Here are two stories for you today. The first is from Michael Hutchinson, former resident of Hattiesburg, who recently planted a church on the coast. The second is from Mrs. Cheryl Outlaw who works at Hawkins Elementary school where we have been serving for 5 years.
I have only visited Ekklesia a few times. I was inspired to start a new church with many of the concepts I learned by participating in your public meetings and talking with Michael. Saint Martin Baptist Fellowship in Gulfport is up and going and our emphasis is on forming disciples of Christ. We have no building, no committees, a structure that always serves ministry. Our public meetings are more 'coast' in their form. We have a core group that is so serious about connecting closer to God. Thank you Ekklesia.
- Michael Hutchinson
I think back from previous years when we were here at Hawkins without tutors, volunteers, and thinking what did we do wrong for the general public to shun us. I would call businesses around town and ask if they would adopt our school and the reply was always the same, we have already adopted a school. Then, one day God called Mrs. Margie Willis (along with Dr. Annie Wimbish) to Hawkins Elementary School. Months later the faculty and staff was introduced to members from Ekklesia. Everybody on the staff was asking what is Ekklesia? Then Sharon Miles stepped in and immediately we knew who and what Ekklesia was. She begin to work right away, getting volunteers and mentors. Later, tutors were coming from USM and we joined in with Americorp. I salute Ekklesia and all of the goals that you have accomplished not only at Hawkins but in the community as well.
I remember the first time I met Rev. Mike. I think I was having a bad day. He entered the building that morning with a bright and charming smile. I asked who is this man so happy on a Monday morning. As I got to know him he was just like me a real person (not like other ministers I had known in the past). I really enjoyed going to Court Street for service the first time. I walked in the service and was greeted by Sharon, Margie and others. I had on my Sunday Go To Meeting clothes and as the service begin, I looked at Rev. Mike as he begin to speak and something said look at his feet, he didn’t have on any shoes. I didn’t know if the members were going to wash feet that day or maybe his feet were really hurting.
Then I met Toby, he would come to my office and we would talk politics, of course I disagreed with everything he said. I still had a lot of fun with him; he is one of my favorite Ekklesian.
There are others I have come close to meeting and greeting on a daily basis. Mr. Ron and his wife, Mrs. Debbie (she can really bake cookies). Jennifer Willis and Steve Willis along with others.
Thank you for all you do for Hawkins Elementary School. I love you for what you do for children, I love you for what you do for the community, and I love you for what you do for me. It has truly been a blessing for me to know each of you.