Pete Portal lives in Manenberg, Cape Town. He is part of leading Tree of Life, a church in Manenberg dedicated to serving the community by living out Jesus’ love through family. He is also part of the National team for 24-7 Prayer South Africa, and spends much of his time growing relationships and networks across racial and socio-econonic divides.
Pete and his wife Sarah live with young men coming out of gangsterism and drug addiction and, along with a team of friends, disciple and re-parent these young men into faith, freedom and wholeness. Pete spends most of his time trying to work out how to balance intensity with rest, combine compassion with fun, and bring big picture vision back to embodied kindness. Pete enjoys carpentry and he plays football, with increasing slowness, for FC Manenberg.
Pete’s book No Neutral Ground draws on his experiences from a decade working and living in Manenberg as well as his theological studies at Edinburgh University and King’s College London. It is a raw account of seeing the love and power of Jesus break into violent and addicted young lives in Manenberg, one of South Africa’s most notorious communities.
It tells of the extreme experiences – the high highs and low lows – of living with gangsters and drug addicts for whom much of society has given up hope. It is an unlikely adventure from middle class London to the forgotten margins of Cape Town. Along the way it asks some deeply challenging questions around the nature of mission, the call of the church, the inclusivity of the kingdom of God, and the adventure of faith