St. Martin’s Village Talk  - Slaughter of the Holy Innocents 2020

Dear Friends of St Martin's Village,

On 28 December - three days after Christmas - the Church commemorates the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. King Herod ordered their murder in order eliminate the child whose rule he feared - Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem - See Mt. 2: 3-18. The joy over the gift of a child and incomprehensible cruelty towards such children often lie close together in our sin-trapped world. This is the fragile and intense space in which St Martin's Village operates. Here up to six such abandoned and vulnerable children, especially newborn babies, are currently being loved, cared for and nurtured by a foster mother (Thekla Böhmer) and her support team (Carers: Duduzile Xaba, Sheila Sibiya & Philisiwe Sibisi and Housekeeper Nelisiwe Nkosi). In the last two years we have been able to care for 14 newborns, eight babies, four toddlers, three school children and one mother in need of protection and/or care. They are placed with Ma Thekla by the different regional child-protection agencies. Where possible, the children receive the gift of Holy Baptism before they return to their families of origin after about 3-6 months, or more permanently taken into foster or adoptive families. A network of screened foster families was established this year, who can be supported and encouraged in the long term and can be quickly called upon when long-term foster care is needed for a child (See report by social worker Gré Erasmus). At present, rooms for the St Martin's Village Kindergarten are being built on it's grounds by the Lutheran Congregation next door so that the SMV children can enabled together with other children from the community, providing opportunity for Integration and the long term financial viability of SMV (See article by Dr. Liesel Beneke). We are thankful - looking back at Christmas and forward to the new year with all it's challenges - that through His small, vulnerable Son Jesus Christ, God has overcome the devil, our sin and death. Through Him  these children which He has committed to us for some time have hope and a future despite all the problems they face. Thank you very much for your support in this work! God bless you!
It takes a village to raise a child – thank you for being part of this village!

Foster Care Open Day-
Report by Social Worker Gre Erasmus 

 St. Martin’s village is launching a foster care project for children in need by recruiting, supporting and training prospective foster families that are prepared to foster children that have been removed from their families. 

 We had a foster care open day on 12 November between 3pm and 7pm at the village where we provided information about our programme and foster care, got details of interested persons and arranged the screening of families that came and were interested to become part of the project.

Tea and refreshments were served and it was an informal and friendly way of meeting community members that care and want to help children by providing a safe and secure home for a period of time when the children need it. 

Social workers from Child Welfare Society also came to meet some of the families and answer questions. 

During the open time we received four families that were eager to become part of the project. Three families were from Newcastle town and one from Madadeni. We plan to have the screening done on 8 January 2020 and send all the screening forms to be registered. 

It is good to know that the community is keen to help and also aware of the need for this project and we appreciate the support so much. 

Anybody still interested to be screened can contact us ( or make an appointment to answer possible questions.   

St Martin's Village Kindergarten - Report by Dr. Liesel Beneke
see also

What do we as a church have that we can meaningfully share with our community? We have often asked ourselves this question. Every year during the Advent season we share a piece of German culture with our city, and our Christmas market has become an integral part of the Newcastle calendar (see pictures above). The Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Newcastle has a large plot of land, with plenty of space and a beautiful view of the mountains. An ideal place for a kindergarten! 
From other churches we have already learned what a blessing children's Ministry can be for a church. We have also offered several successful children's holiday programs as a church. For Christmas Eve, for example, the church was packed - we had rehearsed a nativity play as part of our holiday program, and many families of the performers attended the service together.
The kindergarten is still under construction (see pictures below) - donations from America (for the equipping of the kindergarten) have already arrived, the congregation is financing the construction work with R 550 000 and the FELSISA with an additional R 150 000. The construction work should be completed in March. In the meantime we have set up a small classroom in the church building, and there the first kindergarten day began on Monday 20 January (see picture below)!  St Martin's Kindergarten should become a place where children can play and learn, hear biblical stories and pray in a Christian environment. On Wednesday the pastor will hold devotions with children and teachers and invite families to our services. The children of St Martin's Village can attend the kindergarten free of charge and are thus integrated into the community.
We have started the construction work, trusting that this important work will find further support. We need financial support especially for our St Martin's Village children - in the form of "godparents" who could pay the monthly school fees of about R 1500 for one child to cover expenses such as teacher's salary, especially in the first year. In the long term, the kindergarten should be supported by contributions from " external" children.
Every day here in Hutten Heights, Newcastle, we have the opportunity to raise our eyes to the mountains (according to Psalm 121).  And indeed, we receive help from the Lord again and again - competent, experienced, Christian and committed teaching staff, fresh confidence in a fruitful and blessed children's ministry, and happy children on the first day of St Martin's Kindergarten. We thank God for this and trust in His help for the future.
Copyright © 2020 StMartinsVillageTalk:St Martin's Village NPC, All rights reserved.

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St Martin's Village · Old Farm House · Ouklip Avenue · Newcastle, Zn 2496 · South Africa

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