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Jake Hall

On the Table Was No Joke

On the Table Was No Joke

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter October 11, 2018

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A pastor, a rabbi, an Imam, a teacher, an inmate, an educator, a publisher, a CEO and a college student walk into a house of worship.That isn't the beginning of joke, but a report from this week's "On the Table" event. Highland Hills opened our Great Room to have a conversations that matters. Tables all around Macon gathered fellow citizens to a common table.

Breakfast began at private table at Kingdom Life, a congregation on Shurlington not far from Highland Hills. Rev. Dominique Johnson invited fellow clergy, along with educators, entrepreneurs, corrections officers and club promoters to speak openly about challenges faced by at risk youth. Suddenly abstract issues like poverty, mental health, and essential services were embodies with the faces and names real people and real communities. Tear and ideas began creep into our dialogue.

Congregation Sha'arey Israel opened their doors for lunch and served the best pizza in Macon. (Ingleside Village) Imam Fofana and I sat with a table of women from three of our synagogues in Macon. We confessed how little we really know of the each others real life and wondered what it would be like to teach our kids about the cultures and faith traditions of our middle Georgia community.

Dinner, of course, was at Highland Hills. The Great Room was filled with a good mix of youth and adults from our congregation along with new friends and ministry partners from our community. Twelve tables chose a challenge in our community to address. Many of them admitted to the distance and divisions that we have in Macon. We brainstormed and prayed and mostly were honest about how hard it is to forge solutions.

Jesus knew that amazing things happen around the table. For me, the best solution to the root of our social issues was found in the gathering itself. The table might be the first best strategy to unite our community.

Remember to complete the survey from the event. Click the link here.

Hey Neighbor! Pull up a Chair

Hey Neighbor! Pull up a Chair

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter October 11, 2018

On Wednesday, October 17, our church family will participate in a community-wide gathering of friends and strangers around the tables in our Great Room. No, it won't be like our typical family night supper: you won't be at your typical table, you won't be sitting with your typical friends, you might have to introduce yourself to strangers. It will be different. Yet, at the same time, our "On the Table" partnership event will be all too typical of the kind of table fellowship Jesus offered to all people.

Hey Neighbor!

Hey Neighbor!

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter October 5, 2018

What do you think when you hear a knock at the door or the ring of a door bell? Well, it depends. If you are expecting friends or family to arrive, then you might exclaim with delight, “Oh! So glad you’re here!” Unexpected guests seem to evoke excitement or apprehension or a quick dash to tidy up the formal living room.

Two Macon Pastors Discuss Race, Privilege And Community Engagement

Two Macon Pastors Discuss Race, Privilege And Community Engagement

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter September 20, 2018

In an episode of "Meet the Press" in April 1960, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said he thought it was one of the most "shameful tragedies of our nation that 11 o'clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in Christian America." Nearly 60 years later, a pair of church leaders in Macon observed that not much had changed. The New Georgia Encyclopedia states Macon is home to more churches than any other city in the American South.

Birthday Surprises

Birthday Surprises

published in Family Matters eNewsletter September 13, 2018

Highland Hills,

Thank you for the birthday wishes and sweet notes on my big day. Special thanks to our youth group for delivering a message from Grandmother Hall, whom we call, “Big Mama.” It was a good day, indeed, though she is now convinced I need to learn my ABCs once more.

Know that I am ever thankful to pastor a church like Highland Hills.

~ Jake

Ruth DuCharme Granted Ministerial Sabbatical

Ruth DuCharme Granted Ministerial Sabbatical

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter August 23, 2018

Everyone needs Sabbath time for rest and renewal. Have you ever wondered when ministers find Sabbath time? A few years ago, the church adopted a Sabbatical Policy for ordained staff ministers, which creates an intentional season of rest and renewal every seven years. This year the personnel committee approved the sabbatical of our Children’s Minister, Rev. Ruth DuCharme, from September 1-30. During this time, Ruth will be resting and renewing her body, mind, and spirit.

The Faith of A Dying Poet

The Faith of A Dying Poet

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter August 15, 2018

Local poet, Anya Silver, died last week. No doubt many of you know of her long battle with inflammatory breast cancer. Diagnosed in her pregnancy, she began treatment at the age of 35. Her poetry often centered around her illness and her journey to raise her son. Like the Psalms and other wisdom literature from the Bible, Anya's work bears the whole range of human emotion from anger and anguish to peace. Her willingness to honestly bear witness to her own lived experience has been a source of strength and inspiration for many. 

Time of Day

Time of Day

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter August 9, 2018

Ecclesiastes is one of those biblical books marked by mirth and meaning, as well as, futility.

Is life just a series of events, one blasted thing happening after the other, to paraphrase Arnold Toynbee. The momentum and pace of our often harried lives can make it seem so.

Consider the movements sermon of the “preacher” from Ecclesiastes. The opening chapters consider the futility of human life, We are born; we live; we work; we age and die... generation after generation, age by age; and nothing seems to change. This is the pessimism of the ordinary. Yet, within the ordinary, their lies the promise of more. Even in the mundane, with the right perspective, one may find meaning and worth.