Monthly Archives: October 2012

i smile as i write…

I’ve had a wee glimpse into what it might feel like to be a proud mum who watches her kids succeed and flourish in these last few weeks. It’s not that I’m not always proud and inspired by our guys at Fusion, but the last few weeks have been particularly special for me.

Fusion were asked to run a couple of sessions for the Social Development department who were running a six week programme for kids who are from difficult backgrounds and are not in school any more. They had asked us to come and speak on identity and our body being sacred, with respect to substance abuse. It was super encouraging for us to be recognised as “specialists” in this field (their words, not ours!) but more exciting for me was watching two Fusion-ites who we’d brought with us get alongside the kids and then share their stories of change – what their identity used to be and where they were heading now. Listening to them honestly reflect on their journeys, the struggles, the ongoing temptations but the freedom they were experiencing filled me with great hope…did my eyes well up? Yes maybe a little.

Every Tuesday night we meet for worship –  it’s the only time when the whole Fusion community can come together and so it’s a really fun family time. We’ve been encouraging the guys we’re working with to step up and lead these gatherings and the result has been beautiful. Again, I (and the team) get to sit back and reflect on the stories of how these young people have changed, of how they are now moving forward and taking responsibility for their own stories. This past week I asked one of our guys if he thought he was ready to mentor someone else. His immediate response was nooooo, I’m not ready, I keep making mistakes, I can’t do it. In worship on Tuesday we had a new friend join us who was in the middle of cold turkey coming off heroin. As the group went into the prayer room for a time of painting, the guy, the one who wasn’t ready to mentor, stayed behind with this new guy and prayed and talked him through his pain, sharing some of his story and just being with him. It wasn’t big or dramatic, in fact it was entirely natural, how could he not help him when he’s been there? And just like that, he was ready to mentor!

Meanwhile, in the prayer room, one of our girls led us through a time of reflecting on God as a promise keeper and asking God what promise he wanted to remind us of today as we painted. One of my very old girls was back and she reflected on God as being light in

her darkness, another guy declared that God was like a light house, bringing light to him and showing him where to go, another painted one of the most amazing pictures I’ve seen in a long time (Sarah Portal I must show you this!). God just reminded me that he was with me, he was with us and he is busy!!

Could there be anything more? Well yes actually. Since I’ve arrived back in February 2011, I’ve been praying for God to grow and develop the female team. I’ve spent the last year walking alongside Fatiema (see https://itisnolongeri.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/home-part-1/) and it gives me HUMUNGOUS pleasure to share that she is now working with Fusion ten hours a week…to begin with, we hope. Yey! Also, during the 24-7 prayer week, we met a young woman called Chantelle who is originally from Manenberg and really loved what we were about. She’s passionate about meeting people where they are and is volunteering some of her time to meet young people on the streets and begin the process of relationship building. This is so exciting. In the space of a few weeks, the female team has grown and we are excited to see what God’s thinking in all this!

What does all this teach me? Well, that investing in people over a long period of time, building meaningful relationships WILL bear fruit. It teaches me that prayer works. It teaches me that God loves the broken hearted. It teaches me that God’s timing is not mine. And it fills me with hope…and so we invest and we build and we pray and we love and we wait.

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Voice

I feel their eyes boring into me. A piece of my body. Stolen.

I feel their eyes underdress me. A piece of my dignity. Stolen.

I hear their examination of my body. A piece of my self-worth. Stolen.

This is not who I am – not an object, not their possession, not a thing to be critiqued.

I am a woman.

Why is it that this kind of theft is acceptable – that I can’t make an insurance claim on my self-worth…for my self-worth is a lot harder to replace than a cell phone?  And why, in that moment of robbery, do I, a strong, self-confident, empowered woman, lose my voice? Why do I not have an answer or a response? Well, I am a Christian and so I must turn the other cheek, I must love my neighbour, I must bless and not curse. But, is it really loving to allow injustice to continue, is it really like Jesus to allow oppression to persist?

I’ve been a bridesmaid three times now and at each wedding, I’ve cringed when the moment has come for the best man to stand and “congratulate” the bridesmaids on being so beautiful. Congratulate – as if my beauty is something measurable and worked for. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be thought of as beautiful, but I don’t want to be beautiful if it means I can’t be strong, or intelligent, or a good friend. Or, even worse for me is the tender moment in a wedding ceremony when the couple are making the most important vows they will potentially ever make – the man promises to love, honour and cherish you always…and the woman, to love, honour, cherish and obey.  What is it about women that make society think they are things to be controlled? What are we afraid of – that a woman who is not below a man is an “unmanageable” thing? That another human being does not also have the right to free will?

But, this is not a rant about women’s solidarity, but about humanity.

When I am stolen from in a moment of objectification, the young man who shouts at me is also robbed of his true identity. He is a man. He is made in the image of God and he has been stolen from, by who, I don’t know, maybe himself, but this man is as disempowered as me in that moment – despite how it might look. And when a man needs a woman to obey him rather than partner with him, well, surely neither can fully understand what it is be fully human, to be fully alive. To be controlled or to control is to miss the beauty of equality.

Even as I write this, I can’t help but feel like I, a woman usually permitted to speak, to dress as I wish, to do what I want and who is considered as an equal in the workplace and in my relationships, has no real understanding of what inequality can actually look like. And I hold that. My heart breaks for the woman whose culture forces their lips shut or for the woman locked indoors for her only use is sex, or the man who shops for wives or pretends that the woman on his computer screen is real. But inequality is unacceptable and if there are those with no voice, or no understanding of anything more, or better, how can they speak?

So in this world of inequality, where we find so much brokenness, so much inequality, so much un-humanity who will speak up?

I am a woman and I am equal to every other human being who walks on this earth.

I am a woman and I have influence.

I am a woman and I have a voice.


Learning to lament (Warehouse newsletter)

Check out the latest Warehouse update with a cheeky wee snippet from Fusion’s 24-7 prayer week!

Apologies if a few words are lost, I’m experimenting with just copying and pasting it as is but I can’t shrink it anymore!

Enjoy.

 

The harvest is past, the summer has ended and we are not saved!  Jeremiah 8.20

 

During the 1980s in South Africa we were heading towards an abyss of our own making; the night was looking very dark and hope was elusive. In looking back on these times the Church in South Africa can lay claim to a signficant heritage of involvement in the struggle for justice. However, we also need to confess complicity, both active and through our silence, with the system of Apartheid and the forces that sought to keep it in place. And then … God moved in response to the cries of his people, and the miracle of the rainbow nation was birthed. A harvest field of reconciliation and transformation lay ready for the workers to get into the fields.

 

But we are not saved. 

 

Despite the wealth of our country we still live with unacceptable levels of poverty, made all the harder by its juxtaposition against the wealth of the rest of us. Those of us with wealth and resource are able to get on with our lives, only occasionally noticing this reality via the inconvenience of a service delivery protest or a trip to the airport past the realities of how people are living right on the city’s doorstep. As the Church we must listen with our whole being to this current reality and lament …

 

Because, it is still true that in South Africa:

 

·       35% of children in South Africa live on less that R300 a month

·       1, 9 million children live in informal dwellings

·       36% of children don’t have access to drinking water in their home

·       1 in 5 children live in households where children go hungry

 

But we are not saved. 

 

Despite our image as the rainbow nation we remain a deeply divided country, particularly by race and economics. Jesus has given us the ministry of reconciliation and yet there remains a lack of reconciliation amongst us, his followers. We, the Church of Jesus, have tried and yet often found it too hard and so failed to take a lead in this regard. So, for the most part, we simple reflect the society around us.  The work of reconciliation is difficult and often scary, and yet the fruit is rich and long lasting. We cannot let this stop us any longer; we need to expend ourselves in this harvest field.

 

But we are not saved.

 

We must once again discover the art of lament, to cry out to God in the belief that he will hear our cry and heal our land. I believe that we are facing another Kairos moment in South Africa. The harvest fields are still there and if we hear his call and get to work in prayer and in obedient prophetic action that works towards justice in our land, we will yet see the healing of our land.

Craig Stewart  

 

“The language of lament is direct and truthful about suffering; it names the unnameable to God and in doing so helps heal our doubts and restore our faith in our power to call on God to act on our cries.  This makes life worth living.” (Denise Ackerman – After the Locusts)

 

Investing in healing – helping the Church help children face their trauma

 

“One child who participated in one of our We Have Hope workshops had witnessed his sister’s murder in front of him and the trauma of this was obviously affecting his entire life, but most particularly, his schoolwork,” explains Lillian Zweni, of Care for Kids. A phone call from his teacher a week ago confirms that the workshop process that 15 children went through, is bearing much fruit. “She said that this child’s handwriting has even changed,” says Lillian, “and he is able to focus at school again, and is doing so well. The trauma was blocking him from focusing at school and helping him face the shock and loss has meant he is able to engage with learning.” It has been well documented that children in trauma stop learning.

Fifteen children connected through a community church participated in the nine-session workshop that helps children in continuous trauma. Lillian has learned from social workers, doctors and psychologists who are experts in helping children who have faced extreme trauma, and is taking that learning to church communities in the Cape Town area. The workshops are not tense, as one may expect, but full of play, laughter and fun. “It’s important to create a safe environment for children as we encourage them to identify a ‘safe’ person in their life that they can engage with and tell something they have never verbalised before,” says Lillian. It was through this process that a number of children were able to be referred for more serious situations that needed intervention.

“I do believe this is something that the church must be equipped for and involved in,” says Lillian, “Because if we can open the space for children to face their trauma today, we will have a better society tomorrow. We need to break the cycles that lead to poverty, and create spaces where there is hope for a young person to become a responsible citizen and whole person in the future! We want to see children becoming all that God created them to be, with nothing holding them back.” The Care for Kids team is in the listening phase of working out how they can walk alongside churches in equipping them to deal with children in continuous trauma.

“What light are we being if we do not face these things? It starts with us, the Church of Cape Town, seeing people as God sees them and not letting our own prejudices blur where we invest our time, believing the lie that someone will not change” challenges Lillian, “And I challenge my own church with these things too.”

By Linda Martindale 

Every child who goes through these workshops is given a Teddy Bear as part of the trust and finding a ‘safe’ person to talk to. If you would like to donate a bear to a child, please email pat@warehouse.org.za

The Nation Bleeds – a letter to the South African Church

 

The nation bleeds; its soul is in torment as it searches for its identity and relief from the chains of its past.

The revolution that is in such demand is actually a cry for “Thy kingdom come.”

A cry for a different reality from the pain, sorrow and despair that dilutes our hope, freedom and justice.

 

The rain has returned as the rainbow disappears in the horizon.

The rainbow that was a hope that defined a new identity, but at the same time it was a symbol of promises and the hope they gave.

From the outskirts whispers cry, “Differences have become greater than our hope, and have laid bare our blindness to what could be. By no means are we ignorant nor fake, but the bleeding overwhelms us and the unsealed wounds pain us.”

 

To those who are called the Church; can we afford to remain cuddled in the elegance of our robes and the resonance of our opinions while the nation bleeds itself to death without amends?

Are we not they that are called to breathe life and call forth the dead from the grave of the eternal foolishness?

Are we not those whose hands carry the healing of broken reeds and displaced minds?

While the nation bleeds do we take the opposite roads hoping our cloaks remain spotless from the blood of many who so cry upon our deaf ears?

 

The rainbow has disappeared and the rain has returned.

Can not our voice command the sun to break forth in unrestrained victory over the darkness that so embraces the children of our soil?

Are we not they whose march trembles the foundations of all that is designed to lay siege of the balance of life that hold this nation together?

Are we not they who bear resemblance to him who shifts human history and rearranges the order?

It is his story and he has invited us to write it with our obedience, to punctuate it with our intercession and to declare full stop after all has been said and done.

 

So as the nation bleeds, let us shepherd,

As the nation bleeds, let us heal,

As the nation bleeds, let us declare, as God spoke of Israel in Isaiah, Live!

By Luthando Tofu

 

 

 

“A nation and a health system under extra pressure from a quadruple health burden, requires extraordinary effort. South Africa has many of the essential ingredients in place to save hundreds of thousands of lives – will we act in time?”

The Lancet, Health in South Africa

 

http://www.micahchallenge.org.za

 

 

Get in touch with us …

 

Call us: 021 761 1168

Email us: info@warehouse.org.za

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Visit us: 12 Plantation Road, Wetton, CT

 

Siyaphila – hope and healing in grief and bereavement groups

 

It is a privilege to have had a small part in the initial planning of this project and been asked to write the foreword for this report. Grief and trauma are a part of many individuals’ daily lives in South Africa. The effects thereof are, however, often unrecognised or ignored, particularly in the context of communities which struggle with poverty, employment insecurity, violence and instability. There are many demands on the daily lives of women in these contexts, yet seldom are they offered psychosocial support and an opportunity to explore, express and process their feelings.
Churches are a place of hope and spiritual healing, yet may not be able to provide the specific support needed in the face of continuous trauma. The grief and trauma project has highlighted just how important structured and planned interventions such as these are. The participants’ responses to the project are evidenced in this report. This intervention has created an opportunity for participants to gain perspective, an understanding of the process of grief and trauma and the effects thereof on their daily lives, and more than that – a sense of hope.
Hope is what enables each of us to face the day, gives us a reason to go on, to believe in a better future. This project has shown that, despite circumstances that may not easily change, interventions such as the grief and trauma project can be effective in enabling women to cope with grief and trauma, experience a renewed belief in themselves, improve personal relationships and understand ‘reasonable’ hope.
I believe it is a project which has the potential to expand and enable many more people who have experienced and live with trauma, grief and loss to explore constructive ways of working through their losses and find a hope for the future.

 

Pat Mayers, D Phil. Associate Professor
Division of Nursing and Midwifery
Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town

 

Top read the full report click here

 

 

 

God wants to be with us

 

 

Mary*, a mother of three children spent hours (day and night) crying out to God for the community of Manenberg. The beauty of this story is that normally she is house-bound due to an abusive husband and yet in the prayer week, while he was away with work, she was released to cry out to her Father in a place of refuge and belonging in the prayer room. Her and her children joined Fusion for community times of worship, meals and night duty.

The week of prayer in Manenberg took place at the beginning of August – it was not in reaction to the gang war that was raging at the time, but it did coincide with it. What a backdrop for prayer! The time exceeded our expectations of God and what He asks of us. The week was about more than ‘just’ prayer, but about family, about loving our neighbour and about providing a peaceful space to engage with God.

We watched as former drug users, hurting church members and people from all over Cape Town continued to show up, day by day, and weep over the beautiful community of Manenberg. Amidst our tears and pain, we found peace, we were healed, we were forgiven, friendships were formed, religion was dismantled, rules were broken, guns stopped shooting and God was with his people.

 

“If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land” God wants to be with us.

By Clare McVittie  

Worth reading

 

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on the call to lament …

 

 

‘Cry aloud to the Lord!’ writes Jeremiah in his Lamentations, ‘Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night … Arise, cry in the night, at the beginning of the watches. Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord!’ (Lam 2:18,19). Click here for more.

 

St Francis, Pray for Us

 

 

The life and witness of Francis is as relevant to the world we live in today as it was 900 years ago.  He was one of the first critics of capitalism, one of the earliest Christianenvironmentalists, a sassy reformer of the Church, and one of the classic conscientious objectors to war. Read more of Shane Claiborne’s piece on St Francis.

 

Worth supporting
If you would like to partner with us financially, please click here to find out more about how best to do it. Thanks so much.

Worth checking out

 

 

Design Infestation do our design and graphics work as a way of cheering The Warehouse on and their CSI. We love them, and not just for making us look so good, so often! The Annual Report that they designed for us last year won two awards this past month – for best design and best communication. Thank you Infestation team! If you missed it and would like us to post you a copy, please drop an email with your postal address tolinda@warehouse.org.za

 

Worth screening


Don’t laugh too loud or let your jaw drop too low when watching this brilliant movie set in the 1960s, USA. It’s not as far off as one may at first think. Whilst it may not be legal and likened to ‘slavery’ in the typical sense any more, there are many hard-hitting truths in this movie related to how domestic workers are treated today — in 2012 in South Africa. Well worth watching with some friends, and chatting about similarities or connections that you see taking place as the ‘norm’ in your community.

 

Worth getting a copy

 

 

A brilliant book guiding Jesus followers into a new way at looking at the world in ways closer to the way Jesus did. Click here to order it through Kalahari.net. It comes with a transformation warning  though!

 

Worth thinking about

 

 

For the believer there is no such thing as a ‘minimum wage’. It does not matter what your neighbours pay someone who works for them, or what the government says the minimum wage is … that is buying into a status quo that is not pleasing to God — our Father, who promises that in his kingdom there will be enough for everyone. How are you treating the people who work for you? Do you take advantage of people’s desperation for work? God is pretty clear from Genesis to Revelation about how seriously he takes this. Perhaps it is as simple as these things that Jesus said: “Do to others as you would want them to do to you if you were in their position.” Or “Love your neighbour …”


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