More than Stone: Laying the Foundation for the Future
Our Common Commitment
How do we meaningfully serve each other and serve the world? This is a question that is brought into sharp focus as we consider our proposed building project. We had a wonderful Fundraising launch in August, and our common commitment to this is important. The numbers are big, but so is the vision. I’m reminded that it was only when the Israelites put their feet into the waters of the flooding Jordan River opposite Jericho that the mudslides happened further upriver, creating dry ground for the Israelites to cross-over and make tangible the vision that had held generation after generation enthralled since God first made the promise to Abraham. Had they not had the courage to put their feet in the water, the vision of the Promised Land would have remained what it had been for generations: just a vision.
Similarly, our proposed building project has been around awhile: Liz Murray remembers seeds of a discussion while she was Churchwarden. It has gained some form over the last few years: we have committed R190,000 to the project so far, which includes the initial plans by Austin Architects and the present plans from Fagan Architects, as well as an Environmental Impact Assessment. The project is now ready to be birthed, and requires us to take the next step of applying to the City of Cape Town for approval. The present estimated cost of R10,000,000 sees the project completed by the end of 2018. The Diocese has given the go-ahead for the first phase, and provided we have a financial plan in place to complete it, for the whole project.
There is always a choice: we can have courage, and put our feet into the flooding river; or we can continue to wander in the desert (as the Israelites did for over forty years), watching and waiting, to end up only renovating what we have, leaving no new legacy for future generations. What do we choose?
“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9; NRSV)
And so I am wondering where the Fundraising pamphlets are that we received at the Church door? Are they gathering dust in a “I should do something about that sometime” pile, or perhaps in the file 13? Or have we acted by making our contribution or indicating what this may be over a period of time? Have we had the courage to pass the pamphlet on to a family member, a friend, a colleague, an acquaintance?
I’ve put the digital version on the Church Facebook page and shared it with my extensive Facebook network; and handed out pamphlets to some of my colleagues. I know of a parishioner whose aim is to raise R25,000: he pesters his fellow-golfers, and has emailed his friends, one of whom sent in R5,000 to purchase a Sandstone block, and some of whom have given him R100 to go away! Another parishioner arrived in the Parish Office with some beautifully hand-knitted jerseys and gloves for us to sell towards the purchase of a block. Other parishioners have put sizable donations into our Church Bank account, or donated via the GivenGain website. What is your story? What are you doing? Please let us know!
There is (of course) the issue of the amount of money required for this project, and I see this concern lurking in the back of our minds, and the obvious question: “Should we be spending this sort of money on ourselves?” There is no easy answer except perhaps to reflect on our sphere of influence as St Andrew’s Church in Newlands, and how this may be extended through our building project to benefit our extensive outreach projects. The School rent has enabled us to provide the equivalent of R2 million in today’s money in bursaries for tertiary education to people in less-privileged communities in the wider Cape Town over the past ten years. The more attractive and accessible our Hall and meeting rooms are to the broader Newlands community, the greater the opportunities will be to partner with the local community in our outreach projects and Christian mission, expanding our circle of influence and our access to local resources. This building project will provide us with a significant renewed base from which we can continue our Christian mission in Newlands and beyond, and will of course benefit future generations of those who live and worship in this space.
Are we willing to trust that there is reason – purpose – that for more than a decade this vision has held, has not gone away, and is now demanding our attention? Friends, let’s put our concerns, scepticism, and even fear aside. Let’s embrace this God-given opportunity and make it happen!