About Circle of Hope

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Who we are

We are a circle of hope centered around Jesus Christ. A movement of people called to reconciliation that grow together in love and spread throughout our region and beyond.

Our constant aim is to explore and express God’s love. We aren’t perfect, but rely on God and each other to create an environment where people can connect with God and act for redemption.

We believe

Our faith can’t be boiled down to bite-sized beliefs, but here’s some things we hope you discover among us, spoken by members of our body.

Not everyone has to believe the same thing for us to be together. Jesus is at the center and he makes space for everyone. It's not easy but it looks like love.

Tricia Fussaro

Our goal is to build a real relationship with our community. That means listening and giving them a space to express their anger, their sadness, their hopes. It’s also working with our neighbors to create a community that provides jobs, family-friendly spaces, and above all, a sense of belonging.

Iboro Umana

I finally found authentic resurrection people!!! We're more interested in compassion than condemnation.

Anita Brown

As a gay man, I found it difficult to find a church that truly lived out the radical teachings of Jesus. Here in Circle of Hope, they acted in Christ's hospitality, living out his commandments. I've found a community in which I can grow, lead, and rest.

Andrew Williams

Living a communal life in Circle of Hope has helped me grow deeper in my relationship with Jesus and others. I’ve experienced and seen how God heals our wounds through relationships with one another. Circle Counseling has helped me to reflect and face my fears, learn new spiritual practices and how to live in trust.

Jimmy Weitzel

Convictions that drive us

These “proverbs” describe our character. They continue to evolve as the Holy Spirit guides us. They express something of what fuels us, how we see God refining us and shaping us, and how we want to live in light of the Bible and in tune with the Spirit of Jesus in our here and now.

Jesus is best revealed incarnationally + -
  • The Church exists for those yet to join.
  • We receive the “Great Commission” (Matt 28:18-20). Any believer, who is not doing their part in the “family business” of redeeming the world, is missing the point of their ongoing existence.
  • Following the example of Paul, we have a 20/20 vision of ministry, teaching one another “publicly,” and from “house to house” (Acts 20:20).
  • Our deliberate attempts to make disciples are “incarnational,” friend to friend, so we accept that what we do will almost never be instant.
  • People should be skeptical if our message does not originate from a community that demonstrates the love of Christ.
  • When individualism rules the culture, being the church is countercultural.
  • Life in Christ is one whole cloth. As we participate in and love “the world,” we bring redemption from the kingdom of God to our society. Jesus is lord of all, so we have repented of separating “sacred” and “secular.”
  • We are “world Christians,” members of the transnational body of Christ; concerned with every person we can touch with truth and love.
  • Our church honors and affirms LGBTQIA folks as beloved siblings — in covenant, in marriage, and leadership.
  • Those among us from “traditional” Christian backgrounds are dying to our precious memories of “church” in order to bring the gospel into the present with great flexibility.
  • Words of wisdom and knowledge are given in many ways, but always within accountable relationships.
  • We intend to keep all the great things God has given through the church of the past and be totally at home in our own time, ready and able to relate to the people of our day.
  • Like any healthy organism, we grow. So we are always preparing to birth a new cell, plant the next congregation and generate the next venture of compassionate service.
  • Following the Spirit is risky business, calm seas do not make good sailors.
  • To have a full relationship with God, one must live in an environment where worship can be learned, the spiritual disciplines gained and spiritual warfare fought.
  • Prayer is the key to fulfilling our mission of transformation.
  • Solitude and silence are crucial tools for experiencing God’s presence.
  • Without worship, a person shrinks.
  • Accepting failure and moving on in hope is basic to living in the grace of God.
  • How we relate sexually is a spiritual, communal matter and can’t be reduced purely to a discussion of private expression or individual rights.
  • As the world pulls us toward “virtual” we will keep struggling to live rooted, in real time.
  • The Bible should be known and followed, and that is a group project.
  • Jesus is the lens through which we read the Bible.
  • The truth in and from Jesus is revealed in many ways: through the Bible, through the members of the body, through the creation, through the Holy Spirit.
  • Being successful is faithfully following the teaching of scripture according to one’s ability and one’s role in the body.
  • We are discipled for mission, not just for personal growth.
  • We learn best person to person, not program to person.
  • In the postmodern era it is even more important to speak the truth in love, and a love in Christ.
  • We hope compassion is among the first things people notice about us.
  • We are united in demonstrating the gospel by acting for justice, not merely talking about it.
  • We are obliged to speak out against unjust laws and practices that oppress people and ruin creation.
  • We do not generally hand out resources; we extend a resourceful hand.
  • In the United States the sin of racism impacts all we experience. It is a fact of life for which the dominators are accountable.
  • Our compassion teams and mission teams have the “right to die,” that is, they are not obligated to create a permanent program with interchangeable participants.
  • In a culture deformed by violence, proactive peacemaking transforms our individual fears and faithfully witnesses to the Prince of Peace like nothing else.
  • Claim your capacity, friend. You are no longer condemned to rely on justice granted by the Great Other.
  • Wealth and power reduce sympathy for the poor and powerless. A marriage between unfettered capitalism and piety makes the Lord’s words inconvenient at best and heretical at worst.
  • We abide by the “Great Commandment” (John 13:34-5). Self-giving love loosens the truth locked in our desires.
  • Our cells are the basic components of our living body in Christ. In them, Jesus is our “agenda.”
  • Our cells are the primary place where we help one another grow as disciples, face to face.
  • Living in covenant, like a family with a common Father, is basic to being a Christian.
  • The Love Feast is us being a unified people, a family reunion, and celebration of being knit together as one church.
  • The church is not a “thing” that does things; it is not a building. We are the church and we support one another as Jesus expresses himself through us.
  • A congregation and a cell are always larger and deeper than their meeting or meeting place.
  • We are living as a created organism, not creating a religious organization.
  • We are called to develop a trust system.
  • When we talk about accountability, we are talking about mutually helping one another fulfill what we have already agreed to be or do.
  • Forming cells and teams is a basic way we keep learning how to express who we are and what we do as people called into a new community in Christ.
  • Parents have the unique privilege of creating a family where grace and truth may be known. The church surrounds them with support and everyone plays a part in each child’s protection and growth.
  • Our community is based on our ongoing dialogue not law, on mutuality not rights, on self-giving love not mere tolerance.
  • It’s better to be reconciled than to be right.
  • Our LGBTQIA siblings offer us a special gift by challenging assumptions about gender and relationships. We seek to be a community where each person can express their authentic selves in Christ. We are enriched as a community when each of us can be open about who we are.
  • Everyone is recovering from the sin addiction; expect conflict.
  • God’s grace leads us through the danger and opportunity of conflict; we can be affirming and assertive, concerned with relationships and goals.
  • Forgiveness is the root of our love; because we are flawed, loving each other is not always easy. We practice Matthew 18. Our body is held together by a dialogue of love.
  • Truth without love kills, while love without truth lies.
  • Engaging in healthy dialogue is what keeps us real. We want everyone among us to experience respect and understanding as they explore what they think and feel.
  • Jesus is living the greatest mutiny ever—we should not waste our rebellion on each other.
  • Everybody gets listened to, but people who make and nurture disciples and who make love happen get listened to more.
  • Don’t look for a new rule to solve a relational problem or a policy adjustment to produce integrity.
  •  We are always trying to stretch across barriers: across racial/ethnic, class and cultural divides.
  • Racial reconciliation is a matter of demanding justice, not just peace.
  • A gospel that does not reconcile is no gospel at all.
  • We will do what it takes to be an anti-racist, diverse community that represents the new humanity.
  • All cultures are fallen, yet Jesus reveals God in all of them. The church does not need to force people to leave all aspects of their culture in order to worship God through Jesus Christ.
  • Welcoming the “stranger” is at the heart of being a Christian. Hospitality exposes the fear of the giver and receiver to the transforming touch of God.
  • We stretch ourselves to worship with diverse styles. God is transnational, transcultural, even transhistorical.
  • We are diverse in many ways and we will cross boundaries to become more so. Don’t bean count us.
  • True inclusion requires relational work not simply institutional recognition.
  • The church’s task is neither to destroy nor to maintain the various labels that divide the world but to offer a new self in Christ that is deeper than the definitions of the dominators.
  • Bringing people to Jesus is our primary goal. How someone identifies him or herself when we meet them is less important than making room for them in God’s Kingdom.
  • It is essential to discover, develop and use one’s spiritual gifts.
  • God is an artist. The artist who follows the Creator creates to reveal the glory of God, too.
  • Since we are each and all temples of the Holy Spirit, art among us is never merely a matter of “self-expression.”
  • Respect for gifts and abilities is not reserved for older people.
  • All people of any gender or sexual orientation are bearers of the image of God and therefore fully gifted and responsible to lead, teach and serve.
  • Our public worship strives to be in public language focused on those yet to join in, but not restricted to that.
  • One doesn’t need to be smart or completely trained to be a fulfilled Christian.
  • We admit that we are less of a “safe place” for people who don’t want to take initiative, own their dignity or make commitments.
  • We share our resources of time, money and love person to person, with the leaders, between congregations.
  • All our money belongs to God; the percentage we share in our Common Fund reflects our mutual commitment to be an authentic church.
  • Minimally, members of our covenant share in our Sunday meeting times, participate in a cell, express themselves in service and contribute to our Common Fund.
  • As part of our obligation to mutually share resources with the poor and lost, we invest at least 20% of our Common Fund income in causes beyond our basic common needs.
  • We live out our goals according to what we have, not what we should have. Don’t try to live off the holes in the Swiss cheese.
  • We are called to owe nothing to anyone but love. We are determined not to be debt slaves and determined to share with abandon and fully participate in the imagination and responsibility of partnership in Christ.
  • A leader is always part of a team, is always a mentor, and is always preparing their successor.
  • Leaders listen to the body and to God; their function is discernment as much as direction.
  • Our basic mission is to build cells and our primary leaders are deployed and trained for that work. We wait for people to take the lead in further enterprises, or we don’t do them.
  • Nothing should be left to fester until the pastors smell it.
  • Passionate leaders who discipline themselves according to their hard-won mutual agreements are key to accomplishing great things.
  • Our cells, congregations, teams and leaders are all building the same house, but are all uniquely inspired, gifted and assigned. Categorizing them as things or positions filled by people wrongly subjects the users to their tools.
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