And there it is, the High Court has ruled that Level 4 and Level 3 regulations of South Africa's lockdown are unconstitutional and has given the government 14 days to respond. The High Court acknowledges the legality of the initial lockdown (Level 5) but the rest of the verdict is quite damning in saying the regulations were "arbitrary and unlawful".

Many of us have been expressing this view for a while and are sick of being patronised by corrupt politicians who suddenly feel they have the moral high ground when they really do not. State Capture anyone?

Boxing Again

After a six week break thanks to a partially slipped disk in my lower back it was good to be back boxing again today.

I'm far from fully healed, but the pain is manageable and I'm being careful with some specific stretches to ensure that I don't aggravate things any further, as well as avoiding certain exercises and stretches that aren't particularly good for the back.

I'm longing to regain my fitness and go for a run again but sadly I just don't know when it will be safe to do that.

Anyway, I'm back exercising at a lower intensity which is good and it felt good to be boxing again and it was great to be boxing with Joel. I really enjoyed that Zoom session with CEY.

It's just as well too, because I could feel my paunch trying to re-establish itself.

First Day Back Debacle

What a joke!

Having spent most of last week preparing Joel to return to school today, we were told to expect an announcement from the Education Minister on Friday evening. This then got pushed back to Sunday evening and then pushed back again until 11am today.

We then learn via a local news website that schools are only reopening for pupils on the 8th whilst teachers are back from today. So quite why two teacher friends were called back to work last week is a mystery.  Meanwhile the Teachers Unions are furious because they believe the timetable for reopening schools is wholly unrealistic.
On Tuesday President Ramaphosa addressed the nation and gave churches and other faith groups the right to start meeting again in their buildings, though with strict conditions.

At the same time, he called for a National Day Of Prayer for today, Sunday 31 May.

The Gathering has made the tough but right decision to remain in exile for a while longer, but as we Gather this morning on WhatsApp we are proud to be standing with the President & the nation and answer his call to prayer for South Africa.

Today our Gathering will be entirely given over to prayer for this nation and the situation we find ourselves in.
During lockdown I've written four posts so far about books, which would suggest books are quite important in our house. Three of those posts were on the theme of 10 Books I Have Loved and the other post was about Lockdown Reading, looking at the books I have read in the first few weeks of lockdown. I will post Part 2 of that soon.

Books I Have Loved Part 1 was about fiction books I have really enjoyed, Part 2 was about non-fiction books I have enjoyed and Part 3 was about Christian books which I have also enjoyed.
It was very exciting to get the news from President Ramaphosa that the faithful may gather under strict guidelines. It was exciting to think about The Gathering getting together again from June 7th, but as pastors we also have a duty of care of our church members and we need to be leading by example in how we navigate our way out of the current crisis.

For The Gathering it feels right that we remain in exile for just a little longer.
We might not be the biggest feeding scheme around, but we are consistent and dependable and it's great to know that in an uncertain world & uncertain times, our regulars know where to find us confident that we'll be there ready to serve them.

That in itself is a tremendous blessing.

I've not sat down and added up how many food parcels, food vouchers and meals we've managed to serve so far in this crisis, but each one feels like an immense privilege to have been able to give and a huge blessing to The Gathering  as we seek to practically demonstrate the love of God in such dark times.

Well we didn't see that one coming but I for one went to bed a very happy man last night!

Who'd have thunk it... the government giving in to lobbying and reversing a decision.  Then again, it would have been a tad #awkward asking the various religious groups in the country to stand together for a day of prayer without allowing them to start to gather in their buildings again.

I don't know what your church experience has been under lockdown, I hope it's been a blessing to you. The Gathering has thrived under lockdown with amazing attendances at our WhatsApp Gatherings, both on Sunday mornings and our Wed evening prayer meetings. Church has become even more interactive than it already was and virtually all who attended contributed. WhatsApp church has been a huge blessing in a difficult time!

True Joy

It's true!

For me at least, for I am at my happiest and most joyous when I'm serving at our Soup Kitchen or involved in blessing folk in some other way through The Gathering.

I love what James said in his letter: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world"
Last night President Ramaphosa addressed the nation and unlike the last time he did so, he actually had things to say, and was worth listening to.

The big announcement was that the whole nation will move to Level 3 which means most economic activity can resume (though not restaurants, hair & Beauty salons, gyms or churches). We have to wait a few days for the govt to gazette the actual details of what we can and cannot do, but I'm excited.
Gathering on WhatsApp on Sundays & Wednesdays is a huge blessing in the life of The Gathering as we seek to stay connected and interactive in our faith together.

It was pure joy to share Communion together this morning as part of our worship of King Jesus and those that were able took a selfie and shared it online.

It feels like The gathering is stronger for the lockdown which is a huge blessing and encouragement.

We all long to worship together in our regular venue praising the one who saved us, but until then we'll praise Him anyway!

Live Again


I want to post about all the wonderful blessings we're experiencing right now, and share about how life is great, but I can't do what I see some do and just pretend the sun is shining and life is great. In fact I have to be honest and say that I'm struggling to remain positive at present. I'm having to force myself to stay away from the news because it's worse than depressing and it makes my blood boil.

It was such a blessing to open The Gathering's Soup Kitchen again last night to serve our regulars and it was great to blessed with such a spectacular sunset just before we began serving.

What's really blessing me at the moment is our growing relationship with the local Neighbourhood Watch.  They have been assisting us over the last few weeks helping to ensure people are social distancing, but they have also been getting on and distributing food parcels around the community.
Following on from yesterday's post I felt the need to salute the generous heroes (locally & abroad) who quietly give to make it possible for The Gathering, My Father's House, the Night Shelter and countless others to be able to reach out to the most vulnerable and provide them with food parcels, soup kitchens, sandwiches, food vouchers etc.

The generosity is real, as is the desire by many to help in whatever way they can to ensure that the most vulnerable are cared for, particularly in provision of the most basic human need of all.

Without the support of such generous friends and local businesses (many of which are struggling themselves) we would all be struggling to serve the neediest and that would be even more heartbreaking than things already are.

Thank You!

"Our lockdown has revealed a very sad fault line in our society that reveals how grinding poverty, inequality and unemployment is tearing the fabric of our communities apart" - President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Talk about stating the obvious!

President Ramaphosa then goes on to share some very nice words but no clear action plan other than more talking shops. Meanwhile the media is full of headlines like this: "One in three adults in SA goes to bed hungry, according to latest research", which really comes as no surprise to those of us who have been working as hard as we can to ensure the neediest and most vulnerable enjoy a degree of food security.

Sadly, here we are 55 days in to our lockdown and still the most basic need of the most vulnerable is failing to be addressed by the government. But this is the disturbing reality out here and it's compounded by the ineptitude of a political system that just doesn't appear to care.

Blessings

One of my passions in church and mission is working in partnership with other churches and NPOs, and one church we've known, loved and worked with for quite a while now is Father's House over in Simon's Town, led by our dear friend Shaddie.

Before the lockdown they had stopped meeting as a church on Sundays in the regular sense and were reaching out to the homeless on Saturday afternoons. They truly are being the hands & feet of Jesus in the community. Once lockdown started the homeless were rounded up (that's a rant for another day!) so they refocused their efforts on the informal settlements in an area called Redhill in the mountains above the town.

They now have a separate NPO called My Father's House and together with some other local community groups are feeding almost 4000 children everyday.

Having written about ten fiction books I have loved and ten non-fiction books I have loved, I thought I would finish the series with ten Christian books I have loved. I thought about splitting this in to two parts between academic and non-academic but realised that one of those posts would just be way too boring. LOL!

So here are ten Christian books I have loved all for very different reasons and at different stages of life.

Jim & Casper Go To Church was an eye opener and really helped to shape my idea of what church should or shouldn't be. Jim is a pastor who pays Casper, an atheist, to go to church with him. The point is not to get Casper saved, but to get an outsider's perspective on what we as Christians often think is OK for church. The most sobering moment in the book comes when Casper asks "Is this what Jesus told you to do?". For me, as a pastor I knew that I never wanted to be asked that question by anyone. If you're in church leadership, you really should read this gem.

I was inspired by a recent BBC News article in which they had asked people to send them their last 'normal' photo taken on their phones before their lockdown began. I really like this idea so I'm posting mine and Paula's #LastNormalPhoto from the day before our lockdown began on Friday 27 March (that feels like a long time ago!).

I'll start with Paula's last normal photo, though truth be told neither of our photos are really of normal times given they were both taken on the last day of freedom.
It strikes me that there are pretty much two basic arguments about lockdowns around the world. There is the argument for blanket ends to lockdowns to let life and economies get back to some semblance of normality, then there is the save lives side which advocates for lockdowns to remain and for people to be more self disciplined in their actions.

I've read as much as I can really stomach on the whole subject, but have had my thoughts and position confirmed. You might call me a fence sitter, but I think there's a genuine middle path that can be navigated.

Happy Place

It was so good to be doing our Soup Kitchen again tonight, especially as it's also a sneaky way to catch up with some of our church members.

It was a slower kitchen than normal but it was great to learn that this was because the Neighbourhood Watch had been busy distributing food parcels around the community today, that means a lot of people have got food for a little while now.

We were also blessed by a friend who had prepared 3lts of beautiful gammon stock which gave the soup a delicious tang.

It seems official (to me at least) that the lunatics are indeed running the asylum.

In our local shop today I was amazed to see that certain herbs and spices weren't available either because they aren't deemed essential, or because their manufacture isn't. Either way they're deemed non-essential which is bonkers.

This begs the question: who gets to decide what is or isn't essential?

In fact it raises a whole series of questions about the lockdown and how the citizenry are being treated in what is supposed to be a libertarian democracy.
In 10 Books I Have Loved Pt 1 I talked about ten works of fiction that I have really enjoyed. Today I'm going to talk about ten of my favourite non-fiction reads and there are some belters in here.

I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction these days and particularly enjoy autobiographies, though I've not included any here. I'm also a fan of World War 2 literature and have fallen in love with Anthony Beevor's writing.

But I'll start with a book I think everyone should read. Paul Foot explores the franchise thoroughly from beginning to now, and leaves no stone unturned exposing some of the lies and myths surround the democratic vote (in the UK), as well as chronicling how we got the franchise which was finally made universal in the UK after WWII, yes, it really is that recent.
Having posted about 10 things I love about my home..., I'm going to do a couple of posts about 10 Books I Have Loved. This first one will be about 10 works of fiction that I have really enjoyed. They're not necessarily my all time favourites, just books that were a thoroughly good read and worthy of their spot on our bookshelves.

I'll start with my first ever Ben Okri... I tried reading this on holiday in Turkey in 1992 and really couldn't be doing with it. Then after we'd been to Tanzania in 1998 I picked it up again and suddenly it made a lot of sense and a whole new world opened before me as one of the best storytellers ever told an amazing tale.

I think having lived in an under developed part of Africa it helped put the  themes of the book in to context and it really brought a level of understanding I was incapable of back in '91.
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there, you make the world a better place!

It was a joy to honour and celebrate our Gathering moms this morning, especially as Paula shared a word about Jochabed, Moses' mother, and the selfless sacrifice she made to save his life.

Jochabed's sacrifice is a stunning reminder of the sacrifice God made for us when he sent Jesus to die on the cross for us.

Firewood

It's that time of year again where we stock up on firewood ready for the winter ahead.

We got the wood from a different supplier this year and first impressions are very good as the wood appears to be very dry.  If it's as dry as it looks it should burn really nicely in the woodburner.

It always amuses me to think that this is the sum total of our winter heating bill out here, and most years we have just enough left over for a few BBQs too.

Same Storm

I came across this the other day on social media and it really struck a chord with me, and after spending a couple of days explaining to a few folk some of the realities of lockdown here in SA for many that The Gathering reaches out to and ministers to, I thought it would make a good post on here.

I have to confess to being just a little bit tired of hearing people in privileged positions (politicians and so called celebrities and a few others) telling the rest of us that 'we're in the same boat'.  They trotted that rubbish out under austerity and it wasn't true then just as it isn't true now.

We are NOT in the same boat! We are in the same storm for sure but not the same boat. How some will cruise through this storm and how some will barely tread water in the hope of surviving  are two very very different things.

South Africa is one of the most unequal nations on this planet with the disparity between wealth and poverty being very stark and clearly visible every day of the week. Just stop at pretty much any traffic light and see the number of people longing for work, it's truly heartbreaking.
I was intrigued to see an article on the BBC today about the age old tradition of shaking hands.

I am not, and never have been a fan of shaking hands, simply because I've never been convinced of other people's hygiene practices, and as it turns out I wasn't wrong.

I once contracted worms from a handshake which was extremely unpleasant! We were at a funeral in Zimbabwe and had just sat down to eat when some late comers expected everyone to shake hands with them as custom dictated. I was really reluctant but also didn't want to cause offense. Anyway, let's leave that there.


Even worse, as a Christian I fear that moment in church when some half-wit says "let's hold hands", I can't tell you just how much I hate doing that!

It's a rare thing to admit but I much prefer the Muslim approach of placing a hand on your heart as a way of recognising and respecting someone else, but if I must be offered a hand I will stretch to a fist bump.

My real hope for the other side of Covid-19 is that the rest of the world finally wakes up to the grossness of shaking hands and kicks the filthy habit forever.
One of life's great pleasures is reading, and so it's been great to have been given so much time through the lockdown to be able to sit and read.

My favourite spot is on the hammock in the front garden, it's such a comfy spot under the trees and with the dogs coming to keep me company it makes for a very pleasant break from reality for a while.

Some of the books I've read over the last few weeks have been sitting on the bookshelves for a couple of years (like Roller-Coaster - Europe 1950 - 2017) waiting patiently for their turn. Others like the Louis De Bernières' So Much Life Left Over have to be read almost as soon as they arrive in the house.

Roller-Coaster is the follow up to To Hell And Back - Europe 1914 - 1949 which was a masterpiece of history, and Roller-Coaster is pretty fine too, especially as Ian Kershaw steps out of his comfort zone to examine a period of history he isn't normally concerned with (he is the pre-eminent writer on Adolf Hitler). I had never read anything by Kershaw prior to To Hell And Back but I wouldn't hesitate to read anything else he's written.

Thank You

As well as restarting The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen we're partnering with a number of other groups and organisations in our efforts to get food parcels out to as many needy and vulnerable families in our community as possible.

Yesterday we were thrilled to be blessed with the first fruits of our partnership with Revitanation, a local project put together by a group of concerned local businesses.

Enough food for six hampers was delivered to our house and we put the hampers together and distributed them to families in Firgrove that we know are struggling through this crisis.

... About My Home

This post was inspired by those social media posts about 10 of this or 10 of that, and I got to thinking that it was time to write a really positive post along similar lines, and what could be more positive than talking about my 10 favourite things that make my home the best home ever.

So here it is; 10 things I love about my home...
Happy May Day Level 4 Lockdown Day.

Today is another Public Holiday in South Africa officially known as Workers Day but this year is know as either Level 4 Lockdown Day or Essential Workers Day.

The cause for celebration here is that finally after  35 days of a very hard lockdown, today we are finally allowed out to exercise or walk the dogs between 6 & 9am as long as we do it within a 5km radius of our homes.  Even these restrictions feel like freedom!
It was such a joy to reopen The Gathering's Soup Kitchen again this evening.  My hear was so sore when we had to stop five weeks ago, so it was pure joy to be back tonight!

We knew the need was there and growing as a result of our harsh lockdown and as a result it was another busy evening serving the community we love so much.

It was also a great way to get together with a few of our faithful Gathering family, though we were responsible and kept a social distance 😉

It was also good to partner with the local Neighbourhood Watch as they did a bit of low key marshaling for us.

Tonight we served a delicious 70 litres of homemade Cream of Chicken Soup and it was greatly appreciated. So all in all it was a raging success and all of our regulars expressed their thanks for reopening, and that alone makes it all worthwhile.
I'm so excited about The Gathering's Soup Kitchen returning tomorrow, it's been sorely missed by our regulars and the need is greater than ever.

Also thanks to a generous neighbour we've been able to buy a bit more chicken than usual so together with these beautifully roasted onions it's going to be a delicious soup!

We've also made a responsible plan for how the Soup Kitchen will operate to be compliant with rules on social distancing and crowds gathering, so it should be a great time serving the community again.

Painful!

A post for my praying friends...

My lockdown fitness programme was going really well until Wednesday last week when I managed to trap a nerve in my back which sent my left leg into a state of frozen agony.  The Dr suspects that one of the lower disks in my back has partially slipped which trapped the nerve which is causing the pain.

This is the worst pain I have ever experienced, it's worse than when I smashed my wrist a few years back and far worse than when I cut the sole of my foot and had to have several stitches in it.
Today in South Africa we celebrate Freedom Day one of our many public holidays.

Freedom Day specifically celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994.

This year however it feels a little surreal celebrating something that we have all been stripped of for the foreseeable future.
Since writing this yesterday the President has addressed the nation. However my opinion remains unchanged and unless genuine tangible action is taken to help the vulnerable this will end very badly!

I have to confess to a growing sense of anger over our lockdown.

I know the lockdown is the right thing to do, we need to protect the most vulnerable and flatten the curve to make it safe for all, I truly get that, I do.

What I don't get and am struggling with is the apparent lack of foresight and planning that has gone in to the situation, leaving the most vulnerable in dire straits.

Here in South Africa the President was lauded for his swift and bold stance, but quite quickly it became apparent that some of his ministers were far less capable. Sadly as time has gone by the whole govt are looking shambolic and the "swift and bold stance" is starting to look like a panicky knee jerk reaction that has led to a scale of suffering that is unprecedented in this land.

Food Hampers

This morning we had the privilege of delivering seventeen food hampers (in the form of grocery gift cards) to some of the neediest families in Firgrove.

We got fed up with waiting for govt to come through with their food parcels and decided to get the ball rolling ourselves.

So it was pure joy to be able to bless each of these families on behalf of The Gathering and our friends who so generously contributed, both locally and in Blighty.  This was a drop in the ocean, but as they say; oceans are made up of drops.

The reaction was the same each time; one of deep gratitude and a hurry to get changed to get to the shops. We were particularly moved by the mums who just want to buy milk/nappies/food for their young ones. It was great to bless 2 of our elderly soup kitchen goers - each one telling us how much they are missing their weekly soup!

We have been so incredibly blessed this morning!

Our Gathering was an awesome time together in God's presence and it was amazing to think that as a church we were scattered from Firgrove in to Macassar, Mitchell's Plain, Somerset West and the Eastern Cape, but we still Gathered in one accord and worshiped in spirit & truth.

The church cannot be stopped!

We were also blessed by one of our Gathering family members who sent us a photo of the food she had prepared for four of our Soup Kitchen regulars who live close to her.  You know that your church gets it when they are serving the neediest and most vulnerable out of their own limited resources.

Thank you LORD!
After last week's disappointment of discovering that the GPS sensor my Heart Rate Monitor can't cope with my run around the house, I decided to just do my 57 laps anyway knowing that regardless of Polar telling me I had I only done 3.84ks I had actually done the full 5 ks. When I did my first 5k run around the house two weeks ago I actually ran just over 7ks!
Here we are in day 21 of what was a 21 day lock down but which was extended into a 35 day lockdown, so we're well over halfway there (and living on a prayer), and I have a confession to make... I'm loving it!

I love being at home and not having to go out, I love having Paula around and I love having my boys at home.

Of course there are things I'm missing; I wish we could continue with our Soup Kitchen, especially knowing how many vulnerable and needy people there are out there. I wish we could go to the gym or go for a run, and I really wish I could go out for a meal with Paula, but at the end of the day I am truly blessed and thankful that I can exercise at home, have enough to eat and my peeps are safe.

How will it all end?

I can see two things happening and I can see them happening in tandem under certain conditions.

Firstly, I think we'll get to a position where governments are almost demanding people go back to work because the world's economies simply cannot take such a massive hit.

Secondly, people will rise up and demand an end to things, especially if extensions keep being added. Enforced lockdowns will fall apart.
There have been protests over the Government's promised food parcels in Mthatha and a mini riot in Mitchell's Plain.  Hands up those who didn't see this coming.... anyone?..... no-one?  Of course not, such actions are inevitable (but wrong) when people are given hope and then let down.

The Government promised R53m for food parcels to be distributed by the Department for Social Development, the same Dept that administrates NPO registration.  So as a registered NPO The Gathering made an approach to the Dept offering to be one of the organisations that would undertake the needs assessments and then distribute the food parcels.  And we've heard absolutely nothing!

Has the govt reneged on the R53m? Do the food parcels actually exist? Are the govt dept inept? Who knows!?!

New Beginnings

I spoke on Sunday about new beginnings, but how sometimes we have to go through storms before those new beginnings, and looked at Jeremiah 29:10-12, Matthew 14:22-33 and John 16:33 (If you want to know how I used those scriptures you can watch my message in yesterday's post). The great thing about these examples of storms is that they all contained promises of God and in each of them God is with his people. So now we're having to get through a storm but when the storm is over we will be in an amazing time and place of new beginnings.  We truly serve an awesome God!

This got me to thinking about how church is being conducted on Sundays around the world...

Something I have kicked against for a long time is the seemingly diminishing role of the congregation in Sunday meetings. We have been part of churches where contributions are either managed by an elder with a microphone or worse, they are just actively discouraged.  There's a set list for the worship, the whole meeting is planned out and there's little to no space for the congregation to contribute.

Easter Sunday


Just like every other church The Gathering had to be creative in how celebrated Easter together and how we celebrated communion on this most special of all days in the Christian calendar.

Once again we took to WhatsApp and once again it was such a joy to be able to Gather knowing we were united in God's presence, whether we were in Firgrove, Macassar, Somerset West or the Eastern Cape.

It was a joy to worship our risen Lord Jesus together and to share communion, and I had pre-recorded a word I felt God lay on my heart during the week. I have to confess to feeling a little uncomfortable with the idea of pre-recording but it seemed to go well and was well received. The crux of it was that God has led us into extraordinary times and once the pandemic is over God will lead us into new beginnings, we just need to stand firm on His word and His promises in faith knowing the victory is already won.

Familiar Face


This warmed my heart today.

I've been wondering where some of our Soup Kitchen regulars are and how they're coping during this time when life for those living hand to mouth is almost impossible. So to see Roderick's picture suddenly pop up on the Facebook page of our local homeless shelter was brilliant.

This also means that if Roderick is in there safely until the lockdown is over, then at least a few others of our Soup Kitchen regulars are too, because he always travels around with the same small crew, so whilst we can't see them, we know that at least a few are safe.

If for nothing else, I'm truly thankful for this piece of great news!
BBC News are running an interesting piece on South Africa's Covid-19 outbreak and why our numbers are so low in comparison with other nations, particularly more developed nations with superior healthcare systems.


I think many of us on the ground know full well why our numbers are low and it's because the government took decisive action very early. South Africa's lockdown was one of the earliest to be implemented in terms of the numbers of coronavirus infections and it's one of the most draconian lockdowns outside of China.

I also think that many people understood from the beginning that South Africa has a very large and vulnerable population in terms of HIV and those with TB, and that any lockdown would be about protecting the most vulnerable. Yes the lockdown is annoying, frustrating and irritating, but it's not about me, rather it's about saving at least 8 million very vulnerable people.
So there we have it, 14 days in and we've just been given another 14 days taking us neatly to the end of April.

May promises to be a month of celebration, but before we get there you have to wonder just how many of the most vulnerable people are going to struggle through starvation, lack of income and no prospects of anything good on the horizon.

As for small local businesses one can only guess how catastrophic this will be for them.  SA's economy is already shot and this is going to make a bad situation a whole lot worse.

Time to get on our knees and pray (as if we weren't already).

I was so happy this morning to be able to pop in to Firgrove. I managed to issue myself with an Essential Services permit and then go and deliver some grocery gift cards to our more vulnerable church members.

It was also a great joy to bless them with the gifts but an even bigger joy to actually see some of our guys, even if it was just for a few moments to hand over the cards and say "Hi' through their gates.  Having seen no one from The Gathering for a while it really blessed my soul to have just the briefest of contact with a few.

Hopefully the cards will help them all get through this week and then we can think about how we can help again next week.  For those that we gave the cards to today they have no income or received the paltry grant just over a week ago and are struggling financially.

Please pray for The Gathering's more vulnerable members who struggle at the best of times.

I guess none of us are living what we might like to think of as normal lives, even if you're classified as an essential worker, life will still be far from what was once normal. 

Things are far from any semblance of normality here and we can only look on from a distance as family and friends in Blighty keep posting pics of a trip out or a walk they had in the park, at least y'all still have those privileges.

Whilst we're cooped up we've been a bit more in demand than we might normally be, and have been asked to contribute to a few ongoing video projects as well as attempting to prepare the odd bit of video for use with The Gathering over the Easter weekend.

It's all good fun and I have to admit to enjoying being a bit nerdy when it comes to playing around with various bits of digital media, it may well be my way of staying on the correct side of the camera.


Exciting Times

Until this afternoon I had only been out once during our lockdown and wasn't expecting to go out this afternoon, but I'm so glad that I did!

It all began earlier today as I was praying and lamenting the closure of The Gathering's Soup Kitchen. I suddenly had the thought to approach a friend of Paula's whose husband is an MP and ask for his help in registering to be one of the NPOs that would distribute the Government's pledged R50m of food parcels to the neediest during the lockdown.


Thought for the Day 16 from St George's Church on Vimeo.
Following on from Paula's Thought For The Day on Thursday, I shared a thought about life under lockdown from a local perspective.

Today saw the inaugural Bizweni ParkRun under a magnificent clear blue South African sky. The crowds (two dogs) were full of excitement and expectation for this new event.

We should at this point thank our unofficial sponsor Covid-19 without whom this event would not have been possible.

The runners took off as the gun signaled the regular ParkRun start at 8am.  The full 5kilometres involved some 57 laps around the house and garden and despite good conditions the finishing times were a little disappointing, however these are attributed to a combination of tripping over two excited dogs and the number of tight bends the runners had to negotiate.

All in all it was a resounding success and we expect there to be at least two more editions of this ParkRun.

Reality Bites

South Africa is a pretty lawless place at the best of times. If you don't believe me try driving in to Cape Town one afternoon or pretty much driving around any urban area and pretty soon you'll realise that red lights mean very little, Stop signs are advisory and speed limits are merely suggestions.  It goes further with traffic cops regularly being seen using their cell phones whilst driving, regularly failing to obey the rules of the road and generally setting a very poor example for others to follow, and I'll not get started on the police being used by gangs to transport drugs...

As such it's no real surprise that in the six days of our lockdown the volume of traffic outside our house has gradually increased. On the first day we had maybe a car an hour driving past, today there's a car going past every couple of minutes.  It may well be that each of these journeys are genuine, but even as a non-gambler I would be prepared to wager that the majority of them are unnecessary.  Paula has been out to our local supermarket for our weekly groceries and said that the shopping centre was heaving.