Circles Orientation and Training Is Being Offered Oct. 17 and 18

August 09, 2012

Walking in Solidarity with the Poor

By Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats
Co-Chair, Conference Committee on Children and Poverty
Three years ago, First United Methodist Church of Carson City, Nevada joined in one of the first pilot programs of "Circles" in the country. The congregation, consisting largely of middle class people, no longer just does things for the poor, but congregation members actually befriend and walk with poor families in their struggle to break the cycle of poverty.
Ministry with the poor is one of four current priorities (Areas of Focus) of The United Methodist Church.
The Circles approach, which depends on allying church folks with poor families over a two- to three-year period, is proving to be one of the most effective approaches to ending poverty. The General Conference and the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) is promoting Circles as a key future direction for churches to be engaged with the poor in their communities, and it is of keen interest to our bishop.
A hand up, not a handout
Most churches provide assistance for poor hardworking families, but fewer actually befriend and walk with the poor. Using Circles, your congregation can provide life-skills training, networks, relationships, and mutual problem solving to break generational poverty.
Learn how this system works and how your congregation can introduce Circles into your community, at an orientation and training Wed.-Thur., Oct. 17 and 18, 2012, at First UMC of Carson City, sponsored by the California-Nevada Annual Conference Committee on Children and Poverty.
Hands-on training
In this hands-on approach, participants will join in the weekly Circles meeting. Participants will meet "Circle Leaders" and hear stories from hardworking poor families, about how they are moving out of poverty. Participants also will meet "allies," who work with these families to unblock situations keeping them from their goals. Local training facilitators and board members of the Capital City Circles Initiative will share their roles in the process. The National Training Director of the Circles National Campaign will explain how congregations can initiate Circles in their community. Annual Conference representatives will be there to offer assistance and guidance.
There is no cost for the training. Participants will be responsible for their own travel and lodging (if applicable), however.
For more information, contact us here at FUMC Carson City, at 775.882.1436.
Download packet here (includes flyer, schedule, and letter from the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats).