A little Cape Town church with a big heart is inviting people of all backgrounds and cultures to join in with its new ‘Life Centre’. What’s it planning, who’s rooting for it and how might this be an opportunity for you (yes, you)? NANINE STEENKAMP found out
Come to the table! Currently inviting partnership opportunities, the CHS Life Centre is intended by the Church of the Holy Spirit in Kirstenhof (CHS) to support a wide range of South African communities on a daily basis | Top pics: the church as is, and what it plans to become. Bottom pic: a birthday celebration at the church
WHY A LIFE CENTRE? WATCH OUR WONDERFUL VARIETY OF VIDEO INTERVIEWS TO FIND OUT WHAT’S ALREADY HAPPENING, AND WHAT A LIFE CENTRE COULD MEAN IN PEOPLE’S LIVES
‘What’s the CHS Life Centre and why are we building it? There are amazing life stories already happening in this place, and a multi-functional life centre open seven days a week will support so many more people. Spiritual and emotional needs are deep, and we look forward to partnering with others to facilitate family and parenting support, school learning, skills training, business networking, conference facilities, a café and much more. We invite anyone who’s interested to engage with us!’ ANGIE TATE, CHS business manager and women’s group co-ordinator.Get in touch?
‘Coming to CHS was a breakthrough: I felt the love as soon as I stepped into the building. The Life Centre would help more homeless people get themselves together.’ LETICIA GORDON and JANINE STYNDER, who lived at Church of the Holy Spirit (CHS) for four months while participating in a rehab programme for homeless people. At the end of this article, watch Leticia and Janine’s great moves in their dance therapy class 🙂 Become part of the solution? Email here
‘This is a place that everyone’s invited to, a place that can connect communities. We’d love to partner with others who share that heart. We need to see people come together, stuff doesn’t need to stay the way that we see it.’ BRENDAN FOX, pastor at Cape Town’s Church of the Holy Spirit. Join the vision?
‘CHS really helped my grade 11 daughter with maths. The Life Centre can help school children a lot and open the doors for other people in the community. I’ve learnt a lot at CHS, how to use the computer and I’ve met people from different cultures. I have grown.’ PATIENCE MAKHOSANA, CHS housekeeper and co-ordinator of its MomSpace programme. Find out about MomSpace or the CHS community?
‘I’m proud and grateful to be part of this community. CHS has shown me that our journeys are made more meaningful and wonderful when we’re surrounded by a caring community that embraces each other, imperfections and all, encouraging and supporting one another through all the hills and valleys faced both individually and as a community. I’m excited about the vision for the Life Centre to continue to grow and shape its people, myself included.’ JENNA GILMOUR, student at the University of Cape Town and member of CHS. Find out more or contribute to this community?
‘I was a gangster and homeless at one stage. In our Future Hope Ministry we teach young boys how not to follow in my tracks. We walk with Grade 7 boys and teach them about their identity, where they come from, where they’re going. My work is to create role models in the community to inspire people.’ RONALD ABELS, CHS missions co-ordinator, leader of Future Hope Ministries and son of Lilian Robertson (below). Help support at-risk youth?
‘Sometimes I can cry for feeling proud of Ronald and the excited man he has become since coming to this church. He’s an inspiration for me. I think the Life Centre will be a wonderful place.’ LILIAN ROBERTSON, mother of CHS missions director, Ronald Abels (above). Join or support this community? Email here
‘This church has worked with every person you might think ‘should not’ be part of a church! It’s trusted us in ways we never thought we would be trusted. The Life Centre will be a place where people know they have a community that champions them, and will provide opportunities for everybody to play a part.’ PHINIUS SEBATSANE, missionary to the homeless. Find out more or offer support?
‘We’re privileged to have youth from many different communities. We’re able to come to one space, visit each other’s lives, learn to see each other. For South Africa to have good leaders and a future, we need to be providing young people with opportunities to grow.’ ZANE LIEBETRAU, CHS youth pastor. Contribute to opportunities for youth?
‘My community is poor and its people are very excited to be part of the Life Centre. If students can study there and use the internet and wifi, it will be a great help. At CHS they don’t judge you. I feel like I belong. I’d like to avail myself to help out at the centre.’ THERESA MAARMAN, Capricorn township resident and nurse. Find out more about the CHS community?
BIRD’S EYE VIEW: WHAT THE LIFE CENTRE WILL LOOK LIKE INSIDE
Flexibility is key in the planning of the CHS Life Centre, which will not be a building used only by the church on Sundays but a facility accessible to all throughout the week. Plans for this two-storey building currently include spaces for spiritual growth and worship; relating (family strengthening, youth mentoring, a café); learning (skills development and training for all ages, after-school care and mentoring); work and business (resources for entrepreneurs and small business, work readiness, free wifi); well-being (counselling, crisis and addiction support, play facilities and exercise programmes); leadership (support for government and non-government organisations, skills development); and media and arts (creating space for communication, expression, healing and worship).
The community has been actively involved in developing the vision for the Life Centre for a number of years, and half the funds needed have already been committed. Additional partners are needed to make the vision a reality, and anyone interested in partnership opportunities is invited to make contact (see details below).
CARE TO FIND OUT MORE?
If you have skills, expertise or support to offer, would like to find out more about partnership opportunities in the Life Centre or feel moved to get involved in a particular project, contact CHS business manager Angie Tate by email, or WhatsApp her on +27 (0)71 546 2218 during office hours. Visit the CHS website here
Enjoy these snapshots from the life of CHS, whose members are inviting everyone to participate in, benefit from and/or support the Life Centre for the common good
WHO’S INVOLVED? CHS (Church of the Holy Spirit) is the youngest member of St John’s Anglican Parish, Wynberg, which has been active in Cape Town for over 180 years. Situated at the intersection of poor and privileged suburbs, its stated mission is ‘to reconcile people with God and with each other’. Organisations already involved in the planning of the Life Centre include neighbourhood watches, ratepayers’ associations, police stations, NPOs, volunteers from different networks and churches across many denominations
LOVE ANOTHER VIDEO? Sit back and relax to this vibey snippet of the rehab-programme participants enjoying dance therapy at CHS! Janine and Leticia, our interviewees above, are in grey top (Janine) and black/white jersey (Leticia)