Gather People Together
URI Cooperation Circles welcome and honor diversity. Each group has a minimum of 7 members, which includes people from at least 3 different religions, spiritual expressions, or Indigenous traditions.
Begin with people you already know. Then extend your invitation to include people from different religions, spiritual expressions, or Indigenous traditions.
If you already belong to a group you think might benefit from becoming a Cooperation Circle, plan a time to introduce them to URI. Ask them to consider how they might benefit and how they might contribute.
Reflect on URI’s Preamble, Purpose and Principles
When the potential Cooperation Circle members are gathered, read URI’s Preamble, Purpose and Principles aloud. Reflect upon what is inspiring, significant, or challenging. When in your life have you been part of something that reflected the values expressed in these words? How might your group embody these principles?
Appreciate Each Other’s Abilities and Values
Begin by getting to know each other. An Appreciative Interview is one way for people to bring their hopes, values, experiences, and talents to the circle:
Invite people to form pairs, engaging in appreciative dialogue from the following prompts:
1. Insights from important interfaith encounters: As the world gets smaller, most of us experience more and more encounters with people from other spiritual traditions or religions. Can you share a story of an interfaith encounter that was especially memorable or meaningful, where you were surprised or humbled, where there was a genuine experience of respect or friendship?
2. Experience with cooperative action: We have all been part of efforts where we have joined with others and brought dreams of a better world into being. Reflect on a high point in your life experience, a time when you were involved in something significant or meaningful, when visions of a better world were actually brought into being. Please share a story about how this experience unfolded.
3. Vision of a better world: Cast your thoughts about thirty years into the future. Even though the future is in many ways a mystery, begin to visualize the kind of world you feel you are being called to realize, a better world, a world you really want. What do you see in your vision of a better world?
4. Interfaith cooperation: Imagine ways that interfaith cooperation can help create a better world. What might happen in your local community when people of different faith traditions work together? Imagine how your work, linked to a global network, might serve as a force for good in the world. What would you do to make this vision come alive through action?
COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
If you have questions about the application process, contact Maria Crespo.
Meet the eligibility requirements:
Cooperation Circles (CCs) have a minimum of 7 members. CCs welcome and honor diversity. CCs include people from at least 3 different religions, spiritual expressions, or Indigenous traditions. Individuals, associations and organizations can join a Cooperation Circle.
Decide the name and purpose of your Cooperation Circle.
Create a focused statement that reflects your group’s unique sense of purpose. What is the primary reason for your group to gather?
Decide who will participate in the CC.
The URI welcomes diversity and includes voices that are not often heard. What diversity will your CC reflect? How many people will participate? Will you invite organizations to participate as well as individuals?
Choose the decision-making processes.
Cooperation Circles have a right to self-organize. Their deliberations and decisions must be made by methods that fairly represent the diversity of affected interests and are not dominated by any. Discuss the ways your group would like decisions to be made. What processes will your CC use to make decisions?
Discuss rights and responsibilities of members listed in the Charter.
Share any questions or needs for clarification your group has about rights and responsibilities.
Give a gift to the worldwide URI community.
CCs have the responsibility to help meet their own needs and help meet the needs of other parts of the worldwide URI community. CCs are asked to make either a financial gift or a contribution of service. Discuss what kind of gift your CC would like to offer.
Apply to the URI Global Council for membership.
Application forms to become a Cooperation Circle member are available from URI website or from regional and global offices.