"THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"
ABOUT 24@THE HALL
24@the Hall is the administrative function established by St Johns church to organise the renovation of the Farmers Hall and to manage and promote its use by the community. We hope to promote entertainment, education, meetings, conferences, public and private functions and sports events. Our goal is to provide a multi-faceted facility for inclusive event programming to the benefit of the whole of the Vaalwater community.
What is the St Johns connection?
The Farmers Hall is owned by the North Waterberg Farmers Association. In 2018 St John the Baptist community church approached the NWFA with a proposal of upliftment for the facility and management of it for the use and benefit of the Waterberg community.
The Farmers Hall - Our Vision
“Enlarge the site of your tent, stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not hold back. Lengthen your ropes and drive your stakes deep.’ – Isaiah 54:2
As we head rapidly towards the end of another year I thought it might be right to look forward into 2019 and to share with you a bold vision for St John’s to engage with.
Earlier this year I happened to be listening to a talk by one of my favourite speakers in the US right now. He was telling an anecdote about how he was on his way to preach one Sunday morning and happened to pick up the local newspaper. An article in it was highlighting the worst cities to live in the US. Based on crime statistics, unemployment, child pregnancy, homelessness and poverty, it rated every city in the States. His own city featured at number 5! It rocked his boat! He went on to change his preach and instead challenged his church, which is a highly effective and popular church known around the world – ‘How can we consider ourselves an effective church if outside of its walls the people are living in fear, hopelessness and poverty?” His preach prompted the beginning of a change in how they did “church”.
They began by involving their local government in a dialogue - “What can we do to help?” was their opening gambit. Initially, they got involved with litter and clean up projects but as their community grew in trust towards them an interesting turn of events led to a much bigger project.
Their civic hall had financial challenges and had to sell. Rather than see a community centre become derelict or worse they chose to buy it and run it as a meeting hub for the community. They didn’t “spiritualise” it and thereby put walls of exclusion around it, they ran it as a social, entertainment and educational facility. It has proved a success. They do run church services there and Christian conferences, but not exclusively. Their city is changing. Their church is being known for its positive impact on its community. It has stopped being seen as an exclusive spiritual hub, it is now seen as a community player with ideas, strategies and solutions for positive change and upliftment.
I personally think this story highlights an issue we have as “Church”, we carry the light of Christ in us and our churches grow and are successful, but if our light remains solely in the church then we are not the light of the world.
In an Elders meeting earlier in the year we discussed this story and decided that we too would look at taking the light of Christ to the community. Vaalwater has a community hub in the heart of the town which has also fallen on hard times. Once a vibrant centre for the town hosting weddings and dances, meetings and sports socials, it has lacked a bit of love and TLC for some time and looks a little forlorn. We decided that we would look into it as an opportunity to inject life and hope into our town and have been quietly going after this during the course of the year.
By the time you read this we will have taken over the management of the Farmers Hall and should be well on the way to giving it an uplift. Our vision is to restore it as a cultural, social and educational facility in the heart of Vaalwater that it might unite us all in our identity as people of the Waterberg.
The building was initially started in the 50’s by the North Waterberg Farmers Association with this same intention.
Many of the names on the committee are names known to us as spiritual elders in St John’s and so, in some sense we are restoring a legacy and expanding it.
The initial phase is repair and maintenance but our goal is to create attractive spaces for community events whether it be weddings and larger functions in the main hall to any number or type of meeting in the smaller conference rooms. We hope to spruce up the social area on the north side with café facilities and shaded seating areas and a terrace. Ultimately, we hope to landscape the grounds and improve the sports facilities.
St John’s will be accountable for the administration of the Farmers Hall and we hope that within a short time frame there will be jobs for people there. The core of the vision is to draw the community together in various ways and with different events but as a church we will have a central facility to run many functions that will reach a broader platform than we are able to at 24 Rivers.
We are excited about this vision and hope that you will join us on this journey as a church to be the “light of the world”. We would love to hear your ideas and we hope that you will support us as we grow our boundaries.
- Shane Dowinton
St John the Baptist community church
"United in our identity
as people of the Waterberg"
Our vision is to restore the Farmer's Hall as a cultural, social and educational facility in the heart of Vaalwater so that it might unite us all in our identity as people of the Waterberg.