Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I came across this demographic survey of Mitchell's Plain here which is based on hte 2001 census data. This is just one of the slides (you can click on it to enlarge). The survey has a number of similar pictures showing distribution of housing, education, access to water and so on. This picture is a combination of various socio-economic indicators. The key here is a bit confusing, but the bottom line is that red and pink are bad and green is relatively good, the cream is intermediate.

Having worked in Mitchell's Plain for a year and a bit, this picture is very meaningful. The line running down the centre of the map is the railway line. My two churches are to the right of the line (ok, east!). Beacon Ridge, which is the church that is struggling bitterly with finances covers the lower quadrant (Beacon Valley, Eastridge and Tafelsig).

The question, 'why are we struggling?' becomes a no-brainer when we look at this map. Even if people tithe, ten percent of R1000 is only R100. We need to raise R16 000 each month to get by.

Of course, this only means that we need 160 people with the commitment to tithe, or maybe a few higher income people. It doesn't seem fair though, that tithing becomes a life or death thing in a poor area and simply a 'spiritual discipline' in a wealthy area. The Methodist Church has been very strong on 'parity of stipends' as an effort to correct past practices where white ministers tended to get higher stipends. What it also means, though, is that poor churches get no discounts. The cost of a minister is the same across the board.

This really needs creative thinking - and there is more to it than 'the spiritual state of a church is reflected in its finances'.

Just for interest here are slides showing subsistence levels and education levels.

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