We are delighted to be able to announce that the St John’s Parish Council Executive and CHS Pastorate have both given unanimous approval to start with the first phase of the Life Centre – demolition and piling! After many years of prayer, a lot of hard work, many generous donations, the help of some amazing partners, a few miracles along the way and God’s incredible provision, we will be breaking ground in August.
We give thanks for the council building approval which we received on 9 July, the roughly R21 million raised in pledges thus far through donations both large and small, and for the prayers and encouragements which have kept us going even when we felt our strength was not enough. Please join us in sharing the story and praying for the remaining R4 million needed to reach our minimum build cost. We look forward with great expectation to all God will do by the transforming power of his love.
In this series we unpack some of the topics that are often avoided in our church services, as we realise how we are discipled by both Christ and the culture we find ourselves in.
Microsite Reflections – a church community perspective
It is amazing how the microsite came to be through relationship and word of mouth (and God’s nudging). Somebody spoke to somebody who spoke to somebody…… and the CHS Pastorate found ourselves unanimously agreeing to open up the church for a group of homeless women. I love how God works in our hearts without us even noticing. It was so exciting to be a part of this wonderful effort. After meeting Phinius and Katlyn Sebatsane we spent a few days moving all of the chairs and stage boxes out of the church. We had a wonderful time dividing the hall into sections to fit mattresses and side tables for the ladies and making the hall feel like home. We converted the Upstairs Room into a lounge with a tv and blankets against the cold. The cottage used for the creche was turned into a washing area, with a borrowed washing machine installed and washing lines strung up behind the church.
I was so touched by the many many offers of help from the CHS community. So many people supplied food, bedding, clothing and their time (the most valuable). It felt like a real community effort.
And yes, there were times when things were difficult, but God, as always, was so gracious and loving and patient with everyone.
A real highlight for me was getting to know Phinius and Katlyn Sebatsane who were the site managers and generously gave themselves to these ladies, sleeping in a makeshift bedroom we had created in the cry room. They are an inspiring couple who are Jesus to people on the streets of Muizenberg. And I think that this is one of the things that really struck me – that by welcoming these women into our building, and loving them, we were being Jesus to them. What an incredible honour that proved to be. To be a part of restoring dignity and giving people hope – not much can top that.
The second thing that struck me was how many groups and people (outside of CHS) have been a part of this effort. I had no idea that so many communities had invested their time, energy and resources into the lives of these women. It is a wonderful thing that CHS has been connected, through these ladies, to so many who have so much to offer. Again, what an incredible privilege.
Although my role in the Microsite has been mainly as grocery shopper and administrator (with the odd bit of window fixing), I cannot express what a huge blessing it has been to be a part of this effort. Our CHS community has shown what it is like to be Jesus to others and I hope that we can continue to do this on an even greater scale in the future. It feels like the action of opening our church as a home has birthed something that is as yet, without form, but I can feel the potential for us to do more.
Thank you CHS for being you and for being Jesus to others
Microsite Reflections – Opening a door to what God desires
The following was a 2020 reflection (approx. 3rd quarter), in the midst of COVID lockdown and Gods work.
Keep on praying for us.
God bless you
Here I Am.Send Me
An original Christmas song inspired by Isaiah 61 and Isiaah 9.
May you know God with us this season, even in the midst of all the chaos happening across the world.
The Young Leaders Colab
Exploring faith and life
The team of Youth Pastors in the Parish of St. John’s have been on a deeply transformative journey over the last 3 years, much because of our time at the SJLA. Questions about discipleship, faithfulness and context have emerged, and together we have wrestled with what it means to follow Jesus faithfully in a fragmented city like Cape Town. The important role of leadership has come into sharper focus for us and in our wrestle we have discovered that leadership requires an address, it has to find location somewhere and has to be an active practice of action and reflection. As a team we recognised the need to be having these conversations with our young people as an imperative of our discipleship task. We recognised the need to foster spaces where young leaders could consider how their faith in Jesus helped them and us navigate really significant social challenges within our society. Our picture of God has certainly expanded over the last few years, our relationships have deepened and we are discovering healthy ways to collaborate as we pursue being one Parish with multiple stories.
This journey is what we wanted to invite others on, a journey that would deepen our theological reflection and grow our discipleship. This was essentially the start of the Young Leaders Colab, a 14 week leadership journey for those 16 – 22. YLC was birthed out of the desire to grow young leaders in community. We designed and covered 5 modules that included exploring our stories, unpacking the idea of collaborative leadership and considering the significance and process of critical thinking. We also looked at the spiritual practise of friendship and explored ways to foster a new imagination. The rhythm of meetings meant that we met for two consecutive weeks and then had an off week – so as not to rush the process but to create time for reflection. Every week we gathered (online) we started our time together looking at the life of Jesus and in particular , we camped in the Gospel of Luke reflecting on 10 movements of Jesus growing a deeper and more faithful picture of discipleship and the call to follow him here in our world.
25 young leaders joined the YLC journey from across the Parish and St. Peters. It was a mixed group of people from across socio-economic, cultural, racial and gender divides. It meant that young leaders could reflect on their own experiences in this city but also that of others – could share about their communities and the schools they attend and places they frequent and explore their own theology and how that influences how they live in this world. For us this was only the beginning of a long walking together in discipling and growing leaders for a City in great contestation. In the midst of a very trying and challenging year, these 14 weeks brought me great delight and hope. I am so thankful for the Youth Pastors team in this Parish – we do have some really phenomenal (younger) leaders: who think deeply, who love God above all else, who are actively discipling others in their following of Jesus and who want to be faithful in their leading in this city. It is beautiful to bear witness to their formation.
Parish Youth Pastor
You can watch the 5-part YLC series on YouTube here.
The Parish Worship Night collaborations have emerged from a number of stories that have somehow come together at a time when we have been forced to be away from each other and stay in our corners rather than do something new and fresh. Some of those stories are being able to lead worship at different churches in the parish, young people gatherings and camps, staff prayer mornings, staff retreats and lots of other opportunities to have different people from all over the parish leading and worshiping together.
When Covid hit and things started to move online, there was a Good Friday Service that had been put together by the Parish Leadership Team, where all the Ministers shared on ‘Jesus’ Seven Words from the Cross’ and different worship leaders took part in the service. This was one of the most beautiful things to witness, as it gave a picture of “One Church with Six Expressions”. That was followed by a Worship Night that we premiered on Easter Sunday. And we followed that up with our first online Parish Worship Night on Pentecost.
At the time we recorded remotely and sent each other the music recordings and videos which were synced and edited together to try and make them sound decent. This evolved to what we now are now doing monthly, with in-person filming and recording, observing all Covid protocols. We hope to move to some sort of live streaming events soon.
But the Parish Worship Night is not just about a bunch of people who love Jesus and music, coming together to worship, and inviting those watching to join in – although it is all of those things too! It’s also about a variety of styles of music, leadership, experience and theology coming together, being embraced and challenged. We have had some meaningful engagements through devotion, conversation, prayer and we’ve also had new songs being written and shared over the past few months. In addition, we’ve started reading and engaging with a helpful book that focuses on diverse worship –The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World, by Sandra Maria Van Opstal.
And so the Parish Worship Night has been a catalyst for more collaboration and exploration of skill sharing, exchange in musicians and singers across the Parish, song writing and developing a theology for our worship as Capetonians and South Africans that is different to other parts of the world. That has included challenging the style and language we have adopted formerly without questioning what it means for the communities we lead.
What we have witnessed and been part of, within and outside of our monthly gatherings, are a bunch of people who love God and so, too, love people, and have met through this common love for leading ourselves and others in worship. For the November collaboration, we managed to have a socially-distanced meal together as tangible way to be with each other around the same table because we actually also want to, as our friendships deepen.
written by Charlie Alexander
Youth Worker, St Peter’s Mowbray
Advent Kids Video Series
In case you don’t get a chance to go to church this season, our children’s ministry team have created a weekly video series for the season of Advent.
Week 1 is a short children’s introduction to the season of advent.
You can find the other videos of this series and more from our amazing kids church team within this playlist