South Africa: Tree of Life
Manenberg is a vibrant but visibly broken community, established in the 1960's as part of the old apartheid regime's forced removals of 'non whites' from Cape Town city centre. As a family of believers we focus on living life well within this brokenness. This looks like sharing meals together, volunteering at the Cru62 Transformational Community House, holding quarterly 24-7 Prayer Weeks, meeting in each others' homes to pray, preach and worship, reaching out to the addicted and hurting, and looking to multiply our presence in different pockets of Manenberg.
Tree of Life grew out of an NGO called Fusion. Fusion was set up to work with young men and women in Manenberg caught in lifestyles of addiction, gangsterism and sexual exploitation. As colleagues, working toward the same Fusion vision, we prayed together, did mission together, and fought for justice together.
When some of the young people with whom we worked decided they wanted to follow Jesus, we began to realise there were few churches in Manenberg that were equipped for, or open to, ex-gangsters and recovering addicts joining them - so we invited the young people into our lives and into our homes. This meant we found ourselves 'doing life' together way beyond office hours, and those of us not from Manenberg decided to move into the community. By this time, we'd come to see we were accidentally and organically becoming a church family. So we decided to admit it - and Tree of Life was born!
At Tree of Life, we believe that true community transformation happens in and through kingdom family. In following and proclaiming Jesus in Manenberg, we hold to core values of Family, Love, and the Supernatural Presence of God.
(Fusion continues to go from strength to strength, as an expression of some of our Tree of Life family on mission.)