We joined our church more than twenty-five years ago. As we were leaving that first Sunday, Carol pulled me over to a group of women who had gathered. "You want to do this," she told me. So I stayed to find out what it was that I wanted to do.
The women's organization of the church is broken into Circles that meet monthly. Generally the group is relatively homogeneous age-wise, but not always. There are day groups and evening groups. I was being invited to join a group that met on the fourth Monday evening of each month. I did join, and have hardly ever missed a meeting in twenty-five years. Circle became something sacred on the calendar. When the kids were little, Circle was one of the few things I did -- not because I was Tom's, Sherry's and Andrew's mom, or because I was Joe's wife -- for myself. Circles are named for women of the Bible, and my group is called Deborah, after a wise woman who served as a judge in Israel back in Old Testament times.
Each month we have basic elements to the meeting: The devotions, the business, the topic, and the refreshments. We take turns covering these and we take turns spending a year or two as the leader of the Circle.
At the September meeting we draw names for Secret Sisters. Then, throughout the year, we pray for our Secret Sister. We send her greeting cards. We remember her birthday and Christmas with small gifts. And throughout the year, when we go through difficult times, we are comforted by knowing that some secret person from Circle is also praying for us. And here's the interesting thing: Unlike many groups of Secret Sisters or Secret Pals, we never reveal who had who!
I love the September meeting! I think everyone does. We start with a potluck dinner, usually at my house, and impatiently get through the business until it is time for Elaine to pass around the basket with the names and we find out who we will pray for during the coming year. This time I drew a name that I have not had before. After all of these years together, one would think we would know practically everything about each other. But not so! This year I will take pleasure in getting to know Someone secretly in a new way. What fun this is going to be!