Over the last couple of months, the focus of our work here has been in assisting with the growth of the Clermont Ecclesia and the building of the new meeting hall at the front of the present location.
As a group we felt that it is very important to try to assist the community as much as we are able to. So with this in mind it was decided to employ two local sisters, Nonhle and Pindili from the Clermont Ecclesia. In addition we are employing two brothers Siyabonga and Thabani from Marianhill as our labor force at this point. Although the ladies are not as strong as the men they have acquitted themselves rather well.
Firstly we had to dig out the hillside and level the site for the new building. This was back-breaking work for everyone involved. It also didn’t help matters that we hit sand stone towards the back of the property. With a hammer chisel we were able to break out all the stone to give us a flat building site. We also hired a truck and bobcat to remove most of the unwanted sand. That came to twenty truckloads of dirt in all.
We started constructing the side retaining wall to control collapse and erosion first and as we leveled out the back section, continued the higher part of the wall using the Loffelstein block that we used in the construction of the Marianhill retaining wall. The block wall runs around three sides of the property and is essential in ensuring the site is well protected from erosion. A major problem on this site will be that all of the storm water runoff from the top property will run right through our flattened building site. We have addressed this problem by installing drains and concrete pathways/channels to divert runoff to our drain system. As we were digging the foundations for the retaining walls we encountered the existing sewerage line servicing all the properties. The line was in total disrepair and was broken in a number of places. We repaired and installed a new sewer line from the back of the property down to the street.
Initially Grant was hoping that we would be able to avoid installing steps from the top properties down to the lower new level. It has however come to our attention that this is not a viable option. It has been decided that we will build some wooden steps down to the lower level, and have the walkway next to the new building act as the pathway for the local neighbors.
As of now we have poured the foundations for the Ecclesial building and have progressed to about the top of door and window height. This is always an enjoyable time in a building project as the structure takes shape. There is a lot of excitement in the neighborhood as people are witnessing the changes that are taking place. Everyone agrees that this location is perfect and is going to be such a great catalyst for great things to happen in Clermont. It has personally been such a privilege to be involved in the growth of this Ecclesia . It has also been particularly rewarding to see the growth in technical building skills that have been exhibited by those brothers and sisters involved. Siyabonga in particular seems to be eying a future in the building industry. with the confidence he is gaining I’m sure this will be a viable option for him in the future. We are also building fantastic relationships with the people in the community and most people in the immediate neighborhood know us as the “Kingdom Church”. Barry’s branding is working well and we look forward to when we can put up the sign announcing the soon arrival of the “Kingdom church.”
Funo, Fanisiwe and Mdu are still our cornerstones at Clermont and we put out a request for a piano donation on our local Gumtree site as we would like to encourage Mdu and “his” choir to make full use of the new hall soon. We received a phone call from Mr. Logan Pillay that saw the advert and decided to donate his piano to Clermont. We collected it and it was tuned this week. With a little tender care and a coat of paint, this will be a great contribution to the Clermont ecclesia.
Funisiwe also approached us to start a youth group on Saturdays. We encouraged her to go ahead and she runs a youth class for the local community in the area.
We had an outreach day at Clermont and we adverted our “new” presence in the community. We established an awareness of all the local projects taking place in the Clermont and Kwadabeke area. Please also read updates about the Kwadabeke clinic, mobile BEC, Christianburg after school programs and local after school sessions run by our other volunteers in this area.
We feel that we are building some fundamental foundations not only for the building but also in the community that will last for a long time to come.
Lots of Love In Christ
Grant, Rene, Tristan & Jeremy