KZN’s largest Dutch Reformed congregation looks back on 60 years

Dominee Mauritius Pienaar with the award for reconciliation.

The Dutch Reformed Church on the corner of Frost and Bernadotte streets celebrates the congregation’s 60th anniversary on Sunday, 27 May.

This date also coincides with the church’s English section’s 20th anniversary.

The church started in what is now the Red Cross building opposite Warner Beach Senior Prep in 1958, with Dr Dirk Oosthuizen as its first dominee. The church’s 15th minister, Marius Schoombie, started his ministry on 1 January 2018.

At 1,300 members, the church boasts the largest Dutch Reformed congregation in KZN, and its English service on a Sunday is a home for Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of the Congo immigrants.

READ ALSO: Prayer flags fly after Warner Beach church offers alternative to protest

The congregation plays an ongoing role in distributing clothes to poor communities. The church is also home to an interesting artefact. During World War 2, the Germans bombed the Coventry Cathedral. After reconciliation, the Germans helped rebuild the cathedral and the nails which originally held up the massive cross were fixed into a cross, which became an award for reconciliation.

When the Toti and KwaMakhutha congregations met to discuss the hurts of the past suffered under the apartheid government, the churches were presented with the award, which proudly stands in the Toti church.

READ ALSO: Relatives sickened by state of church, cemetery

“We are also part of the Coventry congregation,” said Dominee Mauritius Pienaar, who has been at the church for 35 years. He was born in Graaf Reinet and stationed at the Louis Botha Airforce Base as chaplain, before moving to Toti.

“Every Sunday we also preach at the Coastline Caravan Park in Illovo.”

The church will have an honoured guest in Professor Ian Nell of Stellenbosch University, who will hold evening services at the church every night from Sunday, 20 May (Pentecost) until the celebratory service conducted in Afrikaans, on 27 May. “We invite the public to attend these evening services,” said Dominee Pienaar.

 

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  AUTHOR
Earl Baillache
Journalist

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