Community Groups

Starting a New Group


Starting an IONS Community Group may well be one of the most exciting things you will ever do! You will be creating a space where like minded people can explore more deeply those ideas that some rarely find a time or a place to address.

Many IONS Community Group members say that their meetings are one of the few places in their lives where they can gather for conversations that matter. One of the great joys of an IONS Community Group is that it is participatory. Group members often choose dialogue themes for their meetings and formats for their gatherings in shared leadership.

Groups range in size from as few as five or six people who gather on a regular (and sometimes irregular) basis to share in dialogue, to much larger groups which may offer monthly speakers to large audiences and be the “umbrella” for smaller, more intimate group gatherings focused on a particular topic. You and your group members will find a format that fits your needs and style.

There are a number of resources to help you get going:

  • The Group Basics page is a good place to start. It will answer many of your initial questions.
  • The Community Group Coordinators’ Handbook was created to support and help you as you initiate your group, and as it develops. Most of the material has been contributed by Coordinators and their group members. [Please contact Cathy Coleman and she will send it to you electronically. Please put "CG Handbook" in your subject line.] The "Getting Started" section of the handbook suggests ways you can develop a vision and a focus for your group, how you can contact prospective members, the place of rituals in community groups, and how to plan for and facilitate your first meeting.
  • The Regional Representatives are, or have been, involved with Community Groups, usually as Coordinators. As Regional Reps they connect and communicate with a number of groups in a region. They help the Coordinators by offering ideas and experience, and act as a communications conduit from and to IONS and the Member Council. The Regional and International Contacts page has more information.

So, there you have it. We encourage you to “take the plunge” and start a group of your own. We are here ready to help make it, as we said at the beginning, one of the most exciting and rewarding things you will ever do!

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