A Jesus Family

Circle of Hope community is also a family. Cells are also a family.

Thoughts on Cell

Cell is definitely the place where I have found the people who helped me to grow in the past two years. (For the record, that’s how long I have even known about the cell movement.) Right now in my cell, we are reading through the Gospel of Mark. It’s the most action-packed, fast moving of the accounts of Jesus’ life and probably also the first one written. It moves at a great pace and that may be why it’s so good to read aloud with a group. There’s so much action to react to. In this gospel, like the others, there are many promises of Jesus for us. I thought about one in particular that I need to be true to right now.

I am glad to be reading Mark with others to try to understand it. Even more importantly, I’ve found that Jesus keeps his promises to his followers. I’ve experienced this through something as seemingly small as a cell of eight people. Last week we read chapter three in Mark where Jesus is healing the people who come to Him with all their sickness and pain. Jesus’ family is less than thrilled about his miracle workings. Mark writes that “When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. ‘He’s out of his mind,’ they said.” Later in the chapter, Jesus’ family is waiting outside of a house to talk to him while he is busy teaching his followers. They send a message in to him in hopes of summoning him. He responds that his true mother and brothers and sisters are anyone who does God’s will. I told my cell that I needed this to be true and that they are the reason I know it’s true. In the cell there’s a sense of connectedness and shared purpose that feels like a family only Jesus could put together. I’m getting this from a group of people I just met 5 weeks ago! My cell is just forming and finding how we relate as a little unit but the promise, I think, has already been kept.

-Jerome Stafford, reporting

Jerome moved to Philadelphia in 2014 for seminary and was immediately enveloped into Circle of Hope’s community. He served as a Cell Leader Coordinator before becoming an apprentice pastor in 2015. He married Darcy in March 2015. Their son, Ellison, was born May 2016. The Staffords reside in Southwest Philadelphia.

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