Our story this week comes from Lisa Johnstone. Lisa is a FLEAT South African member and represents the Northfield Methodist Church in Benoni. She shares with us some of the activities the Mission and Outreach department have been up to recently.
“As you can imagine, the situation on the ground for the homeless and very poor is dire. Our mission and outreach staff have been working with the army to become an emergency food supplier, and many of the staff have received permits to act as essential service providers. This enables the team to continue to distribute food parcels and bread into our community. We have several outreaches that we partner with and support. Our aim is to support them with as much food as we can on an ongoing basis, and then they will support the communities in their own areas. That way we are working within the distribution networks we already have.
Northfield Methodist Church’s Creation Care Ministry has been quietly unfolding in the background. It is a ministry dedicated to sharing a steadfast love for God, each other, and caring for God’s creation as our common home. As followers of Christ, we share a common role as stewards of God’s creation. We see that our wellbeing is interwoven with its wellbeing. We rejoice in our interconnectedness, to care for our common home and the sisters and brothers who share it and our loving Creator.
Lockdown has provided us with some obstacles to gather as a group. However, as we are a small team, we have followed protocol and social distancing and face masks are compulsory for all our activities. “
“We celebrated Mandela Day in July by getting our hands dirty and digging into the soil of our Church Garden beds by removing weeds, pruning roses, and saturating the earth with life-givinglife giving water. The gardens were in urgent need of attention having been unattended due to lockdown. We spent (much more than 67 minutes). Each person that assisted, received a gift of hope. (A protected Henkel’s yellowwood seed.) The Yellowwood tree is categorised as South Africa’s national tree. The aim was to encourage the volunteers, to gift the seed to another. “
“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.”
— Rabindranath Tagore
“Our Creation Care group partnered with three other organisations on Saturday 15th August, to revamp an area degraded by illegal dumping. It was a huge success with 50 volunteers participating and 200 bags of waste collected.”
The veld between Racecourse Rd, Atlas Rd and Dunswart Pan (also known as Stewards Pan) is heavily degraded through illegal dumping and encroachment of invasive alien vegetation. The wetland is home to thousands of birds and is also threatened by illegal infilling of the Pan. Why do we need to clean it up? Because it is not all lost. In the centre of the area, it is nearly pristine grassland, abundant with wild flowers, bird and insect life.
- 66 indigenous wildflower species have already been identified, including
- Colony of CITES-protected wild orchid Habenaria caffra
- Red-listed ‘Declining’ Hypoxis hemerocallidea, being stripped for muti
The event was attended by at least 50 volunteers from all over Benoni and Boksburg and we collected about 200 bags of litter. Recyclable materials were separated. It made a massive difference to the sensitive veld and wetland. We also attempted to prevent further degradation by taking steps to prevent future dumping.
Lisa has been active in many projects on behalf of her congregation, Northfield Methodist Church, and is very passionate about conserving the environment and assisting those in need. We are very proud to have such a caring person on our team!