Our dear friends
It is with rather nervous excitement that we share with you that we are moving out of the building which has been our home for 17 years! This may seem like a very sudden announcement and so we wanted to share a bit of the journey which has led us to this decision.
It was October 2017. We were 4 days into a corporate discernment process, 6 years after the big strategic change which had taken place between 2009 and 2011 and once again we felt as if the ground was moving under our feet. We had just finished a prophetic imagination exercise and were reflecting on what each group or individual had seen, heard or experienced. While it is hard to pin down exactly what the moment was, or even what we knew for certain at the time, we do remember that we were suddenly looking at each other and realising that God was inviting us into a new journey and we needed to pay attention to the invitation. We also sensed that this invitation was one which couldn’t be discerned merely by a few more days spent listening together, but that this needed to be a more intentional process.
Over the next year, we worked on discerning the invitation in several ways: we were led through a writeshop process by some friends at the CDRA (Community Development Resource Association) who helped us explore our identity, our intentions, our context, values, strategies and guiding principles. This 6-month process resulted in a “Strategic Framework Document” – a living document which would change and adapt in response to the ongoing learning within our organisation. Working in a complex, constantly evolving context, this framework would help to underpin our work while allowing us to be highly responsive in the planning of our ongoing activities.
Through 2019, we explored new ways of working that enabled us to be more immersed in the communities of the churches we work with and less reliant on being in the same space at the same time to move work processes forward. At the same time, we began a specific process around the physical space we worked from. Something which had started with the prophetic imagination exercise in 2017 (in which no group saw our team still working from our location at 12 Plantation Road) had solidified into a knowledge that we were being invited out of the space we had made our home for so many years. In November last year, during another Corporate Listening and Discernment (CLAD) time, we felt God inviting us, amongst other things, to pay attention over the next 2 years to the experience of the journey through disorientation, discomfort and disequilibrium: To be alert, flexible, adaptable, patient and mobile (and to trust God in leading); to lean into being shaped and formed through the journey rather than arriving at answers; to listen to and be formed theologically and spiritually by others’ experiences of these moments (we are not the first on this journey); and to develop and harness the tools, knowledge and framework required to help others on this journey.
By our January CLAD this year, a very strong sense had developed amongst us, again with guidance in other areas, that 1. We were being called to leave our physical space with a sense of greater urgency and 2. That, almost like Abraham, we should be prepared to leave the space before we knew exactly where we would land up – an invitation into a bit of a liminal, nomadic existence for some time. And so, when the decision needed to be made as to whether we were going to renew our lease in April this year, our united conviction was that we would not be obedient to the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit if we were still in the building by March 2021 and so we informed our landlord accordingly.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that, when the lockdown was announced and we all quickly had to adapt to working from home, we felt like we had been very specifically formed as a community for that moment. This is just one thread in an ongoing “firming up” of our identity, of how we work, of how we view ourselves as a community and within our larger context – but a thread which has immediate and practical consequences.
Today we wanted to share with you, our community that has walked with us and supported us in our work for so long that, as of the end of this month, The Warehouse will officially have moved out of the Warehouse! Given the current context and our intention to move anyway this year it makes no sense to continue paying rent on a space, we are not using. We do not know where we will be moving to and there are some days that it feels really disorientating and scary, but mostly we feel gratitude and excitement; gratitude for the many years of relationships, stories, joy, grief, hard conversations, celebrations, prayer and transformation that we have been able to share with so many of you in the space at 12 Plantation Road; and excitement for what God is continuing to form in us as we take this step.
On Monday, 22 June, the staff gathered together (for the first time in 3 months and the last time in the building) with all safety protocols in place, for a time of celebration and thanksgiving and bidding farewell to the space. We hope to capture some of the stories and memories of gratitude and share those with you, and ask that you will join in praying for us as we take this step! At the start of the year, our intention had been to draw our community into this moment of transition and it grieves us that this is not possible given the current pandemic. For this we are sorry.
Although we won’t be in a physical space for the time being, you can still connect with us on facebook, on our website, through email and we will send you regular updates of the work we are continuing to do – both in specific response to COVID-19 and in the ongoing work of transformation in our city, country and world.
As the Church has shown during this time of physical distancing that we are a Body of people and not confined to a set of buildings, be assured that, even without a physical Warehouse, we will continue to be, with love and gratitude,
The Warehouse Team
(now known as “The Wherehouse” – sorry: couldn’t resist!)