Tag Archive: Common Change


hotbrettandval

this is also my 800th blog post altho that is completely irrelevant but a nice round number nonetheless…

so if you are reading this, then by now you know that myself and tbV are heading to Oakland, California to work with Common Change, and you also probably have some idea of what our specific roles with CC look like, and so the last thing i want to comment on is the support aspect.

Val and i have different opinions on the raising support aspect of the work we are about to do altho neither of us are particular fans and if there was another way of doing this particular next part of our life journey, then we would have probably jumped at it. But there wasn’t and so it quickly became a reality that if we were going to do this it would require that and so we breathed deeply and went ahead with it.

How it is going to work is that Common Change is going to be covering our accommodation costs and so we had to take care of our flights [done, thankx to an uberly generous gift from a good friend] and our month to month expenses which we have estimated [food, transport etc] as roughly $1000 per month [or close to R9000]. So that is the monthly support we have been seeking from friends to cover the 18 months we will be working with Common Change starting in March. The one aspect of the support raising that we were both happy with is that it is for a set time – so we have asked people to get involved for 18 months and then it is done.

At the point of this going to [word] press [yes, i did that!] we are sitting at about 50% of what we need and the idea was that we would wait til we hit 60% before i book my flight and trust for the rest to come in after that. We did have a proviso that if the 60% doesn’t come in before the 20 March that Val would fly home and we’d start looking at a plan B as neither of us were particularly amped about being on different continents for too much longer.

So the money side of things is a practical need, but the support part that Val and i are both super excited about is the idea of people journeying with us on this mission. So we are building up a support base ranging from people who want to receive the monthly newsletter we will be putting out, to those who are committing to keep us in prayer for this time and then those who are committing financially to the journey. At the moment we have over 50 people who have stuck their hands up and said “We want to be part of this with you!” And that feels like a really good thing.

The idea behind Relational Tithe and Common change feels like a really great one and we have seen it work really well in a number of peoples lives and so the connectedness with people from back home in South Africa also means that there is opportunity for the idea to take root in different wants here and start affecting our country more directly. I have already had one person who has expressed interest in starting something like that or being part of a group here and we are excited about the potential of a group of people trying it out in the South African context [there is a Caribbean cluster that meets in Cuba and has been a very successful part of RT so we believe it can work!]

So there you have it – a deeper glimpse into the journey that Brett and Val are about to start [officially in two days time, Val from Oakland and me from here til i get there!] and if you would like to be a part of that journey in any of the three ways mentioned then please drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com and i can add you to the newsletter list.

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

commonchange

So yesterday i wrote a post sharing a deeper glimpse into the future life, work and ministry of the andersons over here – we will be joining a non-profit called Relational Tithe with a working platform called Common Change which, in a very big nutshell, gathers resources from a group of people and then uses them to meet advocated needs from people within the group.

It is a very exciting project and both Valerie and myself are super amped for it. Neither of us are huge fans of the whole asking people money in support thing [although i have less of a problem when it comes to spending other peoples’ money on something i really believe in, it’s just the asking that is generally awkward] but this looks like it is the way this thing has to go – we will be committing to an 18 month period and so it will be a closed ask [as opposed to “support us for the next ten or twenty years”] which makes us feel a little more comfortable as well.

I shared yesterday that Common Change is in line for a matching grant which means that if people pledge donations of up to $1000 then Giving of Life will match whatever is donated up to and including that $1000. Currently Common Change is sitting on $225 and so has $775 to go. The deal has just been sweetened for us by Common change committing to using the $1000 extra they get [if reached] towards our plane tickets and this is where you come in.

This is a way that you can make a donation towards a really great project [the money raised will go towards admin and site hosting costs to ensure that 100% of the tithed money from the groups continues to go towards the needs being met] and also contribute towards our flights back here [mid Feb] and the start of our next journey.

So if you are able to donate $5 or $10 or even $50 or $100, every little bit helps a lot and it will take a whole bunch of people donating a small amount to reach the $1000 pretty easily – if you would like to do that then head here and add your bit. If you don’t have money to donate [or even if you do] there is also a space on that page to vote and the top three receive some kind of bonus [if you sign up via Facebook and Twitter you get two extra votes which you can use – voting is free and i don’t think puts you on any spam lists]

thank you for your time and interest and possible donation or vote… every little bit counts…

[if you want to be more personally involved in our journey then drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com and let me know how you would like to be involved]

for the last 19 months, myself and my beautiful wife Valerie have been living and working with the Simple Way Christian non-profit organisation in Philadelphia, Americaland and yesterday was our last official office day… we fly out back towards South Africa on the 30th of December… can’t wait!

but what next? well we hope to spend around a month and a half at home and then [providing we find the financial support we will need to buy tickets back and live in the US for the next 18 months] fly to Oakland, California to work with our current Simple Way boss in a different and exciting non-profit organisation called Relational Tithe which also goes under the banner of Common Change.

‘Common Change is a utility designed to help connect you and your resources with people in your life. Compelled to action by my faith, we founded Common Change – an opportunity to imagine (and hopefully realize) a world where we are actively eliminating personal economic isolation. As Gandhi said, we believe that there is enough for all our need but not enough for our greed.  We are isolated mostly, not because the rich and poor don’t care about each other but because we don’t know each other.’

We see this as one form of re-imagining the Acts 2 model of the early church which is described like this:

‘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.’ [42 – 47]

if you have a couple of minutes to spare you can help us while also finding out a little bit more about this new and exciting venture we are going to be a part of – Common Change is up for a Giving of Life grant [that will match funds of us to $1000] and so you can go to this page and give us a vote or even give a donation towards the matching grant and there is some more information there on what Common Change is all about as well as a one and a half minute video which explains the concept very simply.

so please help us out by voting and if you feel like it’s a really positive thing [which it is] sharing and getting your friends to vote as well – Val and i have been part of Relational Tithe for about 8 months and it has been so inspirational and life-giving to see the kinds of needs and people that we have been able to encourage, help out and really give some measure of life to. This really feels like something that can be community and world-transforming as more people get involved.

thank you for your time, support and interest. you can expect to hear more from us in the coming month or two but this is a way to get involved in a quick and easy manner right now.

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