Gathering Friends

A Berkana offering to catalyze circles of friends

The Berkana Institute spent three years in rest and reflection to understand where we might best serve and contribute in this troubled, troubling time. During this phase of Berkana’s lifecycle we noted that the people around us and ourselves were experiencing a range of deep emotions—from grief to joy, from exhaustion to enthusiasm, from despair to confidence, from anger to peace. We kept asking:

How can we get through the dramas, dilemmas, and strong emotions of this time and find the strength, focus, and energy for our work?

How do we persevere so we can be of service for this time?

During this period, the Berkana board members found great benefit from intimate, unstructured conversations where we offered one another clarity, companionship, strength, consolation, laughter, and more. We discovered that simply listening to one another’s challenges—without any desire to fix or help or strategize—was enough. Our conversations were a refuge, a place of rest. There was no pressure to produce or create. After our connections we returned to our individual challenges with renewed resolve. Perhaps you have been engaged in similar groups and experienced their great benefits.

Based on our personal experience, Berkana’s principle activity at this time is to act as a catalyst for the creation of self-organized circles of friends who are willing to offer steadfast support, consolation, companionship, and delight for one another. We know that gathering with friends—meeting on a regular, reliable basis—is a simple and powerful way to strengthen our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. With this strength and confidence, we can do the work that is ours to do and stay available to those we aspire to serve. As humans have always done, we can persevere by strengthening our circles of friendship, holding each other with gentleness, compassion, and trust.

Learn more about what Berkana can offer Gathering Friends groups.

Sign up to initiate a Gathering Friends group. We will send you a welcome letter and a packet of resources to help you initiate and sustain your circle. Please feel free to send any questions to