Why Wesley?: Kristen Dean Grossman

Because of “the circle.”

The circle is—
small groups–
The parenting group I began attending at Wesley
at the invitation of the senior minister,
soon after first visiting 22 years ago.
And since then,
Bible studies,
Book studies,
Sunday School,
Breakfast Club,
Covenant Group,
United Methodist Women,
Clusters of people chatting over coffee
in Watseka Lounge after worship,
leaving a space open for anyone to join in.

The circle is–
Being in community with people of all ages,
At different points along our faith journey,
Working together to bring about God’s kingdom here on Earth,
sharing our faith and experiences, our resources, our strengths.
It is being with people who knew me as a young woman
Now middle-aged, on the way to growing old.
It is the circle of life as babies are born,
Grow up, and leave home, like mine,
and beloved old ones die, and we the church
Come together to remember, mourn, celebrate
And hold one another up.

The circle is—
the natural flow of people
through this campus church family
as the years go round and round.
School years begin and end,
Families move in and move on,
New students come, graduating students leave,
(The way, for instance, one student graduated after 5 years
of working and praying and studying and loving among us
And it grieved us to see her go,
But this Fall, we welcome a new student
In her same field even, from New York State, like her.)

The circle is—
communion around the altar rail,
Around God’s Table,
Looking across and into the faces of church family,
It is the ring of people in prayer, holding the hand of those
To your left and your right.
The rule of the circle is this:
It is defined by its center.
Jesus is our center.
As the hymn says:

“Draw the circle wide;
draw it wider still.
Let this be our song!
No one stands alone.
Standing side by side,
draw the circle,
draw the circle wide!”