Circle of Friends has become so popular as a name that everyone is using it. Methodist Children’s Home is using it as a fundraiser for the children who live there, special needs groups who have started a bakery use it, a school in Houston uses it. Since we have a Circle of Friends group at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, those words are attention getters for me. My conclusion about his term is one of radical welcome that says, “Come into our Circle.” This circle is a friendly place, and, in the case of Chapelwood’s Circle of Friends, we say it’s where everyone is a star.
With a slight variation on the words, the term reminds me of the poem “Outwitted” by Edwin Markham that says in part regarding people on the outside, “But love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle and took him in!”
One thing I like about “Circle of Friends” is that the circles overlap, so persons with special needs are more and more included in more and more groups and more and more classes and more and more mixed recreational events.
What to do you say to a person with a disability? “Hi, My name is ______. What’s yours?” Then you can invite, “Come on in to my circle.”