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Meeting Agenda & Format

Open meetings are at the core of our program. Modeled after the customs and group dynamics of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, these meetings allow participants to take learning from their grief and bereavement in a safe and confidential environment. The word ‘open’ implies only that new participants are welcome to join the group at any time.

Our open meetings use a written script which is read by several group participants at the request of a group leader chosen for each meeting. When first exposed to this kind of meeting format, many people find the use of a script to be ‘canned’ or even insulting. The use of a script, however, has several important functions. For example, it de-emphasizes the role of the leader in the group.

The leader does not have to prepare any creative questions or group activities in advance. Some people put it this way: “If you are working on your own issues and you can read, you can lead a Peace & Acceptance group”. The use of a script also emphasizes the fact that all participants are present to work on their own issues not to passively receive from either the leader or other group participants.

Before the meeting begins you should nominate:

  1. a time keeper
  2. Someone to read the steps
  3. Someone to read either common purpose or shared values

Meeting Script

WELCOME

Hello, and welcome to the Peace & Acceptance Community meeting, we a community of active grievers who have all lost our partner in life. My name is __________ and it is my turn to lead the meeting tonight. Please join me for a moment of silence, after which we will recite the Serenity Prayer.

PRAYER

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

OPENING COMMENTS

This group is committed to creating a safe place to share our experience, strength and hope. This is not a therapy group, no one is here in a professional capacity. Our purpose is to grow towards peace and acceptance. We are not here to talk about others, to condemn, criticize, or judge anyone. Our desire is to improve the quality of our lives by looking honestly at who we are, by learning from, listening to and by sharing with each other.

THE STEPS

The Peace & Acceptance Community steps are an important foundation for our group so I’ve asked __________ to read them for us.

[nominated member to read steps]

COMMON PURPOSE & SHARED VALUES

Each meeting we alternate between reading the common purpose and shared values of the group, this is to remind ourselves of why we are here and what we intend on achieving, this time I have asked ____________ to read one of them.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Are there any the Peace & Acceptance related announcements?

NEWCOMERS

Is there anyone here today for the first time? If so, please tell us your first name so we can greet you.

If you are new to a the Peace & Acceptance Community group, we offer you a special welcome. We suggest that you attend at least 6 meetings to give yourself a fair chance to decide if this group is appropriate for you. We encourage you to exchange phone numbers with other members of the group for support between meetings and to join our WhatsApp group. If you have any questions, please feel free to talk with me at the end of the meeting.

INTRODUCTIONS

It is our custom to introduce ourselves by first name only. Please do not feel compelled, however, to introduce yourself other than to share your first name. My name is ______________.

(Note: It can feel welcoming if other members respond to each person’s self introduction by saying “Hi, name”.)

GROUP GUIDELINES

Every meeting we remind ourselves of some basic group guidelines. Many of the principles and traditions of the Peace & Acceptance Community are used as part of our group. We respect the confidentiality and anonymity of each person here. Remember that whatever you hear at this meeting is shared with the trust and confidence that it will remain here. Who you see here, what is said here, when you leave here, let it stay here.

Before our sharing begins, I will read our Guidelines for Group Sharing.

1) Everyone is invited to share, but no one is obligated to do so.

2) Please keep your sharing focused on recent experiences and events. Focus on your personal experience, strength and hope.

3) Limit your sharing to 3 minutes, today I have asked ______ to be our timekeeper. Allow everyone in the group to share once before you share a second time.

4) Please…NO CROSS TALK. Cross-talk occurs when individuals speak out of turn and interrupt one another. The group is disrupted, and focus is diverted from the individual whose turn it is to speak.

5) Refrain from asking questions. Questions will be answered after the meeting so that sharing will not be interrupted.

SHARING

This meeting is a step study. The the Peace & Acceptance Community Steps represent a discipline which can provide a way out of despair and the darkness that often surrounds those grieving.

Today’s meeting focuses on Step __________. [Note: Groups should consider addressing one step per calendar month]

As your leader for this meeting, I will share for a few minutes, then will open the meeting for general sharing relating to the topic being covered. If you would like to share please raise your hand to be recognized.

(Notes: At this point the leader reads the step and plays the related YouTube video which is the focus for the meeting and shares from his/her own current experience. When finished, the leader can either continue the sharing time by acknowledging a volunteer from raised hands or can continue the sharing by asking the person next to them if they would like an opportunity to share and continue by moving around the virtual room. If the group is larger than 20 people, it may be best form small groups of 5-7 people for the sharing portion of the meeting.)

CLOSING

The Peace & Acceptance Community is intended to complement not replace other support groups. We encourage you to attend other meetings that apply to your situation. We also encourage you to bring a friend to this or to other Peace & Acceptance Community meetings and to invite them to experience some of the benefits that can be gained from participating in this program.

Remember! What you hear at this meeting is confidential; leave it at this meeting! It is not for public disclosure or gossip. Please respect the privacy of those who have shared here today.

For the next meeting please can I ask for volunteers for

  1. Someone to lead the group
  2. A time keeper
  3. Someone to read the steps
  4. Someone to read either common purpose or shared values

Thank you, and see you next time on {Date of next meeting}