It is little more than a year that the patron of the St Francis Outreach Trust, The Retired Archbishop Ndungane blessed the foundation site for the Kanana Road foster home in Masiphumelele.  The home was built within five months and the house mother and presently three children are happily accommodated in the first of the “Homes to Grow”.

The Trust which is run by a small committed group from the Simon’s Town Anglican Church, has been given tremendous support by an overseas parish, St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia.  Their dynamic fundraising efforts over the past two years has contributed largely to getting the project up and running.

This week (mid August 2011) a group of 27 of their members arrived from the US to join with St Francis Trust members to celebrate the connection between the two communities and to further their mission with the Masiphumelele foster home.  Their aim has been not only to give financial support. Anna Fernau, the mission’s organizer, says it is deeper than that…  “it is what connects us as human beings.” 

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What highlights this extraordinary gesture of friendship and commitment is the gift of seven quilts made specifically for the children and house mother of the home.  Each is a work of art but the thought, the design and the infinite care in which they were made sum up this most magnanimous gesture.  Gretchen Ginnerty, the designer of the quilts, involved the children from the St Peter’s Sunday school.  They were asked to draw their interpretations of what love meant to them on small squares, which were then incorporated into the design of the quilt.  Each quilt is unique, but the message is one of love.   The house mother’s quilt is based on the traditional log cabin design which symbolises the bond of a home. Local context is picked up through the symbolism of using rainbow colours.   

The volunteers have undertaken several projects during their stay, installing a jungle gym, planting shrubs, renovating furniture, painting a mural at the foster home, as well as  spending time at the Masiphumelele primary school and creche.  The mural’s beautiful design also depicts the message of the strong bonds which bind the foster home and the St Peter’s community.  In a prayer of thanksgiving, the rector of  St Peter’s,  Reverend Craig Phillips said   “… in giving, we are ourselves are transformed.”

Written by Liz Hardman