#Gemstone Kink & Faith series: What is a Lydia circle?

If you haven’t picked up Gemstone yet, what are you waiting for? It’s now available for download at ARe in a variety of formats.

I’ll wait here while you grab your copy. 😀

Back so soon?

Gemstone is my first book to depict a character who struggles with the intersection of kink and faith. Instead of swaggering as an out and proud leather-clad dominatrix, Gemma Parquin hides her proclivities in an online forum called Kinklife. She loves her church as her own family, but she assumes her church friends will be horrified if they find out her secret.

After all, they live in the tiny (fictitious) town of Citrusville, Florida, less than an hour from Orlando. Everyone knows each other’s business, and her church is filled with women two, three, and four decades older than she is.

While writing Gemstone, I was surprised to find some references were not as universal as I’d thought. In particular, this question took me aback:

What is a Lydia circle?

I grew up with the ubiquitous Lydia circle references, so I had difficulty understanding the question. “Oh, it’s a church thing,” I said, only to be corrected. Other church-going beta readers weren’t sure about a Lydia circle, either.

“It’s a Lutheran thing?” Possibly. I put the question on my Facebook, only to find that no one knew what I meant. Someone googled and found a Lydia circle for businesswomen in the Methodist church. That’s close, but…

Here’s an example of a Lydia circle listing in a church.

Lydia circles are part of a tradition (possibly Lutheran and/or Protestant) to form small groups of women’s ministry within a church. The circles are often named after women in the Bible, such as Dorcas, Naomi, Ruth, Rebekah, and others.

When I was a child, of course a circle named “Dorcas” struck me as funny due to the name’s similarity to “dork”…and I had never known anyone in real life named Dorcas.

“Lydia” comes from the name of a woman who sold cloth. While there may be organizations named after Lydia for modern businesswomen, the Lydia circle in Gemstone is the women’s fellowship group. The members, all of the women at Faith Lutheran, have a monthly potluck and take care of issues such as scheduling special music for Sunday services, taking care of the church building and grounds, and other items.

Typically, a Lydia (or Dorcas, or Ruth, or Naomi) circle will take an offering for a designated charity and perhaps conduct a Bible study. Some circles are strictly social, while others might focus on quilting or other types of volunteer work. Often, a circle will make quilts to donate to mission work or others in need.

Had you heard of a Lydia circle before today? Or have you participated in one?

What other questions do you have about Kink & Faith in Gemstone? Some other questions I’ll answer this week include liturgy, the lectionary, and Advent.

Oh, and figging. *grin*

Thanks for joining the first episode of Kink & Faith with Ana!


Available at ARe!

Can lies build a foundation for love?

Gemma Parquin has a secret. By day, she’s the center of her church’s social life. By night, she’s Mistress Lorelei on Kinklife, online disciplinarian of babygirls and all who need spanking, whipping, and—her personal favorite—figging.

No one suspects, until neighbor Celine Daniels comes across Gemma’s Kinklife profile. Stunned and nursing a secret crush, she creates an account under the name starrygirl793 and “catfishes” the Mistress…and gets more than she bargained for. Before she knows it, Celine is also leading a double life.

Meanwhile, Gemma’s best friend sets her up with an online dating service. Enter Stella, who is everything Celine is not—sophisticated, successful, and straightforward. But she doesn’t understand the kink Gemma holds dear.

How can Gemma trust Celine, who has lied to her? Or give up Mistress Lorelei in order to be with Stella? Should Gemma give up on love altogether, or can she still find happiness?

10 thoughts on “#Gemstone Kink & Faith series: What is a Lydia circle?

  1. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, thank you for explaining the Lydia Circle. I learned something today. 🙂 Before, I only thought of it as some vague sort of group that belongs to the church. I know that there are groups of women in the different congregations in Hamburg who organize charity events and some probably do similar things like the Lydias, potluck or playing cards included. However I have not heard them being referred to by one of the biblical women’s names. I like catchy names for women’s groups, because I think that creates identity. Thank you for sharing.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. rozharrison says:

    I love the premise of this book Ana. I hadn’t heard of a Lydia circle before so found this interesting. Thank you. They say you learn something new every day 🙂



  3. kaisquared4 says:

    Ahh the light dawns! I had never heard of a Lydia circle, but of course, when I was young, all the women at our Lutheran church belonged to Mary or Ruth or even “Dork-as” circles, it was part of the weave and the rhythm of church life.


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