February is an interesting month. Usually, it's the beginning of the end of New Year's Resolutions. We like to use it for something a little more positive. For us, February 1 is the day we dream.
Things tend to ebb and flow here at 6 Stones, especially once we hit the Fall and Winter season and Operation Back 2 School becomes Community-Powered Revitalization becomes Night of Hope. January is our rare opportunity to look (and plan) ahead. There's still plenty going on here, of course — the New Hope Center is always open and we've got a soccer league running on the fields behind Central Junior High. But we do more than programs and events.
Our goal is to build a coalition of churches, businesses, governments, schools, etc. We want to see the entire community engaged to improve the entire community. Getting that done means dreaming big, and dreaming big means dreaming together. In our experience, that process starts by looking back at where we've been. That's what the Catalyst of Hope luncheon is all about.
2017: Transformation in Progress
We were blessed to share some incredible stories last year. Stories of men and women who came here feeling beaten and left here feeling strong. Immigrants and refugees who are now proud to call this community home. Elementary school students who are already making a difference here. More than ever, we feel that the work we're doing is transforming our community, one life at a time.
So why stop now? You saw the numbers… 5,441 school supply kits furnished, 106 homes repaired, 10,825 neighbors served, and 3,852 Christmases saved. We're astonished. But we aren't done. There are more people in need here, and we can't be content with where we've been. What we can do, however, is celebrate the journey.
All those thousands served are an amazing first step, and we think any good first step is about momentum. So let's sprint into 2018 with the strength and courage of a year well spent in 2017. Let's keep running.
Catalyst of Hope Forum
Part of the dreaming process this year was a special session with Reggie McNeal. Reggie is a City Transformation expert who literally wrote the book on what we're doing. In fact, his next book, Kingdom Collaborators, even has us in it!
His keynote message during the Catalyst of Hope Luncheon centered on Hope. It's easy, he said, to give in to fear. Our cultural climate seems to lean that way. But, as he looked out across the luncheon at over 400 men and women who came to celebrate and dream with us, he said something powerful:
Hope and fear square off every day in the human mind and in the human spirit. I feel like fear has been the predominant narrative in our culture… but then there are folks like you, who follow the narrative of Hope… you all are proving that Hope wins.
That high praise wasn't meant for 6 Stones. We're nothing without the community that supports us, and we're excited to serve in, with, and alongside that community again this year.
You can see more from Reggie — and download media from the Forum he led after the luncheon — here.
There will be plenty to do in the next 11 months, and we can't wait to do it all together with you. But before we get to work we want to be sure to thank the people who went above and beyond last year. We call them “Game Changers,” and that's an understatement. Take a look at what they did in 2017: