2019 has started with a bang. School went back into session early this year, elections are coming up in May, and multiple state-capture and corruption commissions illustrate daily the multiplicity of ways in which we are struggling as a country to rid ourselves of our past, current and ongoing injustices. At times looking into 2019 feels like a dry wilderness and it is hard to have hope.
It was in a similar milieu that The Warehouse was established by the Parish of St John the Evangelist over 15 years ago. At the time we were seeing the visible fruits of the law of apartheid having been dealt with while its spirit remained well and truly alive, in the structures, neighbourhoods and daily lives of people across South Africa. This was made all the more intense by the HIV crisis that was decimating communities throughout the country. It was into this wilderness story that The Warehouse was established to serve the church in Cape Town and South Africa in response to these interwoven challenges.
This vision remains true in 2019. We work to see the church living out the peace and justice of God for the world, most specifically through local congregations in their neighbourhoods and cities. It is one of the privileges of our work that I get to experience these places of salt and light, where water- living water- is flowing out of surprising wells in the wilderness facing us, working to make things good again. Wells that look like churches and their members prophetically advocating for restitutive spatial justice policies and rebuilding homes in informal settlements alongside the residents after fires. Churches acting as hubs for homework and life skills clubs that build hope, connection and future for young people. Churches and their members providing welcome, care and friendship to people living on the margins, and creating community, healing and restoration.
If you pay attention it is always true that God is at work in the wilderness and that God’s people are responding to and collaborating with this work in remarkable ways.
This is our work; to come alongside churches and their leaders as they discern what God is doing, and equip them to respond to this tangibly and effectively. A few highlights of this work as we look forward to the coming 12 months include:
* Hosting the Leadership in Urban Transformation one year programme alongside Cornerstone and the University of Pretoria, in which we will be taking a group of leaders through a journey of exploring what it means to lead in Christ-centred urban transformation
* Launching the next phase of the Sustainability Programme focussed on churches and their leaders in the poorest communities of this city
* Expanding the Respond network which enables effective disaster response by the church into the Western Cape region and other urban areas of SA
* Working with a group of congregations to explore renewed ways in which church land can be used to promote spatial justice in Cape Town
* The local launch and implementation of our “Seeking Peace” resource which we developed with Tearfund UK last year.
Please do contact us if you’d like to find out more about any of the above or to hear how you can support these initiatives financially or otherwise. If you’re interested in reading more about our work over the past year you can download our most recent annual reporthereor visit ourwebsitefor various other content.
In Isaiah 40 the prophet declares comfort for the people of Israel in the midst of hard service, and then adds that a voice is calling, saying “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” As we look forward into 2019 and the years and decades beyond, whether in South Africa or elsewhere in the world, there is much to be concerned and anxious about. Signs perhaps that we are still in the wilderness. In the words of God spoken through Isaiah, it is precisely in these wilderness places and times that we must prepare the way for the Lord in the anticipation that the Lord’s glory will be revealed. In the years to come, we will, with many others, continue to do this work and we look forward to walking alongside you in this task.
By Craig Stewart
A Glimpse Into the Work of the Warehouse
In our latest podcast episode, we hear from a few of the Warehouse staff members about the work that they will be part of in 2019, and some exciting things to look out for.
This week we had a farewell lunch to celebrate a new chapter for Brian Koela, a beloved part of The Warehouse team for the past number of years. Brian and his wife Minah will be pioneering a beautiful new church community.
The Warehouse has various resources that we have put together over a number of years in response to some of the issues that we and our friends encounter in the work that we do. Find out more on our website!
This year we plan to continue the work that we have been doing in exploring how the church can play a key role in fostering spatial justice in the unjust geographical realities still so present in South Africa post-1994.
WWJV: What Would Jesus Vote?
The South African National and Provincial elections will be taking place in May this year. Should our faith as Jesus-followers factor into our decisions about who to vote for, and if so, how? Next month’s newsletter will be built around this theme and in it we hope to grapple with these questions and others.
If you have any questions in line with this theme that you would like us to address, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Journey With Us
The work of The Warehouse is largely sustained by individuals that believe in what we do and partner with us financially, often on a monthly basis. Would you consider coming alongside us in this way? Below are a few options through which you can do this.
Get a My School card at your nearest Woolworths store, put ‘The Warehouse Trust’ as your beneficiary, and a percentage of all your purchases from Woolworths, Engen and a couple of other shops, will support our work!
Simply download the snapscan app and set it up, scan this image, and you can give directly into our account!
Visit our website (click on logo for link) for other ways to give, such as EFT or givengain.