Greetings from a wet/cold Santa Cruz!
There a number of exciting developments to report on but, for now, let me tell you about Quinta Totaices – an amazing property here in Santa Cruz which looks to be opening-up for us as the home for the first Novō community!
Quinta Totaices is a large property of about an acre of land close to the edge of the city. It’s owned by an ex-pat who increasingly spend their time away from Santa Cruz and are therefore looking to rent it from spring 2016 and, in the next year or two, to sell. Having spent a great evening talking through the Novō vision, our practical plans and those of the current owner, we left with a good sense of confidence that we could work well together during the period of the tenancy and towards an equitable sale.
The property ticks a number of boxes for us:
LOCATION. We’ve always said the first project needs to be within the city so that staff can reach it on public transport, and residents can have visits from their families. It also means we can relate to a range of churches and are able to generate income within the economy of the city.
DESIGN. As you’ll see from the film below the property has excellent gardens; large rooms which could be used for offices, meetings and lounges; great outdoor spaces; an ample kitchen; and plenty of rooms for residents and some live-in staff.
TERMS. To be able to rent with a view to buying is ideal for us. It gives us flexibility and a chance to ‘try before we buy’, and also the chance to focus on training staff, developing our income-generation, and shaping the culture and programme of first community before we get into fundraising for a building.
FEEL. More of this below, but just to say for now that there’s a level of character and personality to Quinta Totaices which it’s really quite hard to find here in Santa Cruz.
A couple of weeks ago a group of us went to do a ‘second viewing’ of the property and spent some time on-site praying together. Once we’d finished-up I did another walk through and filmed this Through the Keyhole video tour of the property:
Before I wrap-up, a confession.
A couple of years ago I began writing a list of the things which ‘made Yeldall, Yeldall’ and which, therefore would need to be ‘non-negotiables’ if we were to create communities which were genuinely built on the Yeldall approach. This list included the following qualities, each of which we have included in our description of the qualities which will mark out Novō communities:
- founded on Christ.
- focus on the whole person.
- partner widely with local churches.
- communities of love and discipline.
- characterized by grace and truth.
- promote freedom and responsibility.
My original list also included another quality of Yeldall, a quality which never made the final cut because I felt, to put it bluntly, it was too much to ask/expect.
What was that quality?
A physical environment (buildings and grounds) whose beauty and ‘feel’ speaks to the residents of the power and goodness of God and of His intense love for them, the value He sees in them, and the hope they have in Him.
Quinta Totaices has made me realise that that quality needs to be back on the list – and should never have slipped-off in the first place! It’s very different to Yeldall Manor (very different!!) but, if you were truly translate Yeldall Manor into the situation here in Santa Cruz, it’s what you’d get.
We have a strong sense that this is the place where God wants to form the first Novō community but, of course, we need to hold that in an open hand. We also need to pray that that nothing would hinder His will being done and, as a result, His Kingdom coming. Please pray with us to that end and that, whether this is the place or not, we’ll be led to a place whose beauty and ‘feel’ ministers healing, wholeness and hope into the lives of those residents for whom God creating this first Novō community.
We are pioneering Novō as self-supported missionaries. If you would like to support us financially you can do so tax-effectively through an organization called Stewardship. To make a one-off gift or to set-up a regular monthly donation, please go to: www.give.net/20171708 or send me an email.