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  • Ekklesia Hattiesburg

Doing Life Together in 2024 by Margie Willis




One of the things I love most about a year is how they typically begin and end with overwhelming joy, hope, happiness, expectation, and excitement. Every January we take on new challenges. This is the year we will be better, be more productive, more intentional, say yes (or say no), have a healthy diet, stop dieting, more fulfilling relationships, cut out toxic relationships, be more active, be more still, be more Christlike. The list could go on. Some of us even create vision boards as a daily reminder of our goals. In the spirit of new beginnings, it feels like the only hurdle will be staying focused and on track. Unfortunately, for many, it isn’t long before our goals are derailed due to one thing or another. Life just isn’t simple. It isn’t just a quick train ride to a new destination. We experience grief, disappointment, sickness, failures, and loss. 2023 was no exception. The goal of the Ekklesia Governing Board is to represent you and walk with you through all aspects of life. We are here to help and encourage those of you in our community. It’s our hope to be a place where you find joy, that meets needs, and challenges each of us to do the same for others. We pray that when you look over your 2023 you felt supported by those of us in our community, that you were joined hand in hand with others, welcomed with opened arms, and that we truly did life together. 


Before we get too cozy in 2024, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the changes we made in 2023. In an effort to provide more stability, continuity, and support for Ekklesia and our staff we made the decision to increase our Governing Board from 5 to 7 members. We believe this change will better represent our growing and ever-changing community. We have always welcomed change at Ekklesia. Change can give us joy and sadness simultaneously. We had some amazing people leave our community in 2023. Their departure leaves a huge void in our hearts. However, at the same time we are so excited for their future. We’re thankful for the time we shared and memories we made with them. 


The Governing Board also voted on and helped implement a new curriculum for our children’s programming. Not only did this provide consistency and continuity throughout the children’s programming, the relationship between our children and adults is flourishing. This in turn strengthens the bond and trust within our community. Also, to better serve the needs of the community we knew we needed to update and revamp our committees. Because of this we met with committee leaders to focus on purpose, progress, and future plans.

 

Most years end with a lot of the same emotions we have at the beginning of year – overwhelming joy, hope, happiness, expectation, and excitement. If you are anything like me, most of December requires being intentional. It is a marathon. We have Christmas decorations, multiple holiday parties, spending time with friends and family. The checklist is endless. Whew! January - December! This year I’m challenging myself and encourage you all to focus on the dash. The dash between January and December. Yes, this year will be like every other. It will be a rollercoaster of emotions. The one thing that we can predict is that it will be a wild ride. But, I hope that whatever we go through this year we can all share them together.

 

The Governing Board’s goal this year is to continue to focus on cultivating our community. How do we do this? I believe we do this by encouraging and challenging Ekklesia to be that community that we all need and desire. We will continue to listen to your feedback. We will put those ideas and suggestions on the table for discussion and if approved we will move forward with implementation. 


Where do you come in? Ask yourself this question, “What is the one thing I can do to help cultivate our community?” Is the answer to be present, give financially, volunteer to serve in some capacity? That one thing you do to help cultivate our community can have a ripple effect in a small community like ours. 


So, join us in committing to do at least one thing to help the Ekklesia community become more engaging with one another, strengthen our relationship with each other, and by doing so grow closer to God. We look forward to doing life with you. 





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