St Saviour's Church
St Saviour's Church building in Randjesfontein was dedicated for Christian worship on 16 May 1985.
The building epitomises a rich spiritual and historic tradition. Material salvaged from a former Cathedral has been used in its construction. On the site of the church there are graves belonging to the pioneer Erasmus family.
St Saviour's Cathedral, Pietermaritzburg, was founded in 1868, by James Green, the Dean at the time of the local Anglican community.
The first part of the building consisted of a simple nave with side aisles. It had a brosely tiled roof, brick walls and a timber floor, with simple windows in the aisles and in clerestory dormers. The building relied upon its 'Gothic' timber roof structure to create its ecclesiastical feeling. It was remarkable for the simplicity of its construction and the speed at which it was erected. Access was through a yellow-wood lynch gate.
In 1876, the Cathedral was extended. A new entrance and two transepts were built on the Commercial Road end of the building.
Five years later, a chapter room and library were added along the north-west side. This neccesitated the removal of several windows from the aisles, which were used in the new rooms. In 1898, a new sanctuary, two more transepts and St Michael's Chapel were added to complete the Cathedral's cruciform shape.
It was later decided to build a new Cathedral for Natal's Anglican community and St Saviour's Cathedral was deconsecrated in 1976, making the building material available for suitable re-use elsewhere.
The developers of Randjesfontein, Charles Lloys Ellis and Keith Parker obtained the former sanctuary, transepts, nave, chapter room and library for St Saviour's Church at Randjesfontein. Demolition of the old Cathedral began in 1981 and Robert Brusse was commissioned to draw up the plans for the new church. The plan of the new building was based on the sanctuary and transepts of the old Cathedral. One bay of the original transept was relocated at the end of the other transept. To create a new nave and santuary, two smaller transepts were made by taking one bay away from the original sanctuary and relocating it across the crossing. St Michael's Chapel became the new baptistry and the lynch gate was re-used as the main entrance, just as it had been originally. Some of the pews, the font and pulpit were brought from the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Noupoort in the Northern Cape. The plan provided for accomodation of a congregation of 200.
St Saviour's Church is located among several old conifers, adjacent to the Erasmus family cemetery - pioneers of Ranjesfontein, who settled in the area in the 1830's. Two monumental tombs and several smaller graves record the passing of the patriarch and his children.
To the north side of the Church, the old homestead and farm buildings will be converted for commercial and recreational purposes.
The first service of MRPC was held in the local Swiss Country Club in March 1985 with 12 people attending. By September 1985 the congregation began to worship in St Saviour's with 40 people attending the first service there. The congregation has grown steadily over the 20 years and now we have about 340 families (800 - 900 individuals) worshipping and participating in God's work amongst us.
The founder minister of the congregation was Tim Sawyer who with his wife Julie emigrated to South Africa from England in 1970. Tim retired in September 2005 and was involved in the formation of the new Presbyterian Church in the Fourways area. Sadly Tim went to be with his maker earlier this year.
Christopher Judelsohn, appointed as successor to Tim in April 2004, is originally from Cape Town having first served in Port Elizabeth at St Martin's Presbyterian Church. His wife, Keryn, was born in Durban, but also grew up in Cape Town. Chris & Keryn have two lovely daughters, Rachael and Emma, and a son Nathan.
In January 2008 Gavin Lock was called as a colleague minister to Christopher. Gavin and his wife Janine are originally from Johannesburg and served initially at St Giles Presbyterian Church in Orchards; thereafter Gavin ministered at the Hill Presbyterian Church in Port Elizabeth for nine years. Gavin & Janine have been blessed with two children Caitlin and James. Gavin received a call to St James Presbyterian Church in Bedfordview from 1 August 2012.
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