the discovery of gold on the Reef and the influx of miners from Great Britain,
small pockets of church work in the Main Denominations (English = Anglican and
Methodist; Welsh= Baptist; Scottish = Presbyterian) began to spring up led at
first by laity.
first Anglican group met at a house in Elsburg, and they petitioned the Bishop
who (since Boksburg was the first mining township proclaimed on the East
Rand - proclaimed a few days before Johannesburg) sent a missionary priest to
Boksburg to establish a parish in 1890
temporary church structure and hall were built, and formal services began. The
priest at Boksburg looked after the entire East Rand. The next missionary
station was Heidelberg.
(Second) Anglo- Boer war saw a slowing down of English-speaking influx and
church activity on the Reef, but after its end, there was a boom in
immigration. Boksburg North, separated from Boksburg by a large ditch, became a
centre on its own, and soon the idea was born of starting a church centre there.
Fund-raising started, culminating in the building of the St Gabriel’s church (hall - it was intended to be)
dedicated in 1909.
churches had sprung up all over the east Rand between 1903 to 1910 and St
had lagged behind, but not for long and ground was acquired. (3 of the Erven
are still registered in the deeds Office as
“Crown Grants” ). A new church and a rectory
were built in the growing up-market suburb of
/ Vogelfontein. The town centre spread into this suburb with the magistrate’s court
the local market being established there.
the 1960's the S A Wine bottling plant and shop that was next to St Michael’s closed down and the parish was able to
purchase the land. The Diocese insisted that it be used for the building of
flats to be let out that generate income. Fortunately, this never happened and
today the property provides much needed parking, as well as visibility of the
church from Commissioner St.
years later as the influx to the Reef continued and the new southern suburbs of
Germiston (Elspark) and Boksburg (Freeway Park and Sunward Park) were developed
by JCI, the then Rector of Boksburg Fr Noel Aldridge, saw the need for the
church to acquire land in the area, and the current property of St Raphael’s was bought in the early 1970's and
remained undeveloped till 1992.
the same time a motion was proposed to vestry to close St Gabriel’s and sell the property. This was vigorously
opposed by the congregation there who were then challenged to look after it all
themselves, and this has left a scar that remains 40 years later.
the creation of a new Diocese looming, there was a push for the
Cathedral to be sited on this land, and plans were drawn for this.
never happened, and in 1991 the new Rector Fr Amoore, challenged the council to
or sell it. A house that had facilities for the Adult Worship as well as Youth
Worship was seen and bought as a new Rectory, and services with concurrent Youth
Worship began in the house in Advent 1991. From then the church site was
hall and Youth Worship classrooms were built first, which were let out for
pre-primary school purposes during the week. Many lessons were learnt from this
experiment, and the building plans altered as unforeseen needs of such a school
arose. It led to the church not renewing the lease with the tenants and taking
over running of a pre-primary school ourselves. This school has
subsequently been registered as a Non Profit Company. Plans for the church have
been drawn up and approved by Diocese and Municipality and funds are being
the 1980's the circumstance of an elderly parishioner needing somewhere to live
led to the parish, inspired by Harold Flight and aided by John Pedlar, managing
of Geo Constable’s printing works, raising funds and purchasing a block of
flats (now on the death of John Pedlar named Pedlar Place) for housing for the
elderly, and an association, Anglican housing for the Elderly, was
established but never given a constitution. The vision was to expand and
eventually be able to offer frail care as well.
the social decline of the area around St Michael’s and the need for secure on-site parking, the three
erven on the west side of Plein St were bought, and the erven east of the hall
in the same block as the church were bought.
To enable it to fulfil its role in the Vision of the parish, St Gabriel’s
had a hall built in the late 1990's.
VISION AND STRUCTURE OF THE PARISH
with all parishes in the Diocese that go back that long, the boundaries of the
parish date back to Apartheid times and include the previously white suburbs.
This has however ceased to be of any consideration as people go to the parish
of their choice and cultural, racial and linguistic considerations have
determined the area of ministry. Thus for example the previously white area of
Rondebult is now ministered to from Spruitview, while the “new” “Coloured” area of Windmill Park and
area of Villa Liza is ministered to by Reiger Park and (the informal settlement
attached to it) by Vosloorus.
the centre is the focus of unity of the parish, with almost all extra
liturgical functions taking place there, and will in its worship be eclectic,
drawing a congregation based not on geographical proximity or pastoral care,
but on the provision of a high standard of worship. This worship will thus of
necessity use the best of meaningful ceremony crisply executed and a high
standard of preaching, vocal delivery and music. In addition, the architecture
is both a remarkable strength of the building, and a hazard for those who
neglect it in order to impose a style of worship on it.