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Family Matters

A New Vision for HHBC

A New Vision for HHBC

Published in Family Matters

July 2016

During our annual business meeting last November, I called for a process that would engage our congregation in a season of discernment. Throughout the spring, the deacon body and I have worked to develop, authorize, and fund this process. I am excited to share with you that in the fall we will begin Vision 20/20, a season of spiritual discernment and visioning together with the Center for Healthy Churches and their executive director, Bill Wilson.

Bending Towards Beauty

Bending Towards Beauty

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters Newsletter, February 2015

I love evergreens. We are now firmly in February and I need them. Autumn’s passing and winter’s march have left our part of the world drained of color. Gone is the rose that perched in my window, gone is the pastoral green of the hill across the way, gone is the shade provided by the leaves. The whole world seems cold and dark and waiting for something to warm both hearth and hue. In worship, we have reached the season of Lent, a season marked by contrasts of dark and light, virtue and vice.

Consider the Season

Consider the Season

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, October 2014

Seasons change. We have enjoyed the changing of the seasons here in Middle Georgia. The leaves are falling and so are the temps. The orange of fall with lovely pumpkins matches the orange of the Mercer Bears. Neighbors are lighting fire pits and shopping for holiday treats; it’s time to prepare for a new season.

Ministry and the Best Marriage

Ministry and the Best Marriage

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, October 2014

Happy Anniversary! Days like these just seem to sneak up on you, right? A year ago, I wrote about all of the firsts we would experience together. In the time between that first article and this one, we have made our way through the entire cycle of the Christian year from Advent to Christ the King Sunday. We have worshiped in the morning, vespered in the evening, and sung the silence of Taizé on Tuesday nights. We have communed, baptized, and soon will bless all the animals.

Giving Ourselves Back to God

Giving Ourselves Back to God

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, September 2014

Generosity begins at the beginning. Generosity is not just the practice of being nice to others, it is a way of framing your life in light of the grace of God. We name this early in the life of any disciple here at Highland Hills. If you listen, you can find it in our baby dedication litany: “This child is not your own. She is a gift from God and you will teach her to give her life back to God for the rest of her days.” Generosity defines the Godbearing life. By giving our lives back to God, we discover how to live with and love each other through concrete practices of sharing, generosity, and love. All of these find root in the love we offer back to God and the lives we dedicate to God’s mission in the world.

Class Is in Session

Class Is in Session

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, August 2014

“School’s out for summer!” Alice Cooper once screeched. Summer isn’t as long as it once was. It is August and teachers have been readying their classrooms since July. Stores have stocked folders, pens, paper, markers, Kleenex and all kinds of glue on aisles marked “back to school” since late May. Some students weren’t even out of their classrooms in May! It is enough to make even the most conservative educator don a Pink Floyd t-shirt and sing, “leave those kids alone.”

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, July 2014

Posted on the wall in our friend’s home is a hand-made poster with the title “Summer Bucket List.”  The parents, with their two kids, brainstormed a list of all the fun things they wished to do during the summer. Easy things like “make homemade ice cream” and “chill out by the pool” were listed with “climb Stone Mountain” and “build an ultimate slip-n-slide.” No room for boredom there. These summer plans will no doubt offer wonderful memories and shape this family for seasons to come. The appeal of summer that may prompt some of this brainstorming is the idea that summer affords opportunity: time for family, rest, and reconnecting.

Let Us Go Forth

Let Us Go Forth

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, June 2014

Say the word “go,” and most people in my household will begin singing “Let It Go” from Disney’s 2013 movie Frozen. If you have somehow missed this phenomenon, then you may have been hibernating for longer than just the winter. It is everywhere: the song, the movie, and the merchandise. One two-year-old I know has three Frozen-themed books, two Frozen-themed stuffed animals and one copy of the movie which we have watched an untold number of times.