Starting Kairos small groups throughout Southern Africa

SMALL KAIROS GROUPS: some guidelines

All Kairos groups – and those groups who associate with
Kairos Southern Africa – should:

  1. Reject all forms or  racism, sexism, classism, and phobias such as homophobia,

Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, etc.

  1. Seek God’s face especially
    in the most oppressed, poor and marginalised.

Different kinds of Kairos groups:

We need to think about the different kinds of Kairos groups
that could be formed. What it is called is not important, but it is important
that it follows an action-reflection or see-judge-act method AND that it
attempts to network with other such groups:

  1. It is possible to have a once-off discussion at a church about a particular
    topic where the see-judge-act or action-reflection method is followed, to write
    it up and to send it to Kairos Southern Africa for consideration. One example
    of this could be an evening on the Palestine-Israel question where the DVD
    Occupation 101 is shown and people break up into small groups to discuss what
    they have seen and share their reflections afterwards. The small groups might
    be encouraged to continue but there might not be another such big group
    discussion for a while or if there is, it might be about another topic. The
    good thing about this is that there is no pressure upfront to meet again.
  2. The second possibility is to have a group of students who meet at regular intervals
    on campus to discuss a particular topic. This might evolve into something more
    permanent or it could remain a once-off or adhoc reflection-action group.
  3. The third possibility is to have a group who meets regularly at a house. This could
    be once a week or once a month and it could be an ecumenical group or one that
    is based in a particular congregation and that then invite other people to
    join.
  4. Then, a geographical group (within a municipality) could also meet on a regular
    basis.
  5. An interfaith group could also be a Kairos group. There needs to be a high level
    of sensitivity and knowledge and respect for different religions to be able to
    talk from the different faith perspectives on a particular topic. A topic such
    as corruption could easily be discussed in a group like this.
  6. A completely open group, where people of faith and those of no faith could also
    be a Kairos group.
  7. “Seasonal groups”: Some groups might want to meet for only a specified period of time, eg
    LENT, PENTECOST or ADVENT.
  8. Time and age groups: Some groups might only want to meet at certain times (eg. “I
    cannot come to meetings in the evenings”) while some might only want to meet
    with young people.
  9. Language groups: Some people might only feel comfortable speaking in a particular
    language and while as much cohesion as possible should be encouraged, this
    possibility should not be excluded. People should be able to meet in groups to
    interact in the language in which they “dream”.
  10. Place-bound groups: Some people are bound to a certain place for a period of time eg. in a
    prison, and some Kairos groups should be allowed to meet in certain places.
  11. Gender groups: Some groups might feel that it is important to meet in particular gender
    groups to discuss issues that are common to the members of that group.

Challenges:

  1. If the distances between people are too far, then transport is definitely a
    challenge.
  2. If it is an ecumenical or interfaith group, the group leader must be skilled to ensure
    that everyone feels welcome and must have a respect for all denominations.
  3. If it is a group that also includes those who explicitly regards themselves as
    humanists/non-believers, then that needs to be managed as well.

Questions:

  1. What about “virtual groups”? This should be discouraged as far as possible, unless
    it is across borders, since human interactions, being in the same “breath”
    space, is important for the building of human relationships.
  2. Resources? Kairos SA can develop resources for groups to discuss.
  3. Training of group leaders? This needs to be done by Kairos SA although there are many
    people who are already trained and we should identify these individuals as the
    initial leaders.

Do’s and dont’s:

  1. Kairos groups must be inclusive of everyone who wants to be part and no-one must feel
    excluded or marginalised. In a group where the majority speak one particular
    language, a person who is not acquainted with that language must be included
    either by translations or by the whole group speaking a particular language.
  2. No-one must be allowed to dominate to such an extent that the others feel that they
    will not come back to a next meeting. For dealing with such people, the leaders
    must be fully trained and firmly ask the person not to say anything until
    everyone else has had a chance to speak.

SUGGESTIONS

  1. The Gospel reading for the coming Sunday could be the guiding text for those who
    wish to start meeting immediately.
  2. Once a group with the above intentions are formed, please inform Edwin Arrison at

earrison78@telkomsa.net so that we can know what is happening and where,

and so that we can connect you with other groups in your area.

  1. The blogspot www.kairossouthernafrica.wordpress.com
    will be the hub where information will be shared until a website has been
    launched. There is already some liturgical material, prayers, etc on this
    blogspot.
  2. If you have any more comments to strengthen this document, please send it to Edwin
    on email and it can be incorporated in a future document.
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