By Justin Rossow and Susie Gay

Friends In Deed is starting up the Circles program in Washtenaw County. In July, St. Luke will be welcoming them into our building for their Tuesday evening meetings.  Each week, following a shared meal, a presenter will help equip individuals and families to take a step out of generational poverty. The friendships built around that family will help make sure this is a long-term solution.

Because the goal is to change from poverty management to creating collaborative solutions, fostering relationships across socioeconomic lines is key to the success of the Circles program.

Each low-income family/individual in the program will be matched with 2-3 middle income allies to forge a friendship. This friendship, like all friendships, should open doors for everyone involved: access to new people and experiences and raising awareness of both living in poverty and ways to achieve financial stability.

Circles has a track record in 38 states and Canada. Friends In Deed chose to launch Circles after they spent time researching possible ways to make a long term impact on families living below the poverty line. St. Luke has a long-standing relationship with Friends In Deed, and the Circles program provides a natural fit for our emerging vision.

We share a commitment to the transformative power of relationships. We both want to help people move forward by taking one small step at a time. We think that gathering people together for face to face interaction and equipping is essential, and that most of the real growth happens when what is experienced in this building is shared and applied in real life experiences.

Engaging with Circles will allow Jesus-followers at St. Luke to build relationships with people from their local community that provide long-term support and authentic friendships. In other words, it will help us seek everyone’s story as we share in Jesus’ story.

No one else in southeast Michigan is doing this–yet. We are excited to be on the ground floor of a program that has proved effective in other settings. St. Luke is the kind of place that is open to trying something new in a way that will be a service to our broader Church and community.

The fact that Circles has been so successful in other places helps us take a step forward in partnership with confidence, as we look for what Jesus has for us in this new endeavor.

These stories from other Circles programs are a sneak peek at the kind of thing we might expect here.

The Friends In Deed Circles program is our Quarterly Mission. In addition, 10% of our Raise the Roof generosity initiative will go to help launch Circles Washtenaw County.

1. Give Online at

2. Give via Mobile AppClick Here to download our App!

3. Give via Envelope –write RAISE THE ROOF on the re: line and put a check in a special offering envelope available at St. Luke.

4. Give Stock – St. Luke’s Charles Schwab Account # 8411-3768; DCT #0164.  Please send an email to with the name of the stock and number of shares.