Stepping up to bat

Recently, Julie Glynn and Martha Fitzgerald, have been having a very similar experience. Since moving to new locations (Julie to Nelson, B.C.; Martha to Bloomington, Indiana) both have joined Course study groups that lack structure and follow (more or less) a Ken Wapnick approach, and both of them have felt frustrated with the situation.

Martha says:  I have been somewhat disappointed with the group… there’s no consistent format; other materials are often brought in; there are very few people who attend regularly, and as a result we don’t seem to be going anywhere. Also, there is somewhat of a Wapnick emphasis.

And Julie: The group is mostly unstructured with very little or no teaching, one or two people giving their ideas of what the Course is saying. Not a group I would have wanted to stick with but it’s the only one in town! Another group member was thinking about leaving the group because she felt “like we were always going off Course (pun intended) and that it was more of a spiritual free-for-all than A Course in Miracles.”

An answer to the frustration presented itself when the “leaders” of both groups decided to leave, one indefinitely and one temporarily.

The leader of Julie’s group asked Julie to take over for a few months while she was on vacation, and Julie gladly accepted. She had been teaching groups in Toronto, using the Circle’s approach, and was looking forward to stepping into a teaching role with this group. Julie has been teaching the group for several weeks now. She is clear that she is not the “boss” of the group, but she has assumed a leadership and teaching role, and the members have responded enthusiastically.

When the leader of her group announced that she was leaving for personal reasons, and asked if anyone felt guided to take over, Martha was faced with a decision. “I saw that the group might be heading in a new direction, and I was wondering how I might influence the direction; that is, towards the Circle’s approach.” However, she had not taught a group before and was not sure that she was ready. After some discernment, she has offered to lead the group, at least on a trial basis. She sees this as an opportunity to introduce her fellow group members to another way of looking at the Course, and will be using The Illuminated Text to do that.

Given that this has come up for both Julie and Martha around the same time, I think it may be a good opportunity for us to share our experiences with this; for instance,

  • How have you, as a Circle student, carried yourself as a member in a non-Circle-based group? In a group where there seems to be a spiritual free-for-all?
  • What has been your experience of stepping up to bat as a Course teacher? How did you know you were ready?
  • If you’re not yet actually teaching the Course formally, where are you in the process? Do you feel ready, and, if so, what does being ready look like for you? What will help you step up to bat?
  • How can we support one another in stepping up to bat?

With loving thoughts

Mary Anne