In ancient times and in walled cities, there was always an important group of people who hung out at the city gate. It wasn’t a closed group, it was a group of people – often elders in the community – who cared about the city’s welfare and were interested in building community. This group was called the ekklesia which really means, ‘the called-out ones’. They were ‘called out’ because they were needed. People in the community would come to the gate -to the ekklesia– to seek their input in resolving disputes or have them witness important transactions. The ‘called-out ones’ provided such a benefit for the community that if this group ever ceased to exist, the city would truly mourn for their loss.
We have envisioned being a modern-day ekklesia in the city of Brandon; not a closed group that is focused inward, but an ever-growing open group of vibrant and helpful people, existing for the welfare of the community, and providing such benefit that if we ever ceased to exist, Brandon would notice and be saddened by the loss. Surprisingly, the word ekklesia is the word from which we get our English word ‘church’.
Therefore our name “The Gate Church Community” reminds us of Christ’s calling to group together as His ekklesia, expressing His care for the city of Brandon in practical and relational ways. Because our church community currently meets in Betty Gibson School, we have interpreted our calling to include the practice of being good neighbours and community-builders with the school and surrounding area.