by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter October 11, 2018

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.