All Saints celebrates 160 years

The All Saints Church in Durbanville.

The All Saints Church has served Durbanville for 160 years, enriching parishioners’ lives and echoing the community’s history.

The first All Saints Church was designed by Sophie Gray, wife of Robert Gray, the first Bishop of Cape Town from 1847 to 1872.

The church in Baxter Street was established in 1856 and completed and dedicated in 1860. From 1856 to 1859, Anglican services in Durbanville were held in premises along the main road, where the parking lot between Church Street and Wellington Street is now.

Ms Gray had brought with her from England architectural plans of churches that could be adapted to the design of churches and schools for the new Anglican parishes that were to be established throughout South Africa.

The church served about 300 people living in Durbanville. It housed the community’s school during the week and served as a church on Sundays and for other special occasions.

By 1982, the parish had grown, and it became necessary to extend the building. The church was enlarged and given its present cruciform shape. The stained glass windows were installed and a gallery added on the south side.

On June 4 1996, the church building and all its furnishings were destroyed in a fire. Only the brass cross, still used in the church today, and the brass crosses on the wardens’ wands survived the inferno.

But within a year, the church was rebuilt through the generosity of the community, and it was re-dedicated on October 26 1997.

Today, All Saints is a thriving and diverse community with about 1 800 members on its parish roll. English, Afrikaans and Xhosa are included in its services. Three chapelries are included in the ministry of All Saints: St Paul-in-the Valley, St John’s Klipheuwel and St Monica’s Fisantekraal.

All Saints rector Reverend Bruce Jenneker said: “The ministry of All Saints seeks to address the needs of the community at large through worship, evangelism, education, social responsibility and pastoral care.

“The church also seeks contact with other Christians to strengthen Christian witness and promote Christian unity.”

Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba will preside over a special Eucharist service, on Sunday November 6, at 8.30am, to mark the church’s 160th anniversary.