By Yolande Du Preez
A group of Fish Hoek Methodist Church congregants, marking their church’s centenary, on Saturday, walked from their church to the Simon’s Town Methodist Church.
They had to complete 100km in any sport of their choice as part of a centenary challenge.
The church held an outdoor service the week before, on Sunday October 24, in honour of what the church’s minister, Reverend Delme Linscott, called an “incredible milestone” for the valley.
“The centenary celebrations are a reminder that every generation is able to stand on the shoulders of giants, and it is important for us to honour their genuine legacy of faith, hope, and love,” he said.
He said celebrating a centenary in the midst of a global pandemic had its own challenges, but God had been with Fish Hoek community through the turmoil of the last century.
Congratulatory messages poured in from far and wide which included a message from former minister Reverend Ronnie Cawood from Stilbaai who spent 18 years at the church until 2017, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato, and Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa Purity Malinga.
Superintendent for the Fish Hoek circuit and resident minister for Simon’s Town and Ocean View Methodist churches Reverend Olivia Le Roux said: “We at Fish Hoek Circuit celebrate your centenary with you.”
According to Reverend Linscott, a group of Methodist families who called themselves the Wesleyans started talking about a place of worship in 1918. In 1921, a plot was bought for £150 and a tender for £800 was accepted to build the church.
The foundation stone was laid on October 29 1921 by Thomas Mossop and Reverend Edward Marsh and the church officially opened early in 1922. It could accommodate 60 to 70 people.
In 1928, an adjacent plot was purchased and a small addition was made to the building. However, in 1945, due to a growing congregation, three additional rooms were built onto the end of the church and the new bigger church officially opened in 1946. However, more space was needed and the foundation stones for the present church were laid in March 1946, and the church officially opened in September 1953.
A bell hung on the porch of the church between 1920 to 1940 and it was rung to draw people to church.
In 1957 a plot next door to the church was bought and turned into a children’s sanctuary. Another property adjacent to the sanctuary was then bought and in 1963 and a creche was opened on the property to allow young parents to attend morning services.
In 1972, the children’s sanctuary was demolished to make way for Joseph Boyd Hall.
It would take another 19 years before another addition was made to the church – the garden of remembrance – where a plaque commemorates some of those who were instrumental in the development of the church.
Reverend Linscott said that many of the church’s “forebears” did not have their names on plaques or in history books and the centenary allowed them to pause and honour every person who had left a legacy for them to celebrate.