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!



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





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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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