When Shattered brings people together to celebrate, something special happens. People connect. But they don’t just connect for the sake of expanding their networks or to simply get something out of it. They connect at a deeper level through the stories they share. When people come to a Shattered celebration, there’s a feeling in the air of welcome. Those who enter are greeted with a refreshing authenticity. It’s a place where stories are shared, friends are embraced, and new connections flourish.
Last week, nearly 300 people, including 14 community vendors, came together for Shattered’s first official Community Celebration as we released our fall issue. Everywhere we turned, someone was being enveloped in a warm embrace; a handshake was signaling the beginning of a meaningful connection…
and a smile was being shared to encourage a feeling of belonging.
Within a few short hours at the celebration, I reconnected with an old acquaintance over the directions God had led our careers, listened to a mother and daughter share their hopes for their Gospel-centered business, and was touched to connect with the genuine people who are impacting our community -people like She’s All That, a boutique that mentors under-resourced girls and turns all profits into life-changing scholarships for them.
But my story was just one of the many that unfolded during the celebration. Our vendors had gathered to share their hope with the members of the community, but they ended up sharing hope with each another too. One shop came to sell their own wares and connected with Aggie’s Arts, another vendor at the event, and decided to begin carrying their jewelry made by women in Africa who are giving hope to their families through their trade. Doulos Partners sparked a connection with a local university when they realized they shared a common heartbeat for spreading the hope of Jesus to all.
Not only that, but the community itself poured hope back into these organizations. Bags of hygiene items, diapers, Macaroni & Cheese and more lined the wall behind the Manna House table, waiting to be taken to bless the lives of others in need. Copies of Shattered’s fall issue, filled with stories of relationships, grace and reconciliation, made their way into over 50 hands. Each purchase helped support For Life Ministries to impact the orphaned and oppressed both here in Huntsville and abroad.
It’s becoming increasingly clearer to us that we are a part of creating something bigger than just a magazine – we’re creating a movement. If that was just a snapshot of our first Community Celebration, we can’t wait to see what will happen with our next celebration in November! For now, we will continue to be fueled by the encouragement we witnessed and experienced. We are grateful to be a part of seeing this community grow. To all who made this day so special, we thank each of you wholeheartedly for becoming part of our movement by revealing what can happen when we connect in real life, share real hope, and find our real purpose together.
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[Images via Matt Chandler Photography]