Churches are often considered safe places. In fact, our main place of worship is called a Sanctuary. Though some of us do find church and the people who make it up a refuge, many people who come seeking safety or comfort find it difficult to connect to that aspect of our community. What can be done about this? How can we be more aware, more welcoming in order to help these folks connect?
Several months ago, SUMC member Amy Barnett, asked these very questions. And how did she respond? When we spoke to Amy recently, she told us how she had a heart to connect with the unconnected, to create a space, a caring, and safe place, for women to connect and share in their faith journey. Circling up some chairs in one of our preschool classrooms and placing a simple sign by the door, Amy reached out in kindness and invited any woman who was interested to join her. And thus the Jesus Calling Sisterhood was born!
What started as a weekly on-campus Sunday school class, has blossomed into a small group that meets at a member’s home nearby. This connection has grown into an active ‘text small group’ where members connect daily. Suzanne Honeycutt describes their group, "Each day the participants in this SS class read the daily devotion from Jesus Calling. Often it hits a note that initiates a group message to all of the members. That encourages us to either read it or go back ad read it with a new perspective."
In addition to discussing the daily text, member share prayer requests, encouragement for each other, and even reach out when help is needed. Jesus called Amy Barnett to step out in faith and open her heart to women who were looking for a space. Suzanne Honeycutt opens her home to share her gift of hospitality with group attendees. Together, along with the members, they open themselves to how Jesus is calling them to connect with Him and each other as they grow in grace and faith.
Here are what some members have to say about their time with the group:
“Sunday mornings I have been blessed with a brief refuge among ladies that seek service, give support and strive to see through a lens of love and acceptance. I always leave with more than I enter… Thank you Jesus.” HC
“Jesus is calling and we are listening. We are brave and transparent. We share our burdens and triumphs.” CS
“Strengthening women through God’s loving Word.” ST
“This class is very inclusive and inviting to visitors. It makes the Bible current and a joy to share.” BB
“We laugh a lot!” SH
Love, lots of prayer, even more laughter. This is small group. This is sanctuary. This is sharing the Savior with others.
Want to find out more about the Jesus Calling Sisterhood? Contact Amy Barnett (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Suzanne Honeycutt (email@example.com).