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Wishing you and your family  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
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Wishing You a Merry Christmas




 
IN THE MIDST OF ALL THE HYPE AND BUSYNESS


I hope and pray for precious moments for you with family and friends.

To connect and celebrate the breaking in of God, through Christ, into our troubled but beautiful world.

I pray for simple pleasures and refreshing rest. Good food and conversation.

I pray for perspective on this year that has passed and anticipation for the year to come.

I pray for new adventure and promise, excitement and laughter.

I pray for comfort and companionship for all that lies ahead.

In short, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thanks to all who made this year and our work with NieuCommunities possible, you are deeply appreciated.

With Love and Gratitude

Curtis

 

Prayer for Christmas

"If the only prayer you say in your life is 'thank you,' that would suffice."

- Meister Eckhart

 





This is a picture from the "'Love Family and Partners 2010" Christmas Celebration. I am so grateful to have a family like this.






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Here is my Third Quarter Newsletter:

"The Possibilities of..." showing a little bit of the place where NieuCommunities seeks to live, love, listen and serve. I also talk about the "the possibilities gathering" we kicked off.


It's a 10mb file :)

Curtisamongfriends: A Story of Transfiguration
The Rhythms of Life


We are confused...

The French Lady has just walked away in a huff after thinking we have been stealing her bandwidth. We don't know what she's talking about but she keeps saying "something...something...wee-fee". After a few minutes I eventually cotton on that she is saying 'Don't use the wi-fi'. I manage to catch up with her so as to clear up exactly what we stand accused of. She says 'please don't use the wee-fee'. I respond smiling saying 'Oh I see but we weren't using it' (which is the truth). She doesn't believe me. Eventually I put on my most honest face and tone of voice (you know the one) and repeating a few times that we really aren't using the 'wee-fee', she eventually relents. We part ways. All is well. Thus starts the Thursday Morning 'Community Exploration' at the Alliance Francaise Cafe just bordering the neighborhood we are hoping to move to. It was pretty humorous and I have a feeling that the 'wee-fee' French lady is going to become a good friend of ours :)

'Community Exploration' has become a treasured time in our weekly staff rhythm (save for the cross cultural misunderstandings). This is a time when we visit the neighborhood we hope to move to and listen to it, learn about it and seek to appreciate its unique and defining characteristics. We are engaged in a work of listening 
and presence. The value of listening and presence is often seen in counselling and coaching. The healing power of simple but genuine listening and presence always astounds me. Listening and presence are crucial to NieuCommunities philosophy and practice, not only in times of change but in everything we do. Right now we are seeking to be present by visiting parks, churches, cafes and friends (both current and future) to get a feel for people we hope to live,work and share life amongst.

This particular 'wee-fee' day we met with a Theology Masters student who lives in the area who gave us some great insight and confirmed some hunches about the rhythms and makeup of the community. This afternoon we will be meeting with a friend from Sunnyside who will help us understand the rhythms and make up of a neighbouring but very different community.

The observant among you will notice that sadly we have not moved there yet. Unfortunately no house has come available that is either suitable for us or within our price range. However we have decided to be patient as this area really feels right to shape and form transformissional leaders of tomorrow. That is leaders who are convinced of the redeeming and restoring work of God within our fragile but beautiful world. The 'melting pot' feel of classes, cultures and races (and all its accompanying tensions,fears and possibilities) combined with the close proximity to the University sits right with our DNA. While we wait for housing in the area we continue to strengthen relationships with current partners and discern and form new ones.

I hope and pray that life is well for you and your families and that the second half of 2010 (Vuvuzela!) will be filled with joy and peace. It is always so good to hear from you and what you are up to, so please drop me a line.

Much love

Curtis 

P.S Photo header is courtesy of a gifted phot-hog Chris Kamalski

 

 
 

Paul Tillich on Listening 

'The first duty of love is to listen' 










A picture I took of the collages that the Pure Hope apprentices made during our 10 week exploration of The Story we Find Ourselves in. For more check out this blog post I wrote about it here.



 






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"Better World Village" with TLF


To get a taste of TLF (Tshwane Leadership Foundation), one of our  evolving partners and friends who are doing incredible work in the City, check out their "Better World Village" event. It is running parallel to the World Cup and I will be volunteering as part of their counselling and care team during the event.







NCSA Team for 2010

(From R to L: Chris, Kaziah, Natalie, Curtis, Ezra, Joe and Malachi)

These are my friends and team mates. Now and into the coming months we will be forming, growing and recruiting our way towards the kind of team that can shape and form the kind of leaders we hope to see.





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Curtisamongfriends: A Story of Transfiguration
Hopes and Dreams

A key reason for me joining NieuCommunities this year is due to our commitment to make central to our mission empowering and training young South African leaders. This shift, from mainly empowering North Americans in SA to empowering South Africans in SA, required us to reflect on 4 key questions:
  • Discover: What have we as NieuCommunities done well in the last 8 years? What do we want to carry forward into our future.
  • Dream: What might NC be as we move into our future. of course central to this future is SA leaders but how might that look and who might that be with?
  • Design: What path might we need to take in order to become this kind of organisation?
  • Deliver: What are we actually going to do over the next days, weeks and months in order to bring this about?
Through these questions we have begun to Discern a path toward our future. The most drastic and exciting element of this is to move from our current location in PTA North to Clydesdale (bordering Sunnyside). While our current property is extremely beautiful and restful we have had a growing sense that we are disconnected from the mainstream of PTA/Tshwane. PTA North is a fairly 'closed' and separated community from the rest of the city. People often speak of it as 'the other side of the mountain'. Clydesdale is somewhat interesting and different neighbourhood, a kind of 'sanctuary' in the city. It borders Sunnyside (innercity, urban neighbourhood) and Muckleneuk (fairly well to do suburb). We are just 1 km from the University and 1 km from Hatfield square and a few hundred metres from Loftus Rugby stadium. 

We have some good relationships with people, organisations and a church in this part of the city but we are especially glad for the many new opportunities that will arise from this move. According to our estate agent there are some 10 student communes in this small neighbourhood. I am very glad about that :) I like students, I like their idealism and their energy, I like there questions and their curiosity. I suspect they will be a primary source from which we invite people in an apprenticeship.

The Next Few Months?
  • Move across to the neighbourhood, most likely at the beginning of May and become acquainted with its rhythms.
  • Meet other organisations, churches and individuals in the area and Listen for potential partnerships into the future.
  • Grow as a leadership team, learning to work together and figuring out who we need to recruit to make our team more whole.
  • Begin the process of recruiting new South Africans into our apprenticeship.
  • To experiment with new idea's and rhythms (formats) to see what will and won't work.
Anyways, I will be blogging more about the discussions in the next few weeks here.

Transitional seasons like this are always mixed, with highs and lows. Hopes and uncertainty but overall we have a sense that this is growing point within NC's evolution.

I trust and pray that life is going well for you. It is always so good to hear what is going on in people's lives, would love to get a short update with regards your life.

Peace 

Curtis (Love)


Martin Luther King on Hope

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it allAnd so today I still have a dream.







The Pure Hope Team of 2010: They are currently involved in an excellent year long program of involvement in an orphanage, after school centre, prison and temporary shack builds. Nieucommunities role has been to come alongside them and support them through training in skills, cultivating spirituality, self awarness and development and coaching/mentoring

Currently I am writing and teaching a 9 once-a-week overview of the Bible. I am trying to answer the question "What does it mean to live inside the biblical story?" If all goes well it will form part of our core curriculum to be used into the future. I am also currently coaching,bi-weekly one of the very smart and talented Pure Hope Team members.



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