[column parallax_bg=”disabled” parallax_bg_inertia=”-0.2″ extended=”false” extended_padding=”true” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”” background_position=”” background_size=”auto” background_attachment=”” hide_bg_lowres=”false” background_video=”” vertical_padding_top=”0″ vertical_padding_bottom=”0″ more_link=”” more_text=”” left_border=”transparent” class=”” id=”” title=”BRIEF HISTORY OF ANDREW MURRAY WARD, DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH, WINDHOEK.” title_type=”single” animation=”none” width=”1/1″ last=”true”]
[column_1 width=”1/1″ last=”true” title=”” title_type=”single” animation=”none” implicit=”true”]
The ministry started as a response to a cry form former members of the Methodist Church Windhoek Central who became disenchanted with the way in which their congregation were subjected to politically motivated decisions and a decline in the ministry in the congregation at the time. Things came to a head in September 1986, resulting in a mass departure of members from the Methodist Central Congregation Windhoek.
A core or of initially 14 persons, were determined to “do their own thing”. They were not willing to join other denominations but saw themselves as Methodists seeking true expression of the Christian faith free of politics and outside influences. The group consisted of Pap and Yvonne Venter, George and Susie Yates, Des and Stienie Radmore, Bunty Engels, Pam Lotteryman, John and Francis Engels, Rosely Truter, Merle Rabie and her mother Lulu Rabie.
Needing a place of worship for Sunday morning services and someone to minister was the first obstacle to tackle. Doves and Wasserfall Funeral Undertakers in Planck Street came to rescue by offering the gratis use of their funeral parlour, which was gratefully accepted. The Chaplain of the SWA Territory Force as well as numerous National Service Chaplains and other invited ministers from various churches held regular church services. Rosely Truter volunteered to play the piano for on Sunday mornings. The original small band of rebels continued with the “Funeral Parlour” congregation for almost a year.
Ds Attie Bezuidenhout, Chief Chaplain of the SWA Territory Force was a regular minister at the services. After a while he urged the group to find affiliation somewhere as there was a need fro the administering of sacraments and for a Sunday school, etc.
In July 1987, a meeting was held with Ds P.A. du Toit of the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk Windhoek Moedergemeente, Ds Attie Bezuidenhout, Proponent Thijs van der Merwe with representatives of the small group to discuss the possibility of forming an English Ward of the N.G. Kerk. The then Proponent Thijs van der Merwe was working for MEMA – a media missions arm of the NG Kerk – and he was willing to become the first minister of the ministry.
The matter was taken to the church council of Moedergemeente and upon approval was presented for approval at Presbytery level. This was successful and heralded the establishment of an English Ward as a ministry of the Dutch Reformed (N.G.K) Windhoek Moedergemeente.
The inaugural service was held on August 1st, 1987. Initially known as the “Engelse Wyk”, then as the “Anderstalige Wyk” and still later as the Andrew Murray Ward.
At the outset Sunday morning church services were held in the N.G. Kerksentrum hall opposite the Moederkerk, in what is today Corporate House, next to the Methodist Church.
Ds Thijs van der Merwe became the first full-time minister and was ordained as such on October 11th, 1987.
Due to the negative experiences with political influences in a church, it was insisted that there would never be any form of political influences in the congregation; that it should be seeker friendly by a relaxed clothing tradition – not being a “suit and tie” fraternity so to make it attractive for people who are not regular church goers; and that monthly communion services were desired. These three factors were quite acceptable to Ds Thijs and is the norm to this day.
To his dying day Elder Pap Venter proudly mentioned that he was the first Elder to ever to attend Moedergemeente church council meetings in an open-necked shirt!
Susie Yates was our first Sunday School Supervisor and Rosely Truter was the first organist. Stienie Radmore organised the Teas after the service which became the back bone of our fellowship and is still running.
The first, and for many years only Elder, was Pap Venter. The first Deacon was Charles Gordon. They, together with the help of Des Radmore and George Yates were instrumental in the growth of membership and in the publishing of a Hymnal with a selection of hymns in 1990.
The first baby to be baptised in the newly established English Ward was young Gert Engels who was born while we were still in the “Funeral Parlour” congregation. The first baby to be born and baptised in the English Ward was Clifford Yates.
Initially Ds Thijs was our only preacher and in his absence Ds P.A. du Toit or Ds Dirk Louw, both of Moedergemeente, would deliver a sermon. Later, Ds Dirk Louw became and still is, a regular preacher with us when Ds Thijs was / is out of town.
Once recognised as a ministry of the Dutch Reformed Church, there was a constant increase in membership and the Andrew Murray Ward has never looked back. The congregation has grown in strength to where we presently number 235 confirmed members, plus many adherants and regular visitors.
After more than a year in the N.G. Kerksentrum hall, we were forced to move our place of worship to the N.G. Moederkerk, due to the Synod Hall being transformed into two floors of the Synod building and was no longer available. This brought even more recognition as a recognised church Ward, resulting in still further growth in the strength of the congregation. This is still our place of worship every Sunday from 08H30 to 09h30.
For numerous years the ward maintained its own finances, but eventually pooled resources with the funds of Moedergemeente. Before that was done, the Andrew Murray Ward paid for the building of the present Mother’s Room in the Moederkerk; the building of the present hall in the Moederkerk; and the computer display board in the sanctuary.
When the funds of Andrew Murray Ward were transferred to the funds of Moedergemeente in 1996, the Ward gave Moedergemeente a dowry of N$35,000. A remarkable achievement for congregation of 10 years old, considering its humble beginnings
In October 1997, Andrew Murray Ward celebrated their 10th anniversary in a joint social function with the Afrikaans section of Moedergemeente.
As mentioned the Ward introduced a social “gathering” for tea or coffee every Sunday morning after the church service from the outset, plus a family lunch at the home of Ds Thijs and Adrie every month after communion. Especially the morning tea is well attended and recognised as a place for an informal meeting of congregation members on a weekly basis. Additionally, it has become custom for eats to be brought along for the tea and coffee “gathering” whenever there is a “Stork tea” and a baptism within the congregation. (Ons Ingelse hou maar van ons parties!).
As the congregation grew it became more difficult to sustain the monthly fellowship meals and a need also arose to have fellowship with the Afrikaans side of the congregation. These were reduced to three such feasts per annum and greatly contributed to the congregation becoming more united as a fellowship with three traditions in services, not being separate entities.
Ds Thijs attends most church conferences concerning English speaking Dutch Reformed Church Wards in South Africa, and as such, the Andrew Murray Ward has received formal recognition throughout Southern Africa.
Windhoek city has a cosmopolitan society, more so after the independence of Namibia, with an influx of foreigners, advisers to government, diplomats, etc., from all over the world. Over the years, many of these foreigners have joined the Andrew Murray Ward congregation.
Over the years many ministries grew out of the Andrew Murray Ward – one of these was a Chinese ministry, another was the ministry to hungry children in schools and pre-schools; the soup kitchen that is still running after over twenty years which lead to the larger ministry to street people and the homeless; they started attending our church services and so became instrumental in the Council’s decision to establish an Overnight Shelter on the church premises which can house up to 42 persons.
The locality of the church and the ministries to needy people in the inner city also bought refugees to our doorstep. This blossomed to a ministry that is reaching over the borders of our nation today.
The Andrew Murray Ward has come to stay, and has become a haven for English persons in Windhoek, seeking the true Gospel message.
[column_1 parallax_bg=”disabled” parallax_bg_inertia=”-0.2″ extended=”” extended_padding=”1″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”” background_position=”” background_size=”auto” background_attachment=”” hide_bg_lowres=”” background_video=”” vertical_padding_top=”0″ vertical_padding_bottom=”0″ more_link=”” more_text=”” left_border=”transparent” class=”” id=”” title=”” title_type=”single” animation=”none” width=”1/1″ last=”true”]