Week 1 - Introductions

This sample is based on a bimonthly meeting following the school calendar and Liturgical cycle.

The first meeting instructions will be more detailed to help your first meeting go smoothly. You can follow this same structure with the subsequent meetings.

Sit in a circle in a family room or study and be sure to stand for prayer and have an icon present to pray in front of.

September, Meeting # 1 - Introductions and Tea

  • Welcome and briefly explain the sequence of events so they know what to expect. Then transition into introducing the Jesus Prayer.

  • “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

  • This prayer is short and powerful and can be said at all occasions quietly in your heart. This is the prayer that brings the faithful into ceaseless prayer like it says in 1 Thessalonians. Let us practice this prayer so we can clear our minds of distracting thoughts and open ourselves up to God. Now I will read a quote and then we will turn to praying this prayer in our hearts. When you have distracting thoughts, don’t judge them or dwell on them. Just take a breath and begin with the prayer again. Let’s close our eyes and sit with good posture - attentively- as we begin to pray. If you have a prayer rope, now would be a good time to use it. Let us begin.

  • Quote to Reflect on in silent prayer - “We have one sword, the prayer of Jesus. It is said, ‘strike the unseen enemies with this sword, for there is no more powerful weapon either in heaven or on earth.’” - St. Barsanuphius of Optima

  • Sit quietly for about 3 mins. Then, say aloud the Jesus Prayer one more time at the end and open your eyes together. You may take a moment to ask them about their experience. If this is a new practice, it may help for them to hear just how distracted most of us are doing this kind of prayer.

  • Girls’ Group introduction- this group is a special gathering where the leaders are here as mentors to you all in hopes to best support you as you grow into young ladies. We care about you deeply and desire to be available to you. We live in a world so in conflict with the Church’s teachings about what brings true life and true peace and true happiness. May this group be a refuge for you.

  • I want you to be assured that what is spoken about here in confidence is not shared outside the group. We want to ensure that we can trust each other and this group with feelings and ideas close to our our hearts. Can we all commit to keeping the things that happen at Girls Group at Girls Group? Of course, you can share with your parents what topics we discuss here, but let’s not share what other girls in the group say in confidence.

  • We just sat quietly and prayed the Jesus Prayer together. How unlike the world is that? We are constantly busy and distracted and screens seem to be ever around and in front of us. May this time be a break from the phones and a return to connecting to our hearts and to God.

  • Discussion - this group will include a lot of discussion. This is not a time for the leaders to lecture at you. We want to hear from you. That said, let’s make sure we do not interrupt each other when we are speaking and to listen attentively. Being quiet while another is sharing not only a practice in self control but it is a way we show love and respect to the one speaking. Also, let us be careful to discuss things that are honoring of others and not full of gossip. The Holy Scriptures speak of how powerful the tongue is for good and for ill so let us be sure to use our tongue for good. Let us move forward with our topic for the night with these guidelines in mind.

  • Introduce “highs and lows”- this is where each person shares a positive thing from her week or month and a negative. Sometimes girls don’t want to share so they don’t have to. Sometime girls have two highs or no lows - all of this is permissible. Have the leaders go first to model. Be sure to keep them brief though the first few meetings it is appropriate for them to be a bit longer so we can get to know each other. Be sure that no one interrupts each other during this time. They may need to be reminded to not interrupt.

Topic: Tea

  • We will be serving tea tonight and a leader will first model how we serve the tea. What do you know about tea? Do you like it? What have you tried? What don’t you like?

  • Have a leader serve tea. Offer two kinds if possible. And for this first night, it would be delightful to include scones.

  • Explain what tea is and how many women’s monasteries offer tea to all their guests and often in china cups. Explain what steeping is and how long to do it for. Offer sugar or honey and cream if it is not a fasting day. Ask them what they think of the tea and what they taste. Compare how the two teas taste.

  • Nice quote about tea - “Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings” Letitia Baldrige

  • Be sure to distribute journals and have them write their names inside them. Keep them at the home of the hostess. Close in prayer and dismiss or have small talk.

  • Finish with them writing some reflections down in their journals and praying together.