St Andrew's runs a community café, The Fisherman in the church hall in order to provide a space for people to meet. This relates to the second part of the parish vision statement "to be a centre for community at the heart of Caversham Heights".
GROW HOPE in ZIMBABWE
St Andrew’s Church is partnering with the Grow Hope Trust in Zimbabwe in what we hope will be a long-term mission project, in partnership with Highlands Presbyterian Church, which is the church attended by the cousin of a member of St Andrew's.
Grow Hope is a Christian initiative in Zimbabwe, the aim of which is to use the Christian Foundations for Farming (FfF) programme, which has been used successfully in Zim and elsewhere in Africa and the world, to encourage young people to take responsibility in their own lives, and specifically as farmers. Grow Hope is supported by Highlands Presbyterian Church (HPC). The youth pastor of HPC, Matt Mbanga, and his wife Lauren, lead the project, supported by Marvin and Amy Vogel. Both Matt, and Marvin and Amy, have visited St Andrew’s recently to share the progress of this new venture.
Grow Hope is supported by Highlands Presbyterian Church (HPC). Matt, the youth pastor of HPC writes the following:
Due to the greed of man and our unfaithfulness with the abundance that we have been blessed with in Zimbabwe an entire generation (over 50% of the nation is below age 15) exists that has never known freedom or prosperity. This is a fatherless generation - whose fathers have either died of AIDS or left in search of financial aid in neighbouring countries. If the future of Zimbabwe is ever going to be bright we need to engage and inspire this generation and equip them to take a leadership role in their own lives.
To this end the Grow Hope Trust has been established as a non-profit whose named beneficiaries are the youth of Zimbabwe. The centre will initially accommodate 50 campers in male and female log dormitories and 10 staff in a brick and mortar lodge. The centre will also have a meeting/dining-hall and kitchen and several team-building activities and obstacle courses to enable facilitators to run outdoor, experiential learning activities.
The property already has a small dam and half an acre under shade tree nursery and demonstration plots that will be used to grow much of the food for the centre and teach the Foundations for Farming principles of conservation agriculture. (FfF is a discipleship tool developed to help small scale farmers in Africa apply the gospel of Jesus Christ to their lives and become productive on their small farms.)
The Senior Minister of Highlands Presbyterian Church is one of 5 trustees and HPC is participating in the building process and
several members of the congregation have offered material donations. The 2015 HPC men's camp will travel to the site later this year to help build, and future retreats, trainings and outreaches to
this impoverished farming district in Zimbabwe's rugged Eastern Highlands will take place over the coming years.
Grow Hope will source grant funding to run leadership and conservation agriculture trainings for impoverished schools and charge nominal rates for churches and Christian groups to use the facilities to host Christian events. The centre will also host paying guests from private schools, weddings, corporate functions etc to ensure the maintenance of the centre.
The property measuring 14 Hectares has a small dam, abundant timber resources, a windmill, 3 staff cottages, 10 sleeper lodge,
tree nursery and 225,000l reservoir. It is 3km from Bonda Mission Hospital in Nyanga District, Manicaland. It is 250km from Harare enabling weekend visitors to reach it easily on a tarred road all
the way until the last 1km.
The overall building costs for phase one (dormitories, ablution block, kitchen/meeting hall) are expected to be USD$165,000. Due
to the fact that we will use our own timber, a significant amount of voluntary labour and a great deal of donated materials we hope that this figure will be greatly reduced.
We believe that the timing has never been better to commit to such a project. Zimbabwe has the lowest life expectancy of any non-conflict nation at present, is the fastest collapsing economy again (previously in 2008 with record-breaking hyperinflation) we are the 2nd poorest nation on the planet in terms of GDP and rank last on every other list including alphabetically!
We believe that such an initiative at this time is a prophetic statement of the way God uses the weak and foolish things of this world to shame the wise. We believe that if we begin to 'rebuild the walls' while they are still being torn down that God alone can receive the glory and that His name will be made famous!
FfF has had tremendous success across Zim and the world, so is the perfect tool to equip young people in our agriculturally based economy. The problems in Zim and Africa as a whole can easily be blamed on the lack of leadership. Our tribal history was usurped by colonial supremacy and then replaced by despotism - we Africans of all ages need to be inspired to take a leadership role in our own lives.