Architectural gem opened

2010-09-06 00:00

THEY wanted to create a place of beauty which would make people think of God just by looking at the architecture and its landscape.

The Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary (SMMS) in Epworth was officially opened and dedicated on Saturday. Guests of honour included the former presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Southern Africa, Mvume Dandala, and family of the late Seth Mokitimi, who was the first black president of the Methodist Church in Southern Africa.

The R65 million project boasts a chapel with seating for 270 people, a lecture complex housing four major lecture theatres, a prayer garden, a number of seminar rooms, an open amphitheatre with a towering cross, an administration building, a cafeteria and a library, both open to the public. But by far its biggest attraction are the chapel doors, each weighing one- and-a-half tons. They are apparently the biggest on any building in South Africa.

But more than the outer beauty, said the Reverend Professor Peter Storey, the former bishop of the Methodist church in South Africa, the church wanted to create a place where it could shape the future of South Africa through moral and spiritual leadership, which the country so desperately needs.

“What you see here is a culmination of a dream held by the Methodist church for many years, but which needed people of passion and action to fulfil. For the past three years I have worked with teams who have rallied together to work on funding, academics, governance, student life, as well as the land and buildings for us to have all this today.”

“The campus costs over R60 million and I’m proud to tell you that we are only about R3 million short of that sum. About 97% of the money was raised by the Methodist people and well-wishers here in South Africa. Only three percent came from gifts overseas.”

The Witness understands the outstanding R3 million has already been pledged.

The campus offers three programmes for the 77 seminarians enrolled this year. The president of the seminary, the Reverend Dr Ross Olivier, said they wanted to be known for quality and service to their community, something they are already practising.

Members of the public can rent conference and seminar rooms and make use of the book and thrift shops.

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