Tag Archive: california


map of oakland

i was asking that question as i walked [by myself!] to the office today as tbV had a meeting at Darin’s house…

and the obvious answer would be 50th street [i’m convinced it’s 51st in my head so have to type it down now or i may not find my way back home] Oakland, California, Americaland…

but i’m looking a little deeper, after 19 months in the ‘hood of Kensington, Philly [where in the city if you told people where you were from they would respond with “you live in Kensington???” [shock, horror, gasp, quick exit…] how would one exactly describe this place?

Oakland and San Francisco

it’s not ‘hood. well not in the way that Kensington was ‘hood… but it’s definitely not Bishop’s Court… feels a little suburby, but heard from the people we’re staying behind that they used to live in the suburbs so probably not that. we did get the “you live in Oakland???” [shock, horror, gasp, quick exit…] when we visited San Francisco on Sunday so in these parts maybe it’s still seen as ‘hood or ‘hoodish… just not sure if it will get me quite enuff street cred for saying i live here – is there a more ‘hood’ ‘hood than Oakland? will have to ask…

i like it though. only been here about a week [not even] so still got to get the vibe of the place, but tbV and i loved Kensington and i think we will love this place too – not as many people in your face, on your street as there where which was one of the highlights of Kensington but the people we’ve passed have for the most part been really friendly, and then there was the bag lady.

the bag or one like it...

no, not that. walking back from San Fran on Sunday we encountered this African American all-dressed-up-for-a-party-or-is-that-maybe-how-she-normally-dresses woman who approached us and said “Can you pick up my bag?” We looked at the street corner where she was pointing and there was a gold coloured handbag on the ground – so Val says, “You pick it up” but the lady was clearly freaked out and she asks again, “No, No, No can you guys please just pick up my bag?” I ask, “What’s wrong with it?” She says, “Nothing.” so we tell her again to just pick it up and she goes closer and then backs away and then goes closer and makes like she’s going to and then backs away again going, “No, No, No, Please just pick up my bag.”

at this point i’m wondering is there a bomb in there? a deadly tarantula? a bag of chocolate covered raiSINs with all the chocolate licked off [we all have our fears!] and so we decide to keep on walking and hope that wouldn’t-have-passed-the-Tour-de-France-urine-test lady managed to eventually get her stuff and make it home okay.

this is where we currently work

so definitely a taste of Kensington…

and i guess we’ll figure out more as we get to explore more and as we hopefully find a more permanent place to stay [maybe today!] and hopefully get to call this place home for the next year or so…

so by now, anyone that is interested [and possibly some that aren’t] knows that tbV and i will be heading to Oakland, California just across from San Francisco [come visit!] in the short next while to be working with Relational Tithe/Common Change and you also have an idea of what that is all about and how it works… but a lot of people have been asking about the specifics of what each of us will be doing and while some of that still needs to be ironed out as we get there and get going, i can share a basic outline of the work ahead:

Relational Tithe has been going for 6 to 8 years and is comprised of small groups or ‘clusters’ of 12 to 15 people and then a larger cluster of the 80 or so people who make up RT. Any need that is presented which is for less than $500 is presented to your small cluster and any need larger than that goes to the wisdom of the larger group. Since RT has been in existence a lot of people have expressed interest but as it grew out of relationships, it was a lot harder to find an onramp to become part of the program. So part of what both Val and i will be doing is helping create space and oversee the creation of ten to fifteen new groups over the 18 months we are working with CC.

Giving through Relationship

Val will also be working on systems and policies and helping to bring clarity and ease of use to them so that the whole machine will work a lot more effectively and then she also has some work to do with project management such as a phone app that is being developed and some other projects.

My role will be kind of a discipleship vibe within the groups – helping people to use the system more effectively in terms of making asks and responding to other peoples asks and also finding ways for people and groups to connect more intentionally offline.

So, in effect we will be looking at taking something that has been working very well for a small group of people for a number of years and seeing how we can make it an effective tool for a wider group of people to equip people all across the world to connect their resources to people in need, through relationship.

[to find out how you can be an active part of this journey through receiving the newsletter or being involved in prayer or financial support, click here]

brettandvalandpaint

well i thought everyone who was interested had an idea of what we are doing next but having explained our next moves three times to people in the last few days i figured it wouldn’t hurt having another explanation up – for those of you who have heard this, you can skip this one…

from June 2011 to Dec 2012 the beautiful Val [tbV] and i were working and living with the Simple Way in Kensington, Philadelphia, Americaland as part of their residency program – living in the local community and working full-time for the non-profit. i was involved with Hospitality and email communications and Val dealt with special projects [food distribution, after-school program, scholarships for students etc] and emergency services [people arriving at the door about to be evicted from their home, people in need of drug counselling or legal aid etc]. our boss was a man named Darin Petersen, hence the term ‘bossman’.

we arrived back in South Africa 1 Jan for a time of refreshment and recovery and also connection with family and friends [and improv stage and hockey field and beach!] with the idea of staying for about a month and a half to two months and then moving on to Oakland, California [just across from San Francisco] where we will be working with Darin again, but with a different non-profit which has been called Relational Tithe and which is in the future going to be called Common Change. This is a collaborative giving program looking at trying to emulate the church of Acts 2 in terms of economics and really focus on connecting resources to those in need through the avenue of relationship.

‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ [Acts 2.42-47]

Val and i have been part of Relational Tithe as group members for eight to ten months now and have seen it have such a transformative and life-changing effect in many peoples lives and so when we were invited to be a part of it for the next 18 months it was something we seriously considered and then jumped at.

How it works is that if you join you become part of a group of 12 to 15 people who all tithe into the group general fund. Then at any point anyone in the group can advocate a need for someone who is in one degree of separation from themselves [so someone you know personally who has a need] and the group is invited to ask questions and try to collectively figure out the best way to meet the need well and then after some time the need is met [this might be with money or resources or through someone having a connection or other creative means]. What we really enjoy about RT is that the need is met through relationship – so we are not just throwing money at something but empowering someone within the group to walk alongside a friend of theirs and connect them with some resources as they do so.

So that is what we are going to be joining. tbV has left already as there is a Justice Conference that she is attending in Philly first and then she will be heading to Oakland where i will be looking to meet up with her later. One of the realities of the next journey for us, is that while CC will be providing accommodation for us, we have had to find money to get there and also for our month to month living expenses and so we have been inviting people to journey with us in different ways – following our journey and staying in contact, praying for us, contributing towards the roughly $1000 or R9000 we think we will be needing to live month to month for 18 months.

if you’d like to hear more or want to be connected in any way simply email me at brettfish@hotmail.com and we can chat or i can add you to our newsletter list.

[what Brett and Val are going to be doing within Relational Tithe/Common Change as they head to Oakland]

so the next step in the brett fish & the beautiful Val next americaland journey has taken place… after three great official times [as well as many unofficial times comprising many drinks of coffee, milkshake and tea or variants thereof] of sitting down with people we love [and vice versa] and talking through some of what Relational Tithe/Common Change is about we put together an invitation email to gather a group of friends and family who want to be some part of our journey – from simply receiving our newsletter to committing to keep us in regular prayer to offering financial support through either a once off donation or else to be part of the roughly $1000 we need for monthly living costs for the eighteen months we have committed to being there [starting March]

we had an incredible gift from a friend which has enabled us to purchase the air tickets – where we are on that is trying to get Val’s in the next 24 hours so that she can leave on the 18th and make it to the Justice Conference that is happening in Philadelphia which looks to be incredible – and then she will stay in Philly for a few days, doing some scholarship stuff she is still working on for the Simple Way and then fly to Oakland, California and look into finding us a place to stay and starting to settle in it…

i will be holding off on buying my ticket til about ten days later and then we will assess the support we have had come in and, if close enough to what we are looking at needing, will buy my ticket and leave to get there around the beginning of March, flying straight to Oakland, California where we will be living and working.

we sent the email to those who have expressed interest and attended the meetings but if you are interested in receiving the initial one and deciding if you want to be in one of those areas of support of us then please email me at brettfish@hotmail.com and i can send it to you.

where we currently stand is close to 20% of the needed support and so a bit of a way to go but excited by the people who are showing interest and support in a variety of ways. we have been completely spoilt by so many people in terms of place to stay [Duncan and Megan Houston] and car [Duffields] and many meals and drinks and even tickets to the cricket [Muscle of John] and so incredibly thankful for the communities and networks we are part of. and for everyone we have got to connect with and catch up with… there are a lot of pretty amazing people in and around our lives and we appreciate you so much.

onwards and kingdomwards…

brett fish and tbV

so for friends back home there have been hints and allegations [a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires and baby] and subtle innuendos as to what might be pertaining to the future for the andersons after this year…

for those of you who have been following semi-closely, the beautiful Valerie [tbV] and i have been living, working and ministering with the Simple Way Christian non-profit organisation in Kensington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Americaland since about June of last year and altho it has been one of the more difficult years of our lives it has also been a great year and an exciting one and one where we had no doubt at all that God had called us to be in this place at this time and so that really helped during some of the tougher times and so we will definitely look back at 2011/2012 as a good time of growth and challenge and hopefully transformation, for both us and also the Simple Way and the area of Kensington we lived in and all those we came into contact with.

“but what next?” i hear you ask. well i don’t, really, cos that would be creepy, but i am going to imagine someone asked it, so that i can give a little bit of a glimpse into the future that we are facing [sorry, Mayans! – yes, being cocky about the predicted end of the world is something anyone who is doubting it can feel free to do because if you’re wrong then who gets to rub it into your face? score!]

so our time here at the Simple Way runs until the end of the year – the office winds down around the 23rd of December and then we have just booked tickets South-Africawards for the 30th [arriving home 1 January 2012] where we will be for a month to a month and a half if all goes according to plan [which will include a trip to Durban to visit my sister Dawn and her husband Glen and our new nephew Joshua and also a bunch of our friends] and then sometime in February we will head back to americaland, but this time settling in Oakland, California where we will be working once more with our Simple Way boss, Darin Petersen, but with another non-profit called Relational Tithe [soon also to be known as ‘Common Change’] for around 18 months and beyond that we are trusting that God will direct once more…

when we are home i hope to be playing lots of TheatreSports, hopefully some hockey and drinking a whole lot of coffee with friends and family as we catch up and hang out and refresh and catch up and prepare for the next part of our exciting life journey together. [Val will be testing out the beaches and cocktails and making sure they continue to meet Cape Town’s high standards]

one of the obstacles we face is the task of finding finances to firstly return to americaland and then to be able to live here [in a somewhat different context to Kensington] for the eighteen months that follow. support-raising is not something either Val or i flock towards with open arms, but the work we are returning to is something that excites us in terms of the potential it has for life, community and church transformation, that we may have to be willing to swallow our pride and have some interesting conversations with some of you. neither of us like the idea of being tricked/manipulated into giving to even something that is a good cause and so i wanted to be up front with what will have to somehow be a part of this trip. so more of that to follow.

but mostly we are looking forward to people [not all of the people we want to see will be there – some are in the UK and Switzerland and Australia and a host of other places] and being able to tell stories and share a glimpse of what these last 18 months have meant to us and share some of the anticipation of what the next part of our journey will look like.

and probably in one of the strangest aspects of the whole trip, i, brett fish anderson, will be looking forward to mayonnaise, because no offence americaland, but you SUCK at making it…

much love and thrilled anticipation
brett fish anderson [brettfish@hotmail.com] and the beautiful Val [and of course No_bob]

so for those of you who missed my post on my ‘the simple weigh’ blog, here is a link to that and the story of the first week of aquaponics building that has been taking place at the simple way communtiy in kensington, philadelphia where we stay… aquaponics is like hydroponics but with fish [sustainable food growth]

click here to see…

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