Pastor Elmer McClain founded the ministry of the “Circle of Love.” When just a boy of eight or ten years old Elmer got into a dynamite shack. There he found some dynamite caps. He took one of these and somehow set it off. The result was that this caused his blindness. Nothing could be done to help his condition.
He then learned Braille and continued his education. He attended Bible school where he met Frances, his soon to be wife. They were married for over 60 years. For a time Elmer and Frances were missionaries to Haiti. There they encouraged the founding of new Bible believing churches.
Because of health concerns the McClains returned to New Castle, Pennsylvania. There Bro. McClain filled in for pastors when they were sick or on vacation. For a time, Bro. McClain pastored a small church in New Castle, PA.
In 1979 Bro. McClain had a burden to reach his fellow blind. He contacted a couple of blind folks that he knew and told them of his idea for ministry. They thought it to be a great idea and collectively they decided on the name “Circle of Love.”
Bro. McClain began with 60 minute cassettes mailed out to the blind in a return mailer…thus the name ‘Circle’ since the tape was sent out and then returned after being read. ‘Love’ came from John 3:16 which reads “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
So in August of 1979 the ‘Circle of Love was born. The ministry continued with much listener participation. Then these Christians began to share this ministry with their lost friends, and God blessed, and the ministry grew. Eventually the 60 minute cassette was replaced with a 92 minute cassette.
In 1984 Bro. McClain’s health had declined; Frances’ health also was not good. It was decided to contact Pastor George Gray to see if he was willing to assume leadership of ‘Circle of Love. After much prayer the ministry was transferred to Bro. Gray, who guided it for over 37 years!
When it came time for Bro. Gray to pass the torch, he reached out to John Wesley Smith who accepted after much prayer, and he began producing the Circle of Love in January 2022.
The Circle of Love ministry today has moved from 92 minute cassettes to cartridges designed for audio players made specially for the bllind. The cartridges are much more durable and in the long run more efficient than cassettes which can become damaged.
Each monthly issue contains Gospel songs, a Bible game, prayer requests, a Bible memory section, Christian church news, testimonies of those who have come to Christ, a Gospel message, and other features such as recognition of birthdays and anniversaries, as well as other helpful materials to benefit the growth of believers at all levels of their spiritual walk.