St Luke’s church in Diep River is celebrating 120 years of existence and they will be walking down memory lane to remember all the good and bad the church has gone through.
The family-orientated church has around 550 members and will begin celebrations for this feat in late October.
The church was founded in Diep River, when the area was still a farm.
Sir Herbert Baker, who was a young architect in 1895, was tasked to design the church.
It was opened in October 1897 as St Luke the Beloved Physician.
Over the years, the church persisted through many hurdles. During the carrying out of the Group Areas Act, police wanted to close the church down. The authorities forcibly moved all the people who lived in council houses to Retreat. Church leaders such as Charles Blows now the board chairperson for Kensiton Home for the Aged and other church members fought to keep it open.
Minnie Wolmarans joined the church when she was 10-years-old. She says the church was very small at the time: “My aunt, who was the forerunner then, introduced us to this church when we were put out of our home.”
Wolmaran and her family were forced to move to Retreat during forced removals. However, they countinued to come to the church despite only being allowed to go there at specific times.
“A lot was going on in this country at the time. I’m glad that now everyone is welcome regardless of where they come from or what they look like. The church has really come a long way and it truly exists to build bridges,” she says.
Church member Garth Van Boom expresses that the meaning of these celebrations is what the church slogan stands for.
“These celebrations stand for God’s faithfulness, that’s our slogan. It says a lot about where He (God) brought this church from, where it was, where it is now and where it’s going,” he explains.
St Luke’s church regularly hosts church programmes that aim to address many causes in the area.
Congregant Doug Kirkpatrick refers to these programmes as self-help initiatives. “We help one another to re-establish value for ourselves,” he says.
The church continuously helps people through personal transformation by conducting worship seminars, feeding and providing blankets for the homeless.
They also run workshops to help other churches grow in their worship.
To mark their milestone the church will have a three day programme to celebrate.
They will begin on Friday 27 October, with a night market for members, families and friends. There will also be food trucks and a children’s play area.
They plan to end off the evening with a worship concert.
Celebrations on Saturday 28 October will include a picnic in the park with community and former members.
Different church and school bands will be performing on stage. At night, a projector will be set up for attendees to watch the church’s archival footage of interviews.
On Sunday 29 October, the three-day celebrations will conclude with a combined thanks-giving service in the morning, accommodating everyone.