Middle Circle helps the SF Bay Area to strengthen local connections and make positive impact in our neighborhoods. We seek to develop  communities centered around common values, meaning-making, belonging and openness through service opportunities, deep conversations, compassionate relationships, and fun activities.

MIDDLE CIRCLE EXPLAINED

We all have a need for authentic, deep human connections. Our closest circle of family and friends, our “Inner Circle,” is usually composed of people who have similar backgrounds and view-points as ourselves. Our “Outer Circle,” acquaintances we see once in a while, are too distant from us to fully be aware of what’s happening in their lives. There’s a gap that modern American life is no longer fulfilling with the dramatic loss of the “Middle Circle,” a community composed of familiar and friendly people who may differ from us in socio-economic background, race, age, and education level; who would support and care for us in times of need and challenge us in our view-points, expanding our horizons. We seek to overcome social barriers to create authentic communities which foster deep and meaningful connections and a strong sense of belonging.

SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS

We like to think of ourselves as an emerging church-like community. Many of us identify as the spiritual but not religious type, some are spiritual and religious, and some of us might say we are neither spiritual nor religious. Our community is bonded through shared values rather than particular beliefs or dogma. We value kindness, honesty, love, service, compassion and building an inclusive community where we can be vulnerable and know that we will be accepted for who we are.

For many, churches and religious organizations have been the primary way people have found meaning and community in their lives. Today, however, many people no longer look to church or religious organizations to fill their needs for community and meaning. We seek to fulfill those same needs, but in a way that works for us today. Middle Circle joins around shared values, a common hope to make positive impact in the world, and to create community where we can explore the messiness and beauty of life together.

CORE VALUES

CURIOSITY
We share an insatiable curiosity which drives an appreciation for life. We create meaning in our modern context through all the tools available to us: reflection, creativity, science, exploration/questioning, philosophy, spirituality, religious tradition, and of course fun!

COMMUNITY
Fostering a community which creates an inclusive space for diverse members. Authenticity, honesty, listening, and respect are core to our community. True to our understanding of a middle circle, we want people to feel a sense of belonging and trusted friendship. We hope to strike a balance between building deep connections and enjoying the lighter moments. We want to promote health in all aspects of life: healthy people build stronger communities, and healthy communities help people live better. As social creatures, meaningful community is inextricably tied into each of our mental and physical well-being.

SOCIAL GOOD
We believe that we are at our best when in service to others. Middle Circle is committed to working in the areas of:
Marginalized communities
• Affirmation of LGBT communities
Environmental preservation, ecological consciousness, and mitigation of climate change
• Promoting peace
Lifting up those going through difficulties
• Challenging economic inequality
• Promoting empowerment through education
Gender equality

And most of all, leading with love and kindness!

HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN LEADERSHIP TEAM

Human Centered Design (HCD) is a set of methods and guiding principles that help organizations discover and address the needs of their end users. It's a creative approach to problem solving that starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailored to suit their needs. 

FOUNDING TEAM
Anders Peterson, Founder & Community ChaplainJosh Hayes
Heather Hargraves
Michelle Peterson
Scott Fitzloff
Alison Holmes
Ben Youngerman
Shuai Chen
Amanda Nelson
Keva DeKay
Hilary Platt

Melissa Walden
Perri Al-Rahim
Dan Foldes
Reggie Yemma
Anton Van Oosbree
Tommy Alexander

ADVISORY TEAM
Kirk Pessner
Steve Johnson
Tamara Alliston
Rev. Dr. Susan Strouse
Rev. Ruben Duran
Rev. Carlton Monroe
Jarie Bolander

ORGANIZATIONAL SPONSORSHIP
Middle Circle is a registered 501C3 through the auspicious of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We are thankful to have the support from a longstanding faith based denomination as we seek to engage in new ways of being inclusive community. Middle Circle is also sponsored by First United Lutheran Church and St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church: two longstanding progressive congregations located in the NOPA neighborhood of San Francisco.