As we race towards the annual summer shutdown and Christmas holidays life just seems to get faster and more chaotic as plans are squeezed in to the remaining available time. For us at The Gathering life is no different and we've been very busy planning for the rest of the year, planning for next year and personally planning for our on/off/on/off who knows if it will happen trip to Blighty to spend Christmas with family.

On Thursday evening life eased up again here as President Ramaphosa opened all international borders allowing for tourism to resume. This will be a major injection for the local economy and renews our hopes of being able to travel to Blighty over the Christmas period. Sadly we're wholly dependent on the British side of things, and given how poorly managed the pandemic has been there, our hopes remain just that.

It's stating the obvious to say that 2020 was/is a tough year, but actually for The Gathering it has been an amazing year!

We ended 2019 with a word about getting our house in order based on Haggai 1. To that end the church obtained its CCLI licence to play worship songs legally and we set off down the road of meeting our obligations as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) to be fully compliant with the Dept for Social Development (DSD). Part of this also meant becoming tax compliant with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) which turned out to be a whole lot harder than we thought it would be.

At the beginning of the year we were put in touch with an accounting firm who took The Gathering on pro-bono and they did a great job of setting up meetings with SARS and getting our accounts ready to be signed off, and then wham! Covid struck and it all ground to a halt. However, eight months later and we have the signed off accounts which we will finally submit to DSD early in December, and joy of joys the accountants signed off on the last 4 tax years so once we've submitted the reports The Gathering will be 100% compliant with DSD.

In the meantime, the accountants are continuing to pursue SARS for us and the church should finally be SARS compliant early next year. That's a huge prayer request too, because even SARS seem unsure about how to register a church for tax exemption purposes.

Paula has done the church accounts since forever and it was great to hear the accountants commend her for her work, acknowledging how thorough and accurate she had been. It was also encouraging to hear them explain some of The Gathering's figures to us. For example, 85% of community sourced funds (tithes offerings etc) are put back in to the church's ministry and outreach. This apparently is an unusually high figure. Thank you Lord! Also, 100% of non-community sourced funds are put in to The Gathering's outreach programmes and based on the revenue streams of The Gathering the church is not and is never likely to be eligible for tax which is a huge blessing.

We're excited by those figures and feel they speak of integrity and faithfulness in administering the affairs of The Gathering for the glory of God's kingdom.

Thank you LORD!

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