Every Friday there are questions to answer over on the Rev Gals blog. Here's my first completed homework assignment. The subject is groups.
1. Tell us about any group(s) you currently belong to. (e.g. book club, knitting circle, walking buddies, etc.)
I belong to a really terrific covenant group. There are five of us, and we meet every other week for an hour (or a bit more) to touch base with one another on life, ministry, family, and whatever else is impacting our worlds. We're committed to accountability--we hold one another accountable for balance (always fun in the ministry), health, and truth, among other things. It's a really good group of folks, and invaluable to me.
2. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend?
It depends. :) I'm an introvert, so group situations can be draining, especially if I'm in a group of strangers. It always takes me a little while to warm up in the big groups, like Synod Assemblies and Convocations. That's partly the big group thing, and partly the "gee, I wonder which of these folks wish the lesbian pastor would fall off of the edge of the world?" thing. Yeah, paranoia--that's what I meant.
I can be energized by groups of people whom I know well, like my covenant group, and groups from my church.
3. Is there a role you naturally find yourself playing in group situations? That is, do you naturally fall into the leader role, or the one who always makes sure the new person feels welcome, or the quiet one who sits back and lets others shine, or the host?
I'm the leader at church, the quiet one in other groups, the host at home (at least I used to be). I'm the joker a lot of the time. So I guess the short answer to this question is "no."
4. Handshakes vs. hugs: discuss.
One of the few times I wish I was a man. (The other big one is when needing to pee outside.) I like the handshake, but don't always know if it is appropriate. I like the hug, but...see previous answer. We are huggers at Abiding Peace. I know that's a little scary for new people, but hey, it's cleaner than shaking hands. And we love each other at church. And don't feel bad about it either.
5. Ice breakers: a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness?Bonus: If you answered "playful and lighthearted," share your favorite ice breaker.
How about "necessary evil?" I like them as long as they aren't too forced (and especially don't make you do anything ridiculous) and don't go on too long. They can be a nice way to get to know a few people in a group, if you know no one.
I have always relied on the M & M game. You give everyone a few M & M's, and then start a question around the circle. Each time someone answers a question, they eat an M & M. When little colored circles appear on peoples' palms, the game has gone on long enough. This icebreaker is easy, doesn't require you to do anything ridiculous, and, hey, there's chocolate.