Circles of Love


Circles of Love

Stories of congregations caring for people with disabilities and their families

book cover reading "circles of love" with a painting of people in a circle

If your family includes someone with disabilities, you know that congregations can be places of healing or harm, support or lack of care. How can churches better support individuals with disabilities and their families?

In Circles of Love, meet people who have received support from caring people in Anabaptist congregations—support that has changed the course of their lives. These are not stories of valor or victory, but rather of ordinary people whose lives have been transformed by circles of love. Learn concrete acts of compassionate care that congregations can take to support people with disabilities and those who love them.

Purchase at or by calling Brethren Press at 1-800-441-3712.

From co-author Dean Preheim-Bartel:

"Ever since I directed Mennonite Central Committee’s Disability Services nearly thirty years ago, I wanted to hear how people were responding to our 1986 booklet, Supportive Care in the Congregation (revised 2011).

When ADNet staff asked if I would help write a new book of stories about churches implementing the earlier book’s vision, of course I said 'Yes.' Now that I am living with a disability (Parkinson’s Disease), I have experienced firsthand the value of persons from my local congregation walking with me through its joys and challenges.

Circles of Love tells about individuals and families who stepped out in faith hoping that someone in their church would respond to their need for help. In it you will meet people with great courage, tenacity, and vulnerability. These stories tell of individuals and families who have received support from caring people in congregations, changing the course of their lives for both the able-bodied and persons with disabilities. They tell about those who, in choosing to offer support, say that they receive as much as they give.

You may have heard a child say, 'I can do it myself.' Becoming independent is a normal developmental stage. However, as adults we are taught to be independent, self-sufficient, self-reliant, and to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. In truth, it requires great inner strength to ask help from others. In Luke 11:10 Jesus makes this promise, 'For everyone who asks will receive, those who seek will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.'

I hope this book will inspire you to ask when  needing help and to respond when someone comes knocking at your congregation’s door. Don’t try to tough it out yourself. God has promised that we don’t have to go it alone."

Dean Preheim-Bartel attends Southside Mennonite Fellowship in Elkhart, Indiana. In his retirement, he enjoys working in his gardens, doing landscape design for others, and spending time in his wood shop.