Following our prayerletter which we sent out yesterday and which can be read here, we want to explain a little more, give a bit more info to the background and answer a few questions...

At The Gathering we have never wanted a building for the sake of having a building, rather, we have always wanted a venue from which we can serve the local community from Monday to Saturday with Sunday Gatherings being merely the cherry on the cake. 

So why does The Gathering want a building of its own?

Quite simply we want a permanent base from which we can serve the community and win it for Jesus. Besides our long running weekly Soup Kitchen and our soon to be relaunched Homework Club, we also want to offer Debt Counseling, Literacy Classes, Youth Group, Food Bank, Empowerment Groups, Internet Access, Clothing Store, Home Based Care & Medical Access and a whole host of other stuff. However, as things stand we're hampered by the lack of space and resources and this is very frustrating when the needs are so obvious and yet out of our reach to help simply because the money isn't there.

The Gathering moved in to its current home in July 2017 and from the moment we moved in we knew that we were exactly where God wanted The Gathering to be, right in the heart of the community. We love the fact that on a Sunday our worship is public and can be seen/heard/experienced by everyone coming to the shop next door, and we love the fact that there are only two roads in and out of the community, so pretty much everyone passes our premises at least once a day. The community know who we are and they know where to find us!

Fairly quickly after moving in we began asking God for the entire building we were meeting in, rather than just the single unit we're renting. Besides wanting the building for the vision above, quite simply our current premises are too small for us and we need more space. Our landlord (a good guy) has had many conversations with Dean about his plans for the building ranging from knocking it down and rebuilding from scratch - including flats above the shops - through to simply refurbishing the existing structure. He has also talked about selling the building, but none of these plans has ever materialised, until now...

As it stands, the landlord is looking to sell for R4.5m (£230,000) complete with his plans and planning permissions for redevelopment. He has had two potential buyers drop out and has turned another one away because he wants to ensure that whatever happens, the community is served by the property.

The first question we've been asked and quite an important one to answer is "Who would own the building?" The answer is reassuringly simple: The Gathering would own it. Not Dean & Paula, not any individual church member, but the church itself. The Gathering is a registered NPO (Non Profit Organisation) and as such has a legally binding constitution which deals with such issues, so there is clarity on this issue and a clear legal basis for church ownership of the property.

This brings us on to another question/issue which is to do with finances. Quite simply all monies intended for the purchase of the building would go straight in to The Gathering's local bank account. We will not accept payments in to our own personal account nor will we use our Stewardship account for this. This is to ensure clear accountability of all monies received as well as keeping things simple from a taxation point of view. 

In terms of "seed", The Gathering currently has enough for an 8.5% deposit on the asking price, though we would hope to negotiate on that price somewhat.

The building itself is comprised of five shop units at the front. The launderette has a house on the back of it and behind that is a small ground floor flat and some storage units which are accessed via a gated driveway to the right of the supermarket. The potential uses of these buildings is very exciting and at The Gathering we are longing to have access to the whole block so we can crack on and serve the community.

So The Gathering's big prayer request in this is for all the monies to be released to The Gathering to enable the church to purchase the property outright. What we're praying against is saddling The Gathering with a mortgage/bond that would be untenable for it.


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