Without Walls ministry far more than just a church
Since starting the Without Walls ministry more than 15 years ago, East London local Carolynn Struwig, has since dedicated her energy and efforts to helping others.
Beginning as a small church with Struwig as its founder and pastor in 2003, Without Walls has evolved into a non-profit organisation which runs two daycare facilities, a soup kitchen and four restoration homes.
“We rented the Salvation Army hall in Milner Estate, but we soon identified the needs within the community and in 2007 opened a pre-school facility for 40 children and a soup kitchen which presently feeds about 100 people daily from all around the city,” Struwig said.
And instead of spending her pensioner years relaxing, Struwig chose to put everything into establishing Without Walls.
In 2011 she opened the first Without Walls restoration home to help those with addictive lifestyles find solace and support.
Since then another three restoration homes have been opened. The four homes can accommodate 50 people in need.
“We are not a rehabilitation centre, but many addicts have approached me for help and support. Without Walls is a Christian organisation, founded upon Christian principles. We have a home in Berea for unemployed single mothers and children, and homes for men in Vincent, Selborne and Chiselhurst extension,” said Struwig who grew up in East London and is a grandmother of four.
“The purpose of the homes is to provide a safe place with a family environment and a support system. All meals as well as other needs are provided.”
Struwig said Without Walls focused on identifying root causes and, as a Christian-based programme, aimed to help people in need build a relationship with God.
“In the first three months of the programme those in the homes undertake house and garden chores, ministry chores, group devotion times and of course, outside of lockdown, church services which are compulsory,” said Struwig who also runs pastoral counselling sessions in the homes.
“The programme focuses on identifying the root causes of the addict’s unmanageable lifestyle. We believe God’s word has power to heal the whole person. It is often evident that emotional pain, rejection, abuse, trauma and bitterness are root causes. In due time we find the person is willing to open up and the recovery can begin.”
Struwig said many lives had been changed through Without Walls and that it was these success stories that motivated her to keep going.
“We began to see lives turn around for the Lord, and many wonderful stories are recorded on the pages of my heart. We have so many success stories, where people have found hope and their purpose is restored,” said Struwig.
“Our work is rewarding. Family reconciliations and personal growth and restoration of individuals is what it is all about and that is what keeps me going.”
Relying on donations to keep Without Walls running, Struwig said the organisation was growing, with more and more people asking for assistance.
“We operate entirely by faith and rely upon donations. Without Walls is not in receipt of any sponsorship or funding, but we are in urgent need of a larger facility as our work is growing,” Struwig said.
Grant Ramage, who runs one of the Without Walls restoration homes, said Struwig was inspiring, running the organisation almost entirely on her own.
“It’s a big responsibility to take on and Carolynn does it all herself. I just stay in one of the homes to make sure things run smoothly, but she really is amazing and helps all these people mentally and spiritually. She does all the counselling sessions and is always there, ” said Ramage.