Support my Journey

Last updated: 20 August 2017

During the 2016/17 academic year I will be working to obtain a MA in Philosophy from the University of Buckingham while serving within the Community of St Anselm and living within the Internationl Lutheran Student Centre in London.

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Personhood and human identity has seldom been so central to cultural debates as it is now and yet, all cultural and political discourse has always revolved around the question, “What does it mean to be human and how do we live human lives as local and global communities?”

Assuming there is in fact a way of truth that leads to life and beauty, what do laws, traditions, customs, institutions and creative expressions look like which will facilitate individuals towards personhood in community?

My proposed Masters research (MA in Philsosophy – University of Buckingham) will consider the impact an over-emphasis on individualism had on many modern societies (a problem identified by the World Economic Forum as contributing to the break-down of society) and how a communal approach to defining personhood may reinvigorate such societies, focussing on how human identity is constructed through both narrow and broad social narratives. I am interpreting Sartre’s account of the self, along his idea that ‘existence precedes essence’, in light of Ricouer’s work on narrative identity.

The MA in Philosophy is taught by Prof. Sir Roger Scruton while my research is primarily supervised by Samuel Hughes.

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MA in Philosophy Class of 2016/17 – University of Buckingham

“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Servaas first as a theology student, and then later as a conversation and ministry partner through East Mountain near Stellenbosch. His is a relentlessly inquiring mind complemented by a gentle and inviting personality. A rare combination in a young man passionate about truth, and thus a real gift to the Christian community.” -Dr James B Krohn, KRUX Centre for Christianity and Culture

I have been invited by Archbishop Justin Welby, along with the rest of the Community of St Anselm, to ‘spend a year in God’s time’. As a non-residential member of this community, I resided within the International Lutheran Student Centre (ILSC) in London, along with other non-residential members of the Community of St Anselm and other international postgraduate students from across the world. I have also been given the opportunity to assist on the staff within the ILSC in order to earn further money towards my fundraising goal.

Community Commission

Community of St Anselm – Service of Commissioning, 20 June 2017 – Lambeth Palace

“Servaas lived as a residential member of the East Mountain Community for three years and for two of those years served as the Residential Advisor, helping to shepherd and care for the other Residents and many guests from all over the world. His humility, intellectual curiosity and unique ability to relate across cultures made him an invaluable member of our missional community. Wherever he goes, Servaas is sure to make an impact for the Kingdom of God.” – Gabriel Smith, Co-Founder and Director of East Mountain

I would love to keep you informed of my whereabouts and experiences via a newsletter. Register your interest by sending me a personal message.

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PRAYER NEEDS

  • for accommodation and job opportunities outside of London for the period following Sep
  • that I continue to find pleasure in engaging with my subject area and that enjoyment of my studies outweigh any anxieties involved in the process; for understanding and inspiration as I and my supervisor continue to develop my thesis
  • that there will be financial provision for the full term of studies
  • that I continue to practice generosity while relying on others’ generosity
  • that I may continue to grow in trusting and enjoying the Lord as I continue along the road He calls me on

Through this fund I invite you to assist me in exploring these questions. The target amount pertains roughly to the next step in this journey but you are invited to partner with me both during and beyond the year that lies ahead.

My fixed costs to live and study in London for one year amount to approximately £29,000 (see breakdown below); having thus far obtained roughly 97% of this amount through family assistance, personal savings, term time jobs and generous contributions. Towards this end, along with the hope to establish myself as a researcher and communicator who wishes to pursue further academic studies in the future, I decided to set up an academic study fund through which you can assist me in reaching this goal of a society reforming towards truth.
The figures below are subject to change based on foreign exchange rates and general expenses currently not accounted for. I hope to update it at least once a week.

97% of my needed funds are covered up to date (end of July ’17) and I have compiled a graph indicating how my funds were spent these past 11 months, providing you with something more ‘real’ to contribute to, e.g. my weekly groceries or washing, etc.

expenses

EFT to my South African account                                                                                        

Acc.: ABSA Depositor Plus Acc. nr: 9320829482 Branch Code: 632005

Reference: SHSF_your surname (feel free to remain anonymous)

OR

Make a deposit to my UK account

Acc.: HSBC Basic Account Acc. nr: 71853740 Sort Code: 40-06-07

Reference: SHSF_your surname (feel free to remain anonymous)

OR

GoFundMe:

gofundme

No contribution is too insignificant and all contributions are greatly appreciated.

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Read my earlier newsletters:

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

February 2017

December 2016

October 2016

September 2016

Last video update:

READ MY FULL STORY BELOW

The vision…
Along the Augustinian notion that people are united in the loved things they hold in common, I hope to invite and encourage people to “love better things so that we might become a better people”; a people able to recognise and pursue beauty. In talking about ‘better things’ and ‘beauty’ we assume truth could be known; if not fully, at least intimately. I believe it is crucial that society continues to appreciate the uniquely valuable contribution the Biblical view, with its positive affirmation of truth, brings to public discourse and the sustaining of free and flourishing human societies. In light of this, I intend to play an active role in equipping the Church to be a thinking people, able to participate in the public square within pluralistic societies, and so continue to contribute to the common good as they seek God’s peace and prosperity where they dwell as a people who seek life through the Cross.

Where it began…
I was personally challenged, while a senior student at Stellenbosch University, to seek out wisdom and gain understanding. The “unexamined life” became unliveable to me, to echo Socrates. It was my turn to face up to the question we all face at one time or another: who am I? What does it mean for us to be human and how do we live proper human lives? I believe this remains the greatest question we face as society today. This ongoing evaluation of my personal worldview naturally grew into a greater critique of cultural interpretations of truth. As it turned out, Wisdom was in fact seeking me out, calling me to pursue life in Christ. With this call began my active participation in God’s mission in and restoration of the world; seeking to engage the public square through reason and, importantly, by example; seeking a peaceful society based on the Biblical view of the world.

The journey so far…
After my studies I worked in the Cape wine industry, being drawn to wine as a global product which is so central to the human experience and the creative cultural expressions of cultivation, labour and celebration. During this time I was given the opportunity to complete a graduate degree in theology (SATS through Shofar Institute ) and exchanged my former career path in order to pursue my call and passion. It was a costly decision in many ways but also one which I could not refuse to make. I completed my degree in theology, focussing mainly on the themes of personhood, worldviews and political theology. During this time I joined a cross-cultural community (East Mountain ) which provided me with the opportunity to live experientially what I am pursuing academically.

The journey so far could be described as a walk of faith, as opportunity and provision has always come from beyond what I envisioned or was able to obtain. One of the great motivators on this road is the excitement and encouragement of others with whom I share my passion and vision. I will continue along this path and am therefore inviting you to invest in my journey if you are one of those excited by what I am pursuing.

Joining me in the next step…
I consider further postgraduate studies and continual participation in community life necessary next steps in being established in a position from which to research and comment on religion and public life issues. I am now in the fortunate position of having been offered an opportunity to pursue this on a full-time basis over the next year. I have been offered a place in the University of Buckingham’s MA in Philosophy by Research programme where I will enjoy the opportunity to study under philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, while having been invited to join the St Anselm Community at Lambeth Palace as a non-residential member along with the opportunity to live as a resident in the multicultural, multifaith student community based in the International Lutheran Student Centre in London. This provides me with the opportunity to participate in and serve through community alongside my academic engagement.

No contribution is too insignificant and all contributions are greatly appreciated.                                                     gofundme

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