Ecclesia is a place where people can form Godly, life-changing relationships. Havilah Giannetta (left in the above picture) and Cortney Matz (right) met at Ecclesia. Independently they were asked to talk write about their relationship. This is their story.
I think I met Havilah at least twice before really knowing her. Once at church (we are on the same rotation for volunteering – she does clean team, I’m on parking) and I have a dim recollection of swapping names and shaking hands. The second time we met was at Epiphany Space (a shared workspace in Hollywood) and I realized about halfway through my “I don’t think we’ve met, I’m Cortney” speech that we actually had met before and she was being gracious and pretending like we didn’t just do this last week.
Cortney maintains that we met at a prayer night at Epiphany Space, but even though we found out each others’ names, I really don’t remember that since I was focused on praying. I remember meeting Cortney November of last year during a Christmas tree decorating party at Ecclesia; We got into a fun conversation about writing and then she invited me to lunch with some of her friends.
Our friendship really began at the end of November/early December 2014. Michelle Hake had recruited some folks to help decorate the cafe for Christmas and we both wound up putting ornaments on trees. I was so intrigued by Havilah and had a great conversation about writing and God and life and trying new things. Others wound up joining our conversation and we all went to lunch. It was love at third sight.
I think what really bonded us was our drive to write. Cortney had just started a writing group with a friend of hers and invited me along. Part of the first conversation we had was about her cool Shakespearean webisodes series.
I love that Cortney is always up to try new things; the first time we were having lunch out, I wanted to try some dubious – smelling fish oil sauce, and Cortney was the only other person at the table who was willing to try it! I think we’re friends because we are equally earnest about serving God and creating. We love to encourage each other to actually do the things that God has put into our hearts, and not just to talk about them. Cortney definitely brings out my silly, obnoxious, and nerdy sides all at once! I love that she lets me be myself around her.
Havilah is a kindred spirit. She enjoys eccentricities – both her own and others’ – and can appreciate them and be affected by them without feeling a need to try and change them. I also love that she thinks deeply about God and Scripture and really takes seriously what’s written down for us to read and obey. And she makes me laugh. Holy cow, the girl will make you lose control of your bladder.
Our friendship grew because I needed a coworking space to write, and Cortney volunteers at Epiphany, which is a coworking space. Between that and the writers group, we simply ended up spending a lot of time together. Cortney let me sleep on her couch when I needed a place to crash in between moving, so I’ve gotten to learn a lot about her tremendous cooking skills and that we both share a love of comedic writer, Bill Bryson.
God began a real work of healing in my heart through befriending Havilah. For the first time in a very long time I quickly connected with a person in friendship and that interest was reciprocated – we spent a lot of time together and it didn’t feel like a burden on either side. We both have a pretty hefty work ethic, so ironically most of our “fun” times have been spent working.
Recently we became roommates and in the process of discussing how our apartment should be situated, we began questioning why living spaces are the way they are. So I grabbed my copy of “At Home,” by Bill Bryson, for whom we share a deep love, which is all about the history of the modern house and why we live the way we live. And we started reading it together. It’s been so fun. I think I have a crush on a man who died about a hundred years ago.
I think our most memorable adventure was a Beauty and the Beast sing-along at our friend Kara’s house! I grew up in a small southern town where I don’t think Christians would ever get together to have Disney sing alongs. The whole night was so fun and random and I’ll never forget it. I think it’s one of the things that you have to live in Hollywood to find an appreciation for.
Cortney is definitely someone that I love like my own sister. She’s also one of the most focused people I know when it comes to creative tasks, and in that way she’s a living inspiration and reminder of why I came to LA in the first place.
Hanging out with Havilah makes me turn God around in my imagination and wonder about him and his kingdom. The Christian life is not boring, y’all. It’s a fascinating experience and I love having Hobbes to bounce around all our observations and what-ifs. And it’s good to be loved and accepted as you are with all your quirks. Everyone should have at least one friend who does that.
Havilah keeps me sharp. I think God brought us together at this time and in this place to help each other fulfill our calling to him. 7 million is a lot of people, and it is comforting to know God has specific ones in mind for us.
I know that God uses our friendship to support each other and even those around us in our creative ministry. Whether it’s praying together, volunteering together, or working together, I know that God has used Cortney to stretch my faith and to heighten my expectancy for what’s possible. Cortney is also almost always ready to laugh, so God has provided a pretty consistent source of his joy through our friendship.
Want to share the story of how you and your friend met at Ecclesia? Leave a comment below!