The Warehouse: Working and Praying for Change in SA
An ecumenical organisation which has been serving churches in Cape Town and South Africa since 2002 is looking to partner with Catholic churches to help inspire, equip and connect churches to become transforming and transformative presences in their communities.
The Warehouse, an initiative of the Anglican parish of St John’s in Wynberg, is an association of six churches in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, and was established with a view to actively participating in the transformation of poor communities, through church-based community-development initiatives.
“Many churches are desperately trying to shine the light of God into broken spaces with very limited resources,” said Craig Stewart, CEO of The Warehouse. “We help the Church share its resources and wisdom, and be an effective voice of truth, and a light in the dark.”
Mr Stewart said the 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 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,” he said.
The core Warehouse programme team comprises teachers and preachers who are able to cover a wide array of topics related to justice, integral mission, and development.
They facilitate encounters to inspire and equip participants in integral mission theory and practice, as well as build relationships across various divides. Facilitating transformational encounters includes workshops, forums, experiential learning events, and conferences.
They also engage church leaders in creating opportunities for theological reflection, support, and mentorship as they lead in transforming churches and communities and facilitate reconciling relationships in a broken South Africa.
Their guide, Children, Church and the Law, is a full-colour practical guide for churches on the Children’s Act and other laws relating to children.
The book outlines general principles of the Act, issues around the safety and wellbeing of children, and the rights and responsibilities of both children and carers. It also addresses concerns around child labour, child trafficking, and other abuses.
It’s a practical book, written in simple English in a question-and-answer format. Its full-colour format allows for easy reference to the different sections. The book includes a glossary of terms used, real-life examples of application of the different principles, and snippets that illustrate the principle being described.
The Warehouse offers half to full-day workshops for church groups in which it does a presentation of the book and its application.
Mr Stewart said the organisation’s vision is to modify attitudes and behaviours in individuals and their families to live out justice and peace in their daily lives across neighbourhoods. The Warehouse works with local congregations serving their communities, through ministries and advocacy initiatives, and in networks of churches collaborating for transformation in South Africa.
“As followers of Christ, we are commanded to love God and our neighbour as priorities in our lives. Loving our neighbour is an individual act of care and relationship, but the love of neighbour that Christ calls us to also needs to be reflected in the greater systems, structures, policies, laws and processes of the community and society in which we live,” Mr Stewart said.
“This public expression of love is seen as what the Bible calls justice.”