A Methodist church circle is a social group founded around a particular interest or group population. Most often, women create the circles, although some United Methodist churches also offer circles for men, children and teenagers. A circle member may choose a circle because of its focus, such as a circle focused on participating in service projects or doing crafts. She may also choose the circle based on her time availability or whether the circle offers childcare.
Book Study Circles
A book study circle can select a specific book of the Bible or a modern book, such as Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life," Neil Donald Walsh's "Conversations with God" or "Bad Girls of the Bible" by Liz Curtis Higgs. Members meet once or twice per month to study the book; they may also participate in special activities, such as potlucks, washing the linens in the nursery or maintaining the church library. Group members may rotate facilitating the book study between members or have one individual responsible for the task. The group could meet at the church or in the home of a member.
United Methodist Women service circles often form around a specific gift of service to the church. Ruth's group program could minister to the older women in the church who live in nursing homes or are home bound. Abigail's circle may provide food to church members in crisis, such as those who have lost a family member or are recuperating from surgery or an injury. These circles often take their name and program focus from a woman in the Bible who exemplifies their service task. Martha's circle, for example, could take on tasks at the church -- such as serving at church banquets -- to exemplify Martha's focus in Luke 10:38 to 42.
United Methodist Women craft circles may form to create banners and altar vestments for the church. Monthly programs bring members together to work on the items, talk and share their faith. The church may purchase the kits for the banners or altar cloths, or the circle members may purchase and create the items as a part of their gift to the church. Crafting enthusiasts could also create gift baskets and baked goods for church and circle fundraisers.
Men's circles can elect to study the Bible together, unite to provide free labor for church maintenance and provide accountability support for the circle members. Youth circle members can study and attend group activities together. They might also get involved in service projects, such as lawn care for shut-ins or youth outreach. Children's circles may grow out of the Sunday school or Vacation Bible School programs; they may offer summer activities for kids.
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