We love hearing from our Friends around the world! We had the pleasure of talking with Betty, a Friendship Group leader at First CRC in Guelph, Ontario. Whether you’re thinking about starting your own group at church or you just need some fresh ideas, we hope our conversation will serve as encouragement and inspiration in your own disability ministry journey.
How long has your Friendship Group been together?
Maybe 25 years? I have been coordinating for 4 years.
How many members are in your group?
21 friends and 15 mentors.
How often do you meet?
Once a week.
What does a typical Friendship Group meeting look like?
At 6:30pm we start with hot chocolate and cookies. Then, we sing and pray at 6:50 until 7:10pm. At this time, we begin the study which is followed by one-on-on time. Finally, we sing our closing song at around 8:00pm.
What are some ways that you have made everyone in your group feel like they belong?
We wear matching t-shirts and pass out name tags.
How have you seen your Friendship Group affect your church and vice versa?
Our yearly special service brings the church and the Friendship Group together, which is a highlight for both!
Which study has been your favorite?
We have done many of the TOGETHER materials and have enjoyed them all. It’s hard to say a favourite!
What advice do you have for future Friendship Group leaders?
You need to have a strong team! Our Friends love routine but it’s also important to introduce new things.
Lastly, we’re going to share a story that Betty sent us last year. We hope this little anecdote sheds light on the flourishing fellowship of their Friendship Group. Betty writes:
“We are doing the Pray.!? study and have started doing a circle prayer with our friends. Wow, have they taught us how to pray! One person prayed ‘Lord I don’t know why I’m having this pain but if you are trying to teach me something please help me to listen to you!’ They have embraced this study with open arms. They are so open and compassionate with each other. They are so eager to pray for the mentors as well. I feel so blessed to be part of this ministry.”
Need some fresh ideas to shake things up at your Friendship Group meetings? Check out these tips here.