Working and praying for change.
The Warehouse works for and longs to see authentic change in SA.
The Warehouse seeks to achieve its vision by inspiring, equipping and connecting churches to become a transforming and transformative presence in their communities effectively addressing poverty, injustice and division.
We envision that:
Parts of the Church in South Africa played a role in the downfall of apartheid and now it needs to rise up and bring about a more just society together.
South Africa faces massive inequality and the church is well placed to tackle this and bring about a more just society
The Cape Town Metropolitan Region is located at the south-western tip of South Africa, in the Western Cape Province. It is characterised by spectacular physical beauty; historical significance and tremendous economic inequalities. In this city of approximately 4 million people there are extravagant shopping malls, world-renowned wine farms, late model luxury cars and leafy suburbs. However, the reality is that for the bulk of Cape Town’s population, these are an illusion. In this city the signs of economic inequality are everywhere. 300 000 people do not have access to adequate sanitation. Thousands live in make-shift homes.
The Parish is located in a section of the city called the Wetton Lansdowne Philippi Corridor. This corridor includes some of the richest suburbs of Cape Town in the West with the central and eastern areas housing some of the poorest. The Warehouse is physically located in an industrial area situated between these areas enabling easy access in all directions.
The Warehouse has been serving churches in Cape Town, and South Africa, since 2002
The Warehouse Trust was established out of a desire to actively participate in the transformation of poor communities in Cape Town, through church-based community development initiatives. St John’s Parish is an association of six churches in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. In 1999 the Parish took the step of appointing a full time “Ministry Among the Poor” Coordinator in order to bring together the wide range of community development initiatives already running within the parish. But The Warehouse vision was to gather resources and projects together under one roof, and to establish a physical presence in the poor communities that lie along the boundaries of the parish. In 2001, the parish became united towards this vision, and in 2002, The Warehouse was officially born. We functioned more informally at first, from a small office and a double garage at one of the parish churches. But by the end of 2003 the Warehouse was formally established as a separate non-profit trust, and in the beginning of 2004, we started operating from the independent Warehouse premises from where we work today. The work we do has proven to be crucial over the years, even as our strategy has changed.
South Africa is at a critical stage in its history. The disparity between the rich and poor, still largely along the lines of race due to our apartheid history, threatens to crumble the hard-fought-for democracy. South Africa is divided. We are broken and disappointed. We yearn for authentic change, but have not seen it in fullness yet.
Recent student protests have highlighted our need for real change, for God to break in and heal our nation. It is our next step in the struggle for true shalom in our times. It is a time of crisis, and yet it is a time of opportunity and transformation. Parts of the South African church played a significant role in the liberation of the country from the law of Apartheid, and we believe it is the Church that needs to lead the way in the continued struggle for freedom from the spirit of separation, division and economic inequality.
Ephesians 3 verse 10 and 11 reminds us that God’s intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. Isaiah 58 says that God’s true fast is to loose the chains of injustice and untie the yoke of oppression, to share food, clothing and shelter, and not to turn away from our own flesh and blood. If we do this we will see our light break forth in the darkness. What an opportunity.
Many churches wish to see this, and are unsure how to best be a part of the transformation and revival in our land. Often the best attempts cause more harm than good. Many churches are desperately trying to shine the light of God into broken spaces with very limited resources. We help churches respond to their immediate context and the broader South African story in ways that cross the divides, help the Church share its resources and wisdom, be an effective voice of truth, and a light in the dark. Our intent has always been serving the Church in its response to poverty, injustice and division. How we do this has changed over the years.
During the past decade we shifted our modus operandi from helping churches run projects that met very real needs but did not bring lasting change, to walking alongside church leaders and their congregations, and strategic influencers in academic and other spheres, as they live out the true mandate of Jesus – to bring His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
The Warehouse stands in the gap, linking communities, crossing divides, breaking down walls, creating safe spaces for conversations that lead to change, developing and sharing resources, and equipping the Church in many different ways. When the Church is being all we are created and designed to be, the city and country will look different – there will be abundance, thriving, joy and genuine reconciliation.