Circle of Congregations Information Page

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The Circle of Congregations is a 2-year project of the Church Services division of All Belong and supported by Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. It encompasses approximately 30 hand-picked congregations from around the U.S. already using innovative practices to include people of all abilities. Each congregation is participating in the following ways:

  • Two representatives from each congregation attending a consultation event in November of 2019 and 2020 where networking, training, inspiration and discussion fill 2.5 days at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Each congregation committed to learning with and from one another through:
    • Interest groups where a focus topic unites discussion and innovation, leading to the group compiling and creating resources in that topic area.
    • Presentations and resources provided by All Belong on specific topics (at the November events and online)
    • Sharing best practices from the congregations (such as in presentations to the public, articles and blog posts, and making materials available online)

Each congregation comes with a unique perspective, background, cultural experience and setting, filling the project with richness. It is our hope that this project fuels innovative inclusion of persons of all abilities in congregations everywhere.

2020 Circle of Congregations Event

2020 Virtual Gathering: Videos of each and every segment of the Gathering all in one place!

Online Event

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EST

12 pm EST – 9 am PST, 5 pm GMT

We begin!

Introduction, by Victoria White, Elizabeth Dombrowski

Devotions by Rev. Dr. LaTonya Penny

Prayer by Sharon Ryder, MDiv

Worship 

  1. Unity of the Spirit (Carlos Colon) of CICW  
  2. Let Us Be Known (Abby Dingus), a favorite of Barbara Newman
  3. All Creatures of Our God and King (Trinity Presbyterian Church Worship Team)

12:20 pm EST – 9:20 am PST, 5:20 pm GMT

A conversation with Dr. John Swinton

Dr. John Swinton, a former member of the AHRC panel review committee, the British and Irish Association of Practical Theology, the International Academy of Practical Theology, and the American Academy of Religion. He is also a member of the Scottish Association of Healthcare Chaplains and a registered member of the NMC. (Nursing and Midwifery Council). John sits on the National Board of Social Responsibility within the national Church of Scotland and the local boards of mission and ministry. An editor of the Journal of Health and Social Care Chaplaincy. He is a former editor of Contact: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Pastoral Studies (Contact (Now re-titled Practical Theology) is the leading journal of practical theology within the United Kingdom). He was the founding editor of the Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplains. John also sits on the editorial board of various other leading pastoral journals in Britain and the United States including The Journal of Religion, Disability and HealthContact, The Scottish Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, The Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy. His latest book is Finding Jesus in the Storm: The Spiritual Lives of Christians with Mental Health Challenges. 

1:20 pm EST – 10:20am PST, 6:20 GMT 

Summaries of Interest Groups from 2019-20presentations of Collaborative Projects for 2020-21!

Interest Group Topics Include:  

  • Trauma 
  • Mental health 
  • Adults 
  • Children & youth 
  • Challenging Behaviors 

Upcoming Collaborative Projects Include: 

  • 10 Dimensions of Belonging Sermon Series 
  • Inclusive virtual worship conference 
  • Adult small groups training 
  • Inclusive worship best practices: standards for denominations/multi-campus churches 
  • Supports for inclusive worship within Latin American, African American, and Asian American contexts 
  • Shredded cheese for all the projects: keeping us trauma-informed and addressing mental health challenges 

2 pm EST – 11 am PST, 7 pm GMT 

Discussion Groups

Discussion groups in order to learn more about the Circle of Congregations 2021 Collaborative Projects.

See Descriptions of the Projects for videos of these brief discussion times (30 min.s each)

Archived Event Resources

2019 Resources