One of the joys of what we do is being able to collect donations, sort them and then send them out again to the right people/places to ensure they have the maximum impact.

So recently it was great to be in touch with a local who had several boxes of brand new flip-flops left over from a recently closed business enterprise. They were keen that the flip-flops were not sold but rather would go to people who need them and would appreciate them, which is where The Gathering comes in. Sadly some of the boxes were water damaged so we've had to bin the worst of the damaged flip-flops, but we were able to rescue seven boxes of 24 pairs to be given away. What a blessing!

The Gathering now has seven boxes of flip-flops waiting to be given away. Two will go to locals we know in Firgrove and the other five boxes will go to My Father's House on Friday when I go through to spend time with my mate Shaddie at their feeding programme in Simon's Town.

Over the last few weeks we've seen some steady growth in the numbers coming for The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen as well as seeing some old regulars that were holed up in other places reemerging. And what we know from all of this is that the need for food is greater than ever!

So last night for the first time since our 21 day lockdown began almost a year ago, we used the 70lt pot, and we served over 150 cups and gave away thirty 1lt pots for folk to take home.

It's exciting to be serving so many, but it's heartbreaking that the need is so prevalent!

Soup Kitchen

As ever it's a joy and a privilege to be able to serve our community through The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen, and last night was no exception.

Normally this one in the month would be our quietest given that pensions and disability grants have just been paid, but such is the need in the current climate that we were far busier than we had expected.

What this confirms to us is what we already know; the need is very real and those that come for soup are genuinely grateful for the reliability of the Soup Kitchen.

South Africa's lockdown was eased a little on Monday which means life once again has some semblance of normality about it, whatever that is, and we could feel it in the community as things felt a little lighter than they have of late.

4X4 Road Trip

I'm excited today because I've begun to collect some detailed road maps of South Africa in preparation for Joel's 18th birthday road trip.

Joel & I are planning a 4X4 road trip around the whole of SA for his birthday so the planning can begin in earnest now.

Sadly, due to the pandemic and college dates for Joel we're having to delay the trip from March to his June/July break, but the advantage of that is that we'll have no major time constraints and can make it a bit of a more leisurely trip.

We can't wait!

Fit Family

It's a joy to be keeping fit and exercising together as a family and it's a joy to be a part of the CEY family, a gym with a difference.

This is a place where all are made to feel welcome, a place where we all remember where we came from and how poor we were when we started. There are no elitist attitudes and no space for the posers, and it's all the better for it.

Paula & Eli love the Crossfit whilst Dean & Joel are addicted to the Boxing and our bodies are loving the health benefits. It's win win in every way possible.

Back Online

It's not how we wanted church to be, especially after the last few months where we've been gathering back in our building in Firgrove.

However, it is what it is and it was a joy to be able to gather freely, to worship without a mask and to share prayers and words of encouragement.

It was also a blessing to welcome a couple of new folk to join us online.

The Gathering will only grow from here.

Thank you LORD!

It's with a heavy heart that after the Christmas/summer break we have to reopen The Gathering online again. 

Church life was really picking up towards the end of the year and we were seeing exciting stuff happening, but sadly with the new Covid variant being more virulent than before, we (along with every other church in SA) have had to close our doors on Sundays. 

So, just as we did last time, The Gathering will be going back on to WhatsApp so that we can keep our gatherings in real time and open to contributions from members. 

 In the meantime we must pray that the virus is finally brought in to check so we can get back on with life.

My Unicycles

I've been asked a few times recently about my unicycles, so I thought I'd introduce you to my family...

I have three unicycles that I mix between, a 20", a 29" and a 36", each of which are quite different to each other with different purposes.

Eli also has his own 20" unicycle and I keep two other 20" unis in the garage for when folk fancy having a go at learning to ride.

The railing along the wall is part of the kit for teaching others to ride.

I've yet to see a truly positive reflection post on 2020 so I'll take it upon myself to write one...

What a year it was! 2020 started with a bang as The Gathering set about getting its house in order in terms of being fully compliant with the terms of our Non Profit Organization registration, registering with SARS for tax compliancy, obtaining the relevant CCLI licenses to enable us to use music in church legally and a few other bits. The progress we made was quite amazing and we have now submitted three years worth of verified accounts and reports to the Dept of Social Development as part of our NPO compliance. We're still waiting on SARS, but given how slowly the wheels of bureaucracy turn here, Covid or not we'd probably still be waiting.

What better way can there be to start Christmas Eve than to go boxing with your son?

We had such a great session with Coach Anathi and were blessed to be the only two that rocked up for the session.

Getting Joel in to boxing has been so rewarding as we've watched his self confidence rocket. The way he conducts himself and carries himself is quite impressive for a young man and we're convinced it's the fruit of persistent prayer and the boxing.

Hopefully I can encourage him to have a proper fight in the ring later next year, just don't tell his mum...

As the coronavirus appears to be surging again both here and around much of the world, it's only sensible that as a church we do all we can to ensure that we minimize any risk of spreading the virus, so we're doing all we can to ensure that anyone entering the building wears a mask correctly, sanitizes their hands and maintains a social distance where possible. Thus far it seems to be working.

It's been a huge blessing being able to Gather again physically in the second half of the year, there's little more uplifting in life than corporate worship, even if one has to do it from behind a mask.

Despite the horror show 2020 turned out to be, it has been a year of incredible blessings for The Gathering and one we'll remember for years to come for all the right reasons.