the prerequisites?

There aren't any. You need to bring a need for learning, a willingness to share with the others in your circle, and the courage to explore new ways of being the church.

If you are interested in knowing more, please let us know. We will be in touch to discuss Learning Circles with you. You can send us an e-mail to Clair Woodbury & Joyce Madsen, phone us at 780-619-0386, or ...

... use this convenient form below to send your e-mail information to us directly:

Response Form

Your message, including any particular Learning Circle topic you would be interesed in:

Select your preferred location or type:
Central Alberta Edmonton Calgary Distance Learning

Your e-mail address:

Phone Number (& Mailing Address if desired):

Your name:

United Church of Canada information on Learning Circles and Learning Circle Grants is located at



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