This women’s circle meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at church or in a member’s home with prayer, a scripture study using the ELCA Lutheran Woman Today magazine, and dessert.
Lydia is a woman whom Paul and Timothy met while traveling as Christian missionaries in Roman territory. The story of their meeting in Acts 16:13-15 describes her as “a worshipper of God”, a devout woman, and a seller of highly-prized purple cloth. She had gathered with other women in a quiet place on the Sabbath, presumably to rest and pray. Lydia listened to Paul’s conversions and “the Lord opened her heart”. After she and her household were baptized, Lydia invited Paul and Timothy to stay at her home. The original Greek word “Lydia” is often translated as “noble one” or “beautiful”. She continues to be an excellent role model for Christian women today—devout, industrious, God-fearing, action-oriented, generous, hospitable, one who prays and rests with other women.
Circles represent a tradition in Lutheran congregations of providing a structure for women to “gather by the river” (Acts 16:13) for communal praying, Bible study, service, and socialization. Thankfully, many opportunities are now open to women of faith to learn and serve making this structure seem old fashioned and unnecessary.
The Lydia Circle at Abiding Savior continues to exist with modifications to the “old ways”. The meetings occur in the evening hours (second Tuesdays of the month) in order to provide access for women with professional duties during the day. The Bible study is taken from the Gather magazine, an ELCA publication (firstname.lastname@example.org or gathermagazine.org). Special projects are identified that support the mission and ministry of Abiding Savior. The spirit of Lydia continues to engage us as we adapt to our changing roles and lives as God-fearing women.