Food security

Food security

August 25, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Food security

Since 1975, members of CMM have been offering meals as a way to help meet some of the needs of the city’s many homeless people.

Various role players run meal schemes for the needy in the City, and CMM fills some of the gap by offering Sunday lunch at the Service Dining Rooms in Canterbury Street. A core team of cooks and servers are (by and large!) ably assisted by ad-hoc volunteers to serve about 250 balanced and nutritious meals every week. The meal offering is a small but clear response to Jesus’ call to meet the needs of the poor. We do this as an extension of our worship and discipleship, trusting that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do for Jesus. We also do this for ourselves: in transforming the lives of others, we too are transformed. The CMM volunteers invariably arrive home late for Sunday lunch reeking of onion, but tremendous satisfaction is found amongst the difficulties of co-ordinating amongst ourselves and serving a broad range of guests.

Food security is a cornerstone of how we organise our lives, and knowing where our next meal is coming from frees us to pursue almost all other actions. The food we offer makes a slight difference to the hungry and homeless. Of much greater value is the consistency of what we do: offering the certainty of a hot meal to those who might otherwise go hungry is almost as good as the meal itself. By turning up every week, we offer care, friendship and welcome in a city that ignores and rejects the homeless at every turn. By consistently offering up our time, we acknowledge their humanity and ours, and build small bridges across our city’s great divide between rich and poor.

Thanks to all those involved in this work.

Peace to you from Bruce & the SDR team.

Licorice-All-Sorts

Licorice-All-Sorts

August 18, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Licorice-All-Sorts

Each day in the life of the CMM church office and sanctuary can be described as a packet of Licorice-All-Sorts when all kinds of people from all over the world pop in.

Sometimes we have neighbours dropping off gifts such as the olive tree we received from the Groote Kerk congregation. Other times we have visitors (local and overseas) who come in to admire the architecture, to inquire about the history of the congregation and building, or simply to entertain us with their piano-playing gifts or choir singing. Then there are also those times when people seek refuge and respite.

Jesus is also disguised in a variety of ways in this packet of Licorice-All-Sorts: a person with a distinct aroma expressing a deep hunger, the one who is in search of a candle to light whether out of need or gratitude, the one who needs a prayer or a cup of coffee, another who simply needs to chat and be listened to. We also have our hero’s — the NA and AA people who wrestle daily with their addictions and who often highlight for us our own addictions.

Each day we are surprised and challenged by Jesus  in and through the people who ring the bell at the church office or enter the doors of the coffee shop and the sanctuary as we go about our daily tasks of cleaning, paying bills, serving coffee, welcoming people.

We of course cannot do any of this without the prayers and help of the Saturday morning volunteers, Ma Lingeveldt, Aunty Stephanie, Silas as well as the congregation — thank you.

In gratitude for Licorice-All-Sorts,
Alan, Sharon, Arlene, Ken, Joyce, Sarah and Adrienne

Jesus' invitation

Jesus’ invitation

August 11, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Jesus’ invitation
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs. Matthew 19:14

Last Sunday after the worship service we started the conversation on how best to care for our young people. Thank you to those who joined the discussion, especially the youth, and for sharing your ideas as well as demonstrating your interest in our children.

Below are some of the suggestions and comments made during this meeting:

  • Make our children’s programme more visible.
  • Create a Youth Committee.
  • Malia and Sarah cannot do this on their own — volunteers are needed — even if it is an hour once in a while.
  • Have a sign up sheet for volunteers.
  • Include our children in worship.

What are your thoughts on what you can do with/for our Youth? Can you be involved with the conversation? Can you commit to praying for them — maybe even approach a young person today and ask how you can pray for them this week?

Join us again on Sunday 8 September as we continue our conversation and figure out how we can implement relevant suggestions. Input is needed and would be most welcome from all of our community, especially parents/care-givers and our young people.

Peace, Malia & Sarah

Picture: Erica Marshall flickr creative commons ~ family

 

Honouring women

Honouring women

August 4, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Honouring women
Picture: www.al-talib.org

South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute
to the thousands of women who marched on the Union Buildings on
9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women.

This historic march was a turning point in the role of women in the struggle for freedom, and society at large. Since that eventful day, women from all walks of life became equal partners in the struggle
for a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.

As we celebrate Women’s Month this August, CMM’s Women’s Fellowship would like to share what this group means to them, and especially the amazing ways in which God touches their lives:

We meet on the second Saturday of each month between 14:30 and 16:30 in the Sanctuary under the caring leadership of Zelda Cullum.

Our main focus is to offer prayer to all those in need; and our outreach programmes include visiting old age homes, assisting those in need of bursaries, empowering women to attend workshops to further their love for God, and assisting with fundraising for CMM as well as for the children of Heatherdale Children’s Home at their annual fête in October.

Apart from our core focus, we also find time for fun, pampering sessions – a time to relax and spoil ourselves! We interact with one another in various ways when, amongst others, we organise Mother’s Day when Sally shares her expertise with flowers, and then again when we prepare gift packages for Father’s Day. To see the smiles and gratitude of our CMM moms and dads are always a blessing for all of us.

As the seasons change, we find time to venture out into nature to walk along the Sea Point Promenade or to picnic in the Urban Park where we are reminded of the beauty of God’s creation. It also provides us with another opportunity to express our gratitude to God.

At the end of each year at Christmastime we give thanks and praise to God for the gifts provided in and through us by helping at the annual Christmas banquet for the homeless people of our city.

Our AGM will take place on Saturday 14 September 2013 at 14:30 in the Sanctuary. On that day a “TRE” (Tension, Release, Exercise) workshop will be facilitated by Monika Hayes. Please speak to Joy Thomas or Zelda Cullum if you would like to attend. Everyone is welcome.

Peace from all of us at the Women Fellowship.

The professional agitator

The professional agitator

July 28, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on The professional agitator

How would you describe Jesus to someone who has never ever heard of him?

A professional agitator? An anarchist? A seditionist?

Reflect on the picture and see what you think. Maybe write down or share your thoughts.

Peace, Alan

 

Mandela Legacy

Mandela Legacy

July 21, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Mandela Legacy

One of Mr Nelson Mandela’s immeasurable legacies is Mandela Day. In the spirit of this day the staff of one of our neighbours, the Inn on the Square, shared their 67 minutes of service with CMM by providing soup and bread for those who were hungry and cold.

 

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Nelson Mandela

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Nelson Mandela

 

We must use time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right. Nelson Mandela

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

 

A harbour in a storm

A harbour in a storm

July 14, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on A harbour in a storm

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) doesn’t work for everybody,
but when it does, it can be transformative.
Members receive tokens to mark periods of sobriety,
from 24 hours to one month to 55 years.

Photo: Todd Tankersley

 

To us in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Central Methodist Mission (CMM) has for long not just been a church, but it is also our trusted landlord and a harbour in a storm. The Sixth Tradition of AA and NA states that we are not allowed to “endorse, finance, or lend the AA or NA name to any related facility or outside enterprise”. This is to ensure that we are not diverted from our primary purpose, which is to carry our message to the alcoholic or addict who still suffers.

Despite this formal Lessor-Lessee arrangement we have with CMM, there is also a much deeper emotional connection. For many years now, the Ubuntu Room upstairs has been a safe harbour in the wild storms of life for many AA and NA members. Every weekday during lunch time, individuals from every walk of life meet upstairs to help each other stay clean and sober. What a wonderful feeling to know that there is one place, in the heart of Cape Town, where we are safe from the turmoil of living life on life’s terms. For people who have struggled to fit in with normal society for most of our lives, it is a refreshing change to always be welcome in the sanctuary of CMM.

I have never entered this building, without being greeted with a warm smile and even a loving hug when I looked as if I needed it. The smell of freshly brewing coffee and the bright tables and chairs of Heaven, make us feel even more at home and contribute significantly to the serenity we so seek and need.

We are truly grateful, to all of you for welcoming us in your midst and in your hearts and making it so much easier to carry our message to the still suffering.

Peace from all of us at AA & NA

Jesus of the outcast

Jesus of the outcast

July 7, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Jesus of the outcast

As a young artist, Timothy Schmalz faced some tough times. For the first few years he says he lived on a wooden bench in an old warehouse without heating or running water. He knows what it feels like to be on the outskirts of society. So he wanted to create a Jesus that the poor and outcast could relate to. Schmalz’ Jesus lies on a park bench. His face and hands are hidden under the folds of a heavy blanket. The only evidence of the Bible story is the statue’s pierced feet.

In these cold winter wet days we are reminded that Jesus had nowhere to lay his head. He was a refugee at birth and died on a state-owned cross at death. Jesus was homeless from Alpha to Omega. A park bench may have been his only option on occasion.

I invite you to use this picture of Timothy Schmalz’ ‘Homeless Jesus’ as an icon. Take time to reflect on what you see. Maybe imagine yourself sitting on the bench next to Jesus. Are you moved to speak to him or do you sit in silence? How do you feel?

Peace, Alan

Who takes care of us when God goes on holiday?

Who takes care of us when God goes on holiday?

June 30, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Who takes care of us when God goes on holiday?

During a recent lesson series in Sunday School,
the children explored the healing hands of Jesus and
also how they could use their hands in the service of Jesus.
Drawing their own hands helped the children explore the possibilities.

 

Some of you may recall a programme “Children say the Darndest Things”, aired on Springbok Radio on a Saturday morning. We would interpret that as “out of the mouths of babes”.

Through Bible stories I have read to our children over the past three years, these are some of their questions and comments:

The Bible says Sunday is a day of rest, so why do we come to Sunday School on a Sunday?

Instead of letting people die and making new ones, why doesn’t God just keep the ones he’s got?

Is God really invisible? I think he just likes playing ‘hide and go seek’ with us.

How does God know he is God and who made him?

Who takes care of us when God goes on holiday?

These are profound questions that only God can answer and interacting with these little ones can be both joyful and challenging. Their view of life is uncomplicated and simplistic and is it fascinating to observe and listen to their thought processes and what delights their curious minds. They live ‘in the moment’, where the small stuff of only the “Now” matters.

Children are a reminder that to view life through their eyes is to see a beautiful, colourful world, devoid of angst and lived with joy and a sense of wonder. Sadly, this is not the reality for many children in our society today.

For those in my care on a Sunday morning, it remains humbling to help them grow in the grace of Jesus, and they keep me focused on the God of the Small Stuff.

Grace and peace,
Malia Parker (Sunday School Co-ordinator)

Joyful and carefree creativity

Joyful and carefree creativity

June 23, 2013  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Joyful and carefree creativity

By using a handmade cardboard tool and a few strips of leather, Ashton learnt to knot a leather bracelet in a short space of time.

The places and ways in which we experience God are diverse from the mundane to the miraculous; for me it’s in the wonder of human resilience, hope and sheer enjoyment in life. Late on Sunday night I was woken from a deep sleep by a sound I couldn’t quite place. Eventually I realised that it sounded like a band. I stumbled out of bed and onto the balcony; there in the dark I saw movement. It was indeed a band, a dancing, moving band of people from little toddlers to older folks, playing a range of musical instruments, joyfully moving through the neighbourhood. It was a lovely sight. In that moment I thought of God, I saw God in the joyful, carefree movements of these people giving their neighbours a beautiful gift, albeit at an unorthodox time.

Tsidi who is responsible for much of the [needle] craft work available at African Image, corner Church and Burg Streets, has gifted our community with her ability to craft. She and I meet with the youth on Friday afternoons to create; and as we work together we find the ability to see beyond our self-limitation and into the potential of creating something from nothing. The “I cant’s” are gradually replaced by a product made by our hands, imagination and shared knowledge.

Together we gain the skills to create something to gift, sell or keep. We learn to see beyond the old bicycle tyre, string, plastic bottle or newspaper and see something which can be used to sustain us or benefit another. The mundane becomes functional, useful, maybe even beautiful — new life is breathed into the item and indeed into the maker. Tsidi says that she finds God in the spaces she creates in her life through craft. Whether we experience God in others, in creation, in creating, in the mundane or the miraculous, our experience is unique, ready to be shared and gifted into our communities.

Peace, Sarah (Youth Co-ordinator)