The author of the history presented here is unknown – it was possibly Alan Webster or Rev. Dave Smit, however tribute must also be paid to those who have gone before: to those responsible for “ the seed sown” and those “who tended the garden” during some difficult times. People such as the members of Dalpark who stayed on and were faithful to God in keeping Dalpark’s flame alive. May 2018 and the next few years be an outpouring of Gods Spirit upon our community in Dalpark, Brakpan and the surrounding areas! -Ps. Philip Stoneman
A History of Dalpark Presbyterian Community Church
Discussions between members of St Johns Boksburg and St Andrews Brakpan began in 1990 looking at the feasibility of planting a church in Dalpark. On 8th September 1990, over 300 homes were canvassed in the area of Dalpark 6 with 115 homes saying they would be interested in joining an English-speaking church if one was started. It was decided to establish a congregation in Dalpark 6 and the Reverend Dave Smit was called to be its founding minister.
As the congregation had no property of its own, services were held in the Magic Moments Nursery School. A Sunday School was begun on 13th January 1991 and there were 22 children in attendance. The following week, 30 children came and so the new work was off the ground.
The first adult service was held on 3rd February 1991 where 27 people came. Rev, Larson from the Brakpan Congregation donated a fold up lectern, which is still in use today. A piano was also donated to the congregation from St Johns Boksburg and this has been put to good effect over the years. Other items donated were a Baptismal Font, the Living Praise songbooks and the Communion glasses and trays.
The church car, a Honda Ballade was purchased which is still in use. It was also decided to look into purchasing a stand in Dalpark 13 and this land (4508 square metres) was eventually bought from the Brakpan Municipality for R9917.60.
The first members after Dave & Renee Smit were Kim and Jorge Da Motta. Their Daughter Nicole was the first baby to be baptised on 10th March 1991. (see photo below) Eric & Liz Rehse and Peter & Pam McWilliam were added to the role on 7th July 1991.
As the ministry to the community developed, more people were touched by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and were drawn into worship. Fellowship groups were started and held in the homes of members. Efforts at evangelism were taken seriously and many were trained in EEIII and a Lay Witness Mission was held.
Discipleship happened through the good bible teaching on Sunday mornings as well as through the Bethel Series and Bible Studies. A few members attended the St Andrews School of the Bible and grew in their knowledge of Scripture.
The congregation’s efforts to grow and extend the Kingdom of God in Dalpark were hampered by what was happening in the community. A nearby squatter camp emerged and developed rapidly and crime in the area increased. As a result, many homeowners sold up and moved out. Many of the people who showed an initial interest in the church were part of this exodus from Dalpark.
The community of Dalpark 6 has become a poorer, multi-cultural area. This has caused development by the business sector to cease and the area has become a forgotten community. There is a high turnover in the population, which has had an adverse effect on sustainable growth for the congregation. As a result the church has suffered and further planned developments were frustrated.
This is how the ministry progressed for subsequent years. The congregation managed to brave the storms and was able to continue to reach out with the love of Jesus. However, there were many challenges that faced the congregation, especially in regard to finances. A catch-22 situation developed where growth in the congregation was of paramount importance, but to achieve growth would mean building on the property and looking for means of ministry, both of which were costly.
Due to increased financial strain, Rev Dave Smit became the overseeing minister of the Dalpark and Brakpan congregations. He was also looking at furthering his studies in America and the opportunity opened for him in 1998.
A new form of ministry, called a Church Development Evangelist was introduced into the PCSA. This made it possible for a person to work in a congregation on a part-time basis to build and develop the work. The church decided to call Alan Webster to work with Dave until he left in August 1998 for Princeton University. The 8 months they shared in ministry proved to be fruitful and the answer to the various problems the congregation faced.
Now that the future of the Dalpark Congregation was ensured, the main action on the agenda was to see a building erected on the property. This would provide the much-needed place of worship and help to establish an identity for the congregation. It was time to take a step of faith to fulfil Gods vision, cast almost 10 years previously.
“I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH”
Alan Webster was officially appointed as a Church Development Evangelist in January 1999. He was joined by Gary Sinclair, soon to accepted as a Student for the Ministry. By that time, plans to build a worship hall had already been drawn and passed through the Management Committee and through Presbytery. The first phase of construction was under way with a “Turning of the First Sod” out on site. The dream was becoming a reality.
Although there were a few frustrations, the building progressed well. Once everything was completed, the first service in the new hall was set for Pentecost Sunday, 23rd May 1999. This was held with much celebration of Gods goodness and faithfulness in helping us achieve our aims.
The congregation worked to a budget of R89 000, a good portion of which is in the form of a loan. However, because of Gods wonderful provision and the generosity of His people, the buildings were erected well under budget. Soon, plans were made to facilitate Sunday School rooms and to purchase chairs.
Dalpark -From 2000 to 2018.
”The story continues…”
Developing a Missional Church – “Ministry in Action.”