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.

The truly exciting part of 2020 had to be watching the church step up in faith to serve the most vulnerable in the absence of any genuine relief from government. And wow did the church step up! The Gathering's response to the food insecurity crisis created by the harsh lockdown here in South Africa was truly epic, but the best bit was how it was born out of the faith of leaders and members together. More of this please LORD!

The Gathering reopened its Soup Kitchen in faith the day before we moved from Level 5 to Level 4 lockdown and never looked back. We changed how the Soup Kitchen operates, but we never stopped feeding our regulars again. Also, we were able to distribute a crazy number of food parcels (150 at the last count) as well as blessing those we serve in a number of other ways with clothing, sleeping bags etc. 

2020 was a truly exciting year for the church, not just for The Gathering but for others too, such as My Father's House in Simon's Town who are now feeding about 500 of the most vulnerable people in their community and beyond every single day. That's an awesome testimony of God's favour and blessing!

As a church we also wanted to keep our Gathering's in real time during the lockdown, but also knew that most of our members don't have the privilege of a broadband connection. This meant that pre-recorded services and live streams weren't a viable option. Also we don't have the resources to do them. So in a moment of inspiration we decided to take our Gatherings on to WhatsApp and they were brilliant! We were able to keep The Gathering in real time (bar a short pre-recorded word) with our members able to contribute in real time. Personally I think church on WhatsApp was a triumph and the fruit of it meant we continued to grow as a church despite the lockdown. We were also able to bless some of our members with WhatsApp vouchers to ensure they weren't using valuable airtime to Gather together. Thank you LORD!

Of course there were tough times, difficulties and sadnesses, such things accompany each & every year so it's not entirely fair to diss 2020 in that respect. So rather, we'll look forward to the New Year knowing that 2020 wasn't an awful year but one in which we grew as we rose up to meet the very real challenges placed before us. 

I for one would love more of that in 2021!


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