Holiness in our Midst: Session 90

Holiness in our Midst


Story Circle Prompt: What small groups energize or enhance your current life?

Because this question comes to me as I’m taking inventory of my life, something I do every Ash Wednesday, it takes on more seriousness. Today happens to be the first day of Lent, Feb. 26, 2020. This year, as a Lenten focus, it seems a worthwhile endeavor to prayerfully name and reflect on the groups that enrich my life. 

First, I note that Jesus himself was an aficionado of small groups: calling together disciples; dining frequently with Mary, Martha and Lazarus; and hanging out with raucous and fun-loving bands of outcastes. Thus, the holy significance of small groups is reinforced in my mind.

Next, I pause to review my first experience with small groups. Circles of belonging have enriched and informed my days, ever since I was part of a cell group at LaSalle Street Church in downtown Chicago in the early Eighties. Several of us met every Tuesday evening for over three years. There I began a life-long friendship with my friend Linda. She and I have checked in with each other every Ash Wednesday for more than 30 years. (In fact, I contacted her this morning…) I remember other life-enhancing small groups, including hunger and housing coalitions and collaborations, spiritual growth gatherings and Sunday school classes, and college and special interest courses.

Today, I am energized and fed by less formal but still valuable small groups:


  • My work team is a source of quiet emotional support in a physically demanding environment. I am a culinary server at an assisted living center several evenings a week.
  • Beginning many mornings by reading my newspapers, eating my breakfast special, and conversing with the waitresses and the other patrons makes me a regular at Niland’s Café in Colo, IA.
  • I help create events as a co-leader of the Women’s Gathering at First Christian Church in Ames, IA.
  • A collaboration of faith groups bands together to provide emergency food, rent, and gas to those in need. I am on the Board of Directors of this non-profit called Good Neighbor in Ames.
  • As many Saturday mornings as possible, I am part of the neighborly Cambridge Coffee Club at the Cambridge (IA) Public Library. Community members of all political stripes gather to share about the books we’ve been reading. Like a book-centered adult show and tell!


In the naming, I realize I often take for granted these sweet sources of support and my circle of significant friends/family who also soften the bumps and bruises of everyday living. Instead of eating more leafy vegetables or consuming less chocolate this Lenten season, I believe I’ll concentrate on strengthening these ties the next 40 days. I think Jesus would be pleased. 


  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, explore the following: Remember a small group that enhanced your life. When were you involved? How did it energize you? Is it ongoing? 


  1.   Read aloud Session XC.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt. 

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

No comments yet

Comments are closed