Immanuel Congregational church!

Short General historical background

In 1580, Reverend Robert Browne left the Anglican Church to form the Congregational Church in Norwich, England, while in1620 the Congregationalists left Leyden, Holland to settle in America.

In 1648 the American congregationalists wrote the Declaration of Principles, more commonly as known as the Cambridge Platform .

In 1658, the general Declaration of Religion was written by the congregationalist, Oliver Cromwell and the Sinode, which consisted of the Congregational Churches of England and Wales. The Savoje Declaration consist of the spirit of Congregationalism.

NOTE: A declaration of principles of church government and discipline, forming a constitution of the Congregational churches. It was adopted by a church synod at Cambridge, Mass., and remains the basis of the temporal government of the churches. It had little to do with matters of doctrine and belief. The Congregationalists of Connecticut later subscribed (1708), in the Saybrook Platform, to a more centralized church government, resembling Presbyterianism.

In 1795 the evangelical Anglicans and the Presbyterian Churches formed the London Missionary Society.

The first Congregational Church was founded in 1799 in South Africa by Dr. Johannes Theodorus Van der Kemp.


In January 1897, the Reverend J.W.Orr was sponsored by the Colonial Missionary Society, and appointed as the minister of the independent Churches of Pretoria. The congregation existence was exclusively colourdes and services were held in Zink buildings.

According to tradition, a few Congregationalists have already had services before 1897 in the home of the Paulse family.

The earliest written record was this of the general church meetings held Tuesday 23 August 1898. Several concerns of the business of the young church members came under scrutiny. The read as follows" aangezien dat de Heer Mc Coll de ambacht van kerk Thesourier bedankt hebben - dat de broer Piet Liberty gekozen werd. Broer P Kyster is als secretaren van de kerk gekozen. " The meetng was about making the building available for the "Working Men's Benefit Society".

Congregation members who's names that were mentioned at the Historical meetings were :

Sister: Mc Col en Wijk
Brothers: W. Malouw, Jonas Johnson, K. Bergman , Piet Liberty , P. Kyster , C. Sauls and Floors Brink

At a meeting held on 8 November, very important decisions were made. On 1 December a "Tea - Meeting" was held in remembrance of the Release of the slaves 1834. This celebrations, became annual Coloured tradition of the Congregational Church.Disappointingly the annual function was no longer held.

In 1900 the Anglo Boere Oorlog destroyed farms and lead to casualties of war. Division later arose within the communities. The instabilities also reflected in the Church , when some of the congregation in October made a stand against Reverend J. W Orr. They demanded the keys for the church and all records to hand over to them.

Reverend James La Pla arrived in Pretoria in January 1902 with instructions from C.U.S.A( Congregational Union of Southern Africa) to investigate the problems in the community and to try and resolve their differences. During the conferences the congregation has shown their gratitude towards Reverend Orr for the work he has done. The C.U.S.A appointed Reverend John Bacon Watson in the vacant post, as requested by the congregation.

The increase of Coloured People continued in 1903 to the Goldfields in Johannesburg . Families came from places like Graaf-Reinet ,Port Elizabeth, Natal , Colesburg , Kimberley, Western Cape and the Freestate. The increase of people in Pretoria Lead to the existence of the area Lady Selborne , name after Lord Selborne British High Commissioner

The Lady Selborne church!

The church was opened on 22 February 1914 in Lady Selborne. This independent churck was located in Carroll street next to the State School. The sisters of the congregation held 'Teas' to generate extra income. Piet Liberty who was acting Evangelist assisted Minister J. B. Watson in Lady Selborne for one pound a month.

The Church council members were H Wilson, A van Rooyen and Muller. They did the work of God for years promoting Congregationalism even under very difficult circumstances. Later on this task became the sole responsibility of David Wilson. Three years later he was joined by Brother Hendricks. Church Services were held at the Hoods home in Beacon street for almost two years. The Church was forced to sell its property in Lady Selborne and Claremont side because of the Group Areas Act .
The Church in Location was also for hire at 3 pounds per month. Susters Miss Emily and Miss Phoebe Ferguson were involved in this modest beginning. Primary school education was now within in reach of the 'Cape Location','Indian Bazaar' and 'Marabastad' children.

Pastor Watson resigned on 15 November 1904 as Minister because the church did not have any money. In 1905 he joined the Graaff-Reinet Congregation. In the absence of a permanent Priest an agreement was made with the C.U.S.A that Pastor Charles Philips relieving minister of Pastor A Sampson would visit the congregation on a monthly basis to give them Holy Communion and to assist with the day to general business of the Church. This service cost the church members 100 pounds a year.

On 19 January 1906 they held a meeting of which J. B. Watson was the chairman. He explained to them that Union decided that he would stay on for three months in which he would then be the acting Minister and would help with future plans.
The deed of sale for the property on which the church stands was sent to the Union for safe keeping. Nothing came of the suggestion to employ Pastor W. Goch.

Pastor P. J. van Amsterdam was the chairman for a meeting help January 1907. This well educated person moved from Pietermaritzburg. Pastor van Amsterdan left the congregation on 9 September 1912 for a church in Port Elizabeth. At a special meeting held on 20 November 1912 of which Pastor Charles Philips was the Chairman it was decided to appoint Pastor J. B. Watson.

During 1914 Pastor Watson left for 'Home' in England for six months.

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