Summer Snapshot: Sisters in Discipleship
The McFarlin chapter of United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women) has always made their small groups a core part of their ministry here. This summer we sat down with Circle Five to ask them a few questions about why they prioritize this weekly gathering of fellowship, prayer and spiritual growth.
Why is your small group an important part of your life?
Eileen: I’m the newest member of the circle, just retired in April and finally have time to do things like this and it has meant so much to me to find a group of women that I can share things with and learn from.
Frankie: I didn’t have sisters here and after I joined and through all this growth together, I feel like you are my sisters and I think we all feel that way.
Maureen: When someone new joins us we make sure they know this is a safe space. What is said in the circle stays in the circle. We want people to feel safe sharing things that they may not want to be shared outside our group. That’s been one of our mottos.
Judy: Sometimes I can hardly wait if I have something to share or a prayer concern. This is a group I can go to with my concerns.
Charlotte: You know you’re not alone no matter what’s going on. When my husband died, Jane called and asked if the church should supply dinner before the service and I told her no need, because the women in this group, who are also part of my Sunday school class, would take care of us like family.
How do these women encourage you to grow deeper in your faith in Jesus?
Eileen: They challenge me, they ask questions, make me think and grow my faith.
Charlotte: When people bring up the things in their lives, and I see how others are dealing with it in their faith, that encourages me. And a lot of times they can be strong and so comforting through things and it’s just their faith and connection with Jesus shines through that.
Maureen: We feel so comfortable talking together and we’ve been focusing a lot on Jesus.
Carol: We’re jokingly known as the prayer warriors. If you have a prayer need, bring it to us and we’ll pray very seriously about it. And a lot of times it really does make a difference.
Frankie: I remember a sermon that said “If we want to look more like Jesus, we have to spend time with Jesus and act like Jesus.” I think for me that sums it up, because isn’t that what we’re here for? To be one of Jesus’ disciples and every day of our life as much as we possibly can?
How does spending time with your larger church family impact your life?
Frankie: For me, coming to church surrounds me with present day saints and gives me more of a peaceful feeling and a feeling of love. Because let’s face it our outside world feels like utter chaos right now, so coming to church being surrounded by other Christians just steadies my life and reassures me that life is going to be okay because there is love, and then that love goes out into the world.
Carol: We were watching online during Covid and had hooked up our laptop to the TV and were watching with our coffee and tea. But the first time we got to come back, I told Pastor Rockford I’ve never had a minister make me cry like that. It was just wonderful to hear the organ play, you were just surrounded by the music. To see him in the pulpit as a real person with humor and emotions, he came alive to me. I was just so grateful to be back.
Sharon: Specifically this year, we’re grateful to be out of Covid for the most part, so grateful to be back in service and back meeting as a circle in person. Meeting regularly keeps us together. You need to come to church for yourself, for one, because this is your accountability group and discuss feelings and learn. But you also come to church to set an example for others and to be an encourager to others who are in that sanctuary that see you every Sunday.