Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: The Wi$dom Path: An Adult Program on Money, Spirit, and Life

Handout 3: Resilience Circles

Part of The Wi$dom Path

Adapted from What Is a Resilience Circle? — An Overview published by the Resilience Circle Network, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality and the Common Good. Used with permission.

A Resilience Circle is a small group of ten to twenty people that comes together to increase personal security during these challenging times. Circles have three purposes: learning, mutual aid, and social action.

The economy is going through a deep transition, and economic security is eroding for millions of people. We’re worried about our financial security and about the future we are creating for our children. Many of us aren’t part of communities where we can talk openly about these challenges and fears.

In response, people are forming small Resilience Circles of ten to twenty people. These groups are exploring a new kind of security based on mutual aid and community support and helping build a new kind of economy that’s fair and in harmony with the earth.

Resilience Circles help us:

  • Courageously face our economic and ecological challenges, learning together about root causes.
  • Build relationships and undertake concrete steps for mutual aid and shared action.
  • Rediscover the abundance of what we have and recognize the possibility of a better future.
  • See ourselves as part of a larger effort to create a fair and healthy economy that works for everyone in harmony with the planet.
  • Get to know our neighbors, find inspiration, and have fun!

How It Works…

Three Components of a Circle

  • Learning – A Resilience Circle is a place to face the real nature of our economic and ecological challenges. Facing these realities may be overwhelming for isolated individuals, so a Circle is a place to learn with a supportive community. We analyze the economy to expose its structural flaws and ask if “growth” is really the only way to create financial security.
  • Mutual Aid – Resilience Circles take concrete steps toward enhancing personal security by slowly stretching our “mutual aid muscles,” which are often badly out of shape. We exchange gifts and needs lists, where participants write down things they can offer—such as sewing skills, tools, or child care—and things they need. Through this activity we gain a new sense of the wealth and abundance present within the group and the community.
  • Social Action – Many of our challenges won’t be solved through personal or local mutual aid efforts alone. They require us to work together to press for larger state, national, and even global changes. While there is no official Resilience Circle social-action agenda, many groups choose to take action based on their own values and interests.