Thursday Circle is a group that came about from the sucess of Third Wednesday,
a monthly pub meet-up of libertarian-leaning individuals who previously only knew each other via Twitter.
It is named after the group set up by Dietrich Bonhoeffer to oppose the nazification of the German Church during the Third Reich.
Knowing how refreshing and life-affirming it is to meet face-to-face, especially after two years of attempted enforced isolation, it became really clear to me that this formula would work for a Christian meet-up.
Initially inviting friends within the Third Wednesday groups by word-of-mouth, we started meeting in the rarely-used upstairs room of a favourite local pub in Worcester. After about 6 meetings it’s become clear that there are as many different types of Christian as there are people who attend. We’ve had Catholic, Protestant, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Church of Wales, Chapel, Methodist, ex-Jehovah’s Witness, high church, low church and one regular who doesn’t yet (and may never) identify as a Christian. One thing we all have in common is a dissatisfaction with the state of The Church as it stands today and this is one of the major topics discussed in the meetings. Another thing we all have in common is that we are fans of Irreverend Podcast, so it seemed obvious to ask Jamie Franklin for help in expanding the idea.
The format of the meetings has emerged organically and has been helped considerably by the additon of a church Rector who was already part of the Third Wednesday group.
The meetings take place on the fourth Thursday of every month. We meet at 7pm and aim to start the meeting at 7.30pm. We sit in a single group, around one or two tables
so that everyone can hear everyone else. We start with a short prayer, then the conversation starts naturally enough, helped by the fact that we’re in a pub and everyone
can have a drink if they like. This helps the more shy overcome their nervousness. It should go without saying that this is not a heavy drinking session as it is a “school night”.
I act as a kind of low-key chairman to keep the conversation vaguely on-topic (faith in relation to current affairs). Everyone gets a chance to speak and we do our best to have
only one person speaking at a time. The first session is a chance for everyone to say a few words about themselves, what their church background is and what they’re looking for.
Having a priest present is a big bonus as we can defer to them on things biblical or technical. We try to call time at 10pm as everyone has to be somewhere the next day, and we
end with a prayer and in our case as we have a priest, a blessing.
A prayer meeting, a Bible discussion group, a drinking club, denominational, overtly political, exclusive or anti-church.
Robert has offered to host an online virtual Thursday Circle for those who struggle to get about or can’t find a venue just yet. You can contact him at [email protected] and further details will be posted here if and when something more concrete is put in place.
On the back of a well-attended Third Wednesday (that’s on a Friday!) there is potential for a Thursday Circle in Tokyo. The contact [email protected] and at present is only a potential meeting. But please contact Philomena if interested.