Shofar Urban Updates 2023

I truly believe that Urban is a window into the Kingdom of God, where every tribe and tongue worship, where those who were dead find life and where the lonely, marginalized, and invisible find a home and a family, in God and amongst His people.  

So much has happened this year but here are some highlights. 

Shofar Urban’s relationship and integration with other organisations working with street-based people. 

The church is used as a home for development programmes by MES on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The present cohort of individuals involved in the programmes are about to graduate from their commuter skills course which is run by FCD.  

We are also working with MES to assist them in the development in their model for work readiness. This will look like ensuring that psycho-social interventions are underpinned and founded in biblical principles. I will also be leading bible study and reflective sessions at the weekly development days for individuals in the work and change readiness programmes.  

Relationships with these organisations and open doors to participate and listen in on their development programmes, allows me to get to know our congregants in a holistic and vulnerable way ensuring that teaching and serving at church is founded on an understanding of the people we are here to serve.  

Container Clinic 

In partnership with Tygerberg Hospice and Department of Health, a chronic medication, primary care, and wound care clinic will soon open on the church grounds operating out of one of the containers at the back of the property. The clinic adopts an iterative process allowing for the specific needs of people in the area to direct the services they offer. This clinic will not just be open to those attending church but to all in the surrounding community.  

Bible Study

Just like the Church Bible Study is blooming, with 60-75 people attending weekly. We work with Graham from Shofar Brakenfell and Rheta from Shofar Boston to coordinate the study and share the word. Over the last couple of months, it has been incredible to see people growing in knowledge and the capacity to critically engage with the content and topics we discuss. We have also had the team from Join Bands not Gangs come to perform for the group on a Wednesday, which turned into an all-out worship celebration. Attending a development session at on self-esteem at Uturn I was struck by the reality that only the truth of God can pierce through the layers of rejection, abuse, and marginalization that many of these individuals have experiences. As the group grows, we are praying into the nature and structure of the teaching and facilitation of this time.  

Discovery Bible Study  

Acknowledging that a Wednesday Bible Study of +-70 people cannot fill the need for a small group type space that will allow for biblically focused reflection and fellowship we have begun with the Discovery Bible study. This is a space where anyone interested will come and learn how to facilitate a bible study in their own spaces. This could be a shelter, on the streets or at a development or rehabilitation programme they attend. On a Monday we look at a passage reflect on it using the tool of Discovery Bible Study and then later in the week the individuals will go and replicate that same study wherever they wish. The next week we reflect on the process and go ahead with a new passage. This resulted out of the need for bible reading in shelters and acknowledging that Shofar urban cannot be everywhere all the time. To help develop the tools of bible reading and small group facilitation is vital.  

Music at Urban

It has been a long-time dream at Urban to have an in-house worship team. We are seeing this dream realised. Shofar Urban has partnered with Join Bands not Gangs, and they have generously donated 6 guitars and 2 Djembes. An individual from Durbanville congregation will be teaching two sessions of guitar a week and an individual from the Belville Haven will be coordinating the formulation of a choir. In addition to this, on a Sunday afternoon Frank and his wife Elizabeth were walking past the church and felt to come inside. Frank is a City of Cape Town Official who is responsible for delivering services to informal settlements. He is also a music teacher and band coordinator. Frank has also availed himself and his instruments (bass guitar, keyboard, and drums) to the congregation to help begin to build our band. Praise God for His faithfulness.   

Pray and Eat  

Shofar Urban has two target groups. It is the marginalized individuals who are street-based or in shelters as well as the individuals who work tirelessly to serve and help them.  

On November 10 we will host the first “Pray and Eat”, a space to serve those who serve. To listen, fellowship and allow a space for reflection and refreshment in the Lord.  

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