Inclusionary church is 150

2017-08-08 06:01

The Cape Town Unitarian Church celebrates its 150th anniversary this week – 150 years of providing the city with an alternative to traditional religion, the church says in a statement.

The church in Hout Street in the CBD celebrated the anniversary with a service on Sunday.

Established in 1867 by Reverend Dawid Faure, the local branch of this liberal church angered many mainstream religious leaders of the day for its open-minded approach and adoption of creedless ­practice.

“At the time it was founded, many saw it as a problematic but passing phase, yet the idea of a religious community without pressure from doctrine or dogma remains attractive,” says Reverend Gordon Oliver, minister of the church and former mayor of Cape Town. “The church has over the years been a welcoming space for people of all religions or none.”

The establishment counts people of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and atheist backgrounds amongst its members. It was one of the first churches in South Africa to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies and has been a spiritual home for people who seek freedom of choice and the right to question in matters of religious belief.

“We accept that religion is open to change, and develop in the light of new thought and discovery,” says Reverend Roux Malan, who is affiliated with the church.

The movement encourages what he calls a “spacious spirituality”, which includes rather than excludes.

“It requires open hearts and minds towards one another and the environment in which we live.”

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