Priscilla Circle reaches out to people living alone


Priscilla Circle is one of six circles at Canyon Lake Community Church. Approximately thirty women meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. in the Family Activities Building, for fellowship, friendship and outreach. The main ministry of this group is PLAN, outreach to People Living Alone Now.

Three times a year, the Priscilla Circle ladies plan and provide a free luncheon for about one hundred people. All are welcome whether they are members of the church or not. The food is sometimes cooked by the ladies and other times it’s ordered. There is always a theme, decorations, food, pleasant conversation, music and a testimony or two.

Priscilla Circle was established in 2009 by four members. Two of the original members, Alice Gray and Sandra Fulmer, are still active.  Alice Gray is the chair and Sandra Fulmer is co-chair of the Circle. The name is dedicated to Priscilla Colwell, a devoted wife, mother and friend to so many ladies in the church. She has since passed away, but her spirit lives on.

The activities of Pricilla Circle, to love and support the lonely, do not end with the luncheons. The group has divided up over 200 contacts among the members in teams of two or more women. Throughout the year, PLAN members receive Christmas, Valentine, Easter and Thanksgiving cards from their Priscilla team. Priscilla teams send birthday cards, make several calls during the year as reminders of the next luncheon and follow up as friends.

Member Nancy Horton says, “The Circle members believe that by easing loneliness of those who are elderly, have lost a spouse or caregiver, or who need a healthy meal with a yummy dessert, that they are doing the work we are called to do as followers of Jesus Christ.”
Coming up with a theme (some in the past have been Apples, Valentines, Birthdays, Travel, Splash into Summer) makes for a raucous and hilarious meeting!  Joan Ellett chairs the PLAN luncheons. Ideas are considered and rejected, but once a decision has been reached, then the core committee gets to work. The team comes up with a variety of table centerpieces, banners, stage settings and color co-ordinations for tablecloths, napkins, etc.  Another group works on getting speakers and choosing the music.

On Friday before the event, nearly everyone in the Circle shows up to set up fourteen tables, lay out the decorations, and set up the door prizes. The day of the luncheon, Circle ladies dress for the theme. They bring their food items to the church, help set up the beverage tables and food tables and set up the name tags and games.

“This may seem like a list of chores, but nothing could be further from the truth,” says Nancy. “All the activities are filled with laughter, fun, affection and love. The room starts out as taupe colored walls with a gray carpe and ends up colored with all the colors of the rainbow and transformed into a place of cheerful promise.”

After all the fun and games, the speakers, the music, the prayers and the door prizes, comes the take-down and clean up.  A happy group of women slips into the kitchen to clean the plates, fill the dishwashers, replace the trays of clean glasses and silverware back in the cupboards, and finally lock up as they leave. The hall is back to normal, but the whispers of happy chatter stay in the air.

The next day, some participants greet each other at one of the three church services, full of wonder at how well it went. Some PLAN people enjoy a last piece of dessert that they took home.  Everyone remembers that last day for a long time.

Priscilla Circle invites anyone who falls into the category of living alone, or with a relative or roommate,  who would like to attend. For more information, call Joan Ellett at 951-941-0859 or Alice Gray at 951-244-4605. Callers should  leave contact information.