Thank you for registering to participate in Affinity Circles. This pilot series is part of a larger program of the Presbytery of San Francisco’s Dismantling Structural Racism commitment.
These two sessions of Affinity Circles are designed as part of the doctoral work of Rev. Ruth T. West. Participants will be gathered to experience contemplative and reflective spiritual practices and personal narrative sharing to help develop the content of future small groups that are aimed at supporting persons involved in ongoing anti-racism work. Each group session will last no more than two hours.
Your participation is completely voluntary and can cease at any time. Any data collected will be protected by a process that will report information anonymously and confidentially. By submitting (clicking “submit”) this survey and the post-series survey, you are giving your consent to participate. Survey questions have been placed after the following description of this pilot series.
What will happen if you participate in this pilot series
- A brief plenary information session will precede the small group experience. The information given here will inform the topic prompted in the small group time. The goal of the information and subsequent practices is to deepen self-awareness and support resiliency in order to lessen the stress of ongoing anti-racism work.
- A small group facilitator will be assigned to your group by me (Rev Ruth T West). This person will have been instructed by me on how to present the content of the group experience. I will debrief with the facilitator after the small group session is over and will never ask for names associated with whatever summary the facilitator presents.
- You will be informed of the covenant of double confidentiality (confidentiality is maintained at all times whether in the present group experience or later in the broader context of community) for every group encounter. This means your story will always be your story. After the small group experience, you may share your story as you feel appropriate and at your initiation only.
- Opening and closing prayers may be offered.
- You will be included in a spiritual practice and asked to share your thoughts or experience about it. This spiritual practice may include Scripture from the Christian Bible. The specific details of what you share will not be given to me.
- You will be invited to contemplate certain life events or experiences (personal narratives) unique to you and then asked to share anything about that event or experience you feel comfortable sharing. Feelings of discomfort and/or resurfacing of painful memories may happen.
- You may receive feedback (mirroring, noticing) from other group members, at your request, about how you shared your personal narrative but not about its specific content e.g. “I noticed your legs were shaking the whole time you were sharing your story,” “I got the sense it took courage for you to share.”
- You will be invited to engage in a general conversation about how you engaged with the spiritual practices and the contemplative exercise.
- You may be given resources that will help you create your own spiritual care routine e.g Book titles, articles, or recommendations for self-care that include embodied experiences (breathing).
- You will be invited to submit an evaluation that will be posted online and collected by Presbytery support staff. Responses from this evaluation will be given to me without any identifying information present.
- Small group facilitators will meet with me at least once before the start of a small group session for instructions on how to present the content of the spiritual practice and contemplation experience. We will also meet once after each session. I will ask for their general perception of how the logistics of the group meeting went and to share their personal experience as a spiritual director.
Protecting your privacy
People who participate in this study will not be identified in any report or publication about this study. Although every effort will be made to keep the research records private, there may be times when federal or state law requires the disclosure of such records, including personal information. This is unlikely to happen, but if disclosure is required, the investigator will take whatever steps are allowable by law to protect the privacy of your personal information. In some cases, your information in this research study could be reviewed by representatives of the University of Redlands, research sponsors, or government agencies for purposes such as quality control or safety.
What will happen if you experience any problems or discomforts during or after your participation
It is possible that there are unknown risks or discomforts. Please report any problems immediately to the researcher.
Anything you do, including participating in research, carries with it some chance that something problematic or unwanted may happen. Although the researcher may direct you to medical, psychological, or other services, any costs related to such problems are your or your insurance company’s responsibility.
Compensation for participating in this pilot series
Questions about this pilot series
You may ask and have answered any question about the research. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact Rev Ruth T West, or Jennifer Sacramento-Streett,
Questions or concerns about the investigators, staff members, and your participation in the pilot series
This study was approved by the University of Redlands Institutional Review Board (IRB). This board tries to ensure that your rights and welfare are protected if you choose to participate in the study. If you have any questions about your role or how you were treated by the research personnel, you may contact the Chair of the IRB at or by telephone at 909-748-8469.
Please complete survey form below.