In addition to the class meeting, early Methodism had another vital practice called “bands,” which were smaller in size than the class meeting and also more intense in accountability. Today, they would be considered something like an accountability or covenant group. Davidson UMC has re-cultivated the practice of bands in their Wesleyan Contemplative Order. WCO is a “community of individuals and small bands committed to opening space for God’s grace to nurture the process of inner transformation, through contemplative practices as exemplified in Wesley’s means of grace.”
Some bands meet at the church and some meet in the homes of church members, but they are all centered around a rule of life in which rich, contemplative practices are at the heart of the meetings. Groups regularly practice centering prayer and lectio divinia and commit to living the means of grace through works of mercy and works of piety. The band is a historical example of a small group that is still incredibly relevant today.