US House and Senate Groups
By Members of Congress
More than 1,900 years ago, Jesus invited His friends to join Him on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. At this gathering Jesus demonstrated His resurrection and the continuity of His presence with them following His crucifixion, and confirmed the reality of a promise made earlier, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” It was at this gathering that Peter was reconciled to Jesus as they expressed their love for each other.
Inspired by this account, the breakfast groups began with a meeting of nineteen business executives in Seattle, Washington, in April 1935. They were gathered together to face a critical situation in the life of their city. As they continued to meet regularly, a new purpose for living was recognized — being agents of reconciliation in personal, business and community life. They also began to work together to help the poor and oppressed in Seattle. New power came as men believed and obeyed God.
Over the months and years that followed, as they told others how much this small group meant to them, other breakfast groups were started throughout the United States. In 1942, in Washington, DC, breakfast leadership/fellowship groups were founded in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Today, this simple idea of people meeting together for mutual encouragement and fellowship in order to find “the better way” has spread to over a hundred and seventy countries on every continent.
With the Spirit of Jesus at the center, this ancient idea has spread spontaneously and at an incredibly rapid rate to meet the long-felt spiritual need of men and women at all levels of society in our modern world. People are finding understanding, confidence and hope for the future through a deepening relationship with God and in discovering the secret of true brotherhood with their fellowmen.
WHY A GROUP?
When Jesus brought together that first handful of friends, Andrew and Peter, James and John, He demonstrated a way of life in which much depended upon close, intimate, human relationships. The friends became a band. Because they belonged to Jesus and to each other, they became a family. This “family” quality was the heart of the revolution of Jesus. The “twelve” learned by following Him and by living a life in which teamwork proved essential. Jesus chose to give His followers (those gathered together to listen to Him and to talk to Him and to one another in His presence) some ideas which lead to action that He does not give to individuals seeking Him alone.
This type of bond is vital. True, we are important as individuals, but the individual is understood primarily in terms of his unity with others. The trouble with many human systems and organizations is that they promote man’s individuality at the expense of his relationship with others – or promote unity only to the extent that the individual becomes a member of the herd and loses himself. The key to the balance between individuality and a band of friends is found in sharing ideas with one another in mutual trust and appreciation. Each one finds himself as he experiences this fellowship with others and with God.
Formal political, religious and other meetings, important as they are, are not enough; institutions and formal organizations alone are not enough. Nor did Jesus refer to either of these when He spoke of “two or three gathering” in His name. Only something akin to the best kind of family gathering, or prayers with the children, will break down the barriers between us and will make growth, intimacy and teamwork possible.
The aim, the purpose, or the bond that unites all who are committed to understanding the principles, the precepts and person of Jesus, and that which holds us together, is our desire to know God and to love others as ourselves.