Dutch Reformed Church, Pretoria East

NG Kerk, Pretoria East Image source

NG Kerk Pretoria Oos is next to Loftus Versfeld Stadium and is located in City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng, South Africa.
The Dutch Reformed Church's history in Southern Africa begins with the arrival of the Dutchman, Jan van Riebeeck, at the southern tip of Africa on 6 April 1652. He had to find a half-way station to the East on behalf of the United East India Company. Thus the settlement is at the foot of Table Mountain and along the Liebeek River. A Fort of Good Hope was built. With him, Van Riebeeck also brings the Christian faith. One of the first things he does, for example, with his arrival at the Cape, is to thank God in a public prayer and to ask his blessing for the business. And because he was of Reformed religion, the Reformed Church tradition is established at the Cape.
In the next few years, the Cape population, with the rise of the number of companion owners, will only grow out of business owners (free burghers), emergence of orphans and women from the motherland, the import of slaves from the East and Africa, free blacks, political exiles, the Establishment of free Asians, the arrival of the French Huguenots and much later by the arrival of the British settlers. It was especially the arrival of the French Huguenots who flew from their country because of the persecution they experienced there under the Roman Catholic Church, which strengthened the ranks of Protestant believers. The number of towns is slowly increasing and spreading with the migration of settlers to the interior. With the establishment of the first synod on 2 November 1824 there were already 14 congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church.
 
Contact with the slaves, Asians and the indigenous people of Southern Africa gave an opportunity for missionary work and education. However, the church's contribution was shortened by the lack of ministers and ministers from the Netherlands and Scotland to provide this shortage. Through the Great Trek in the late 1930s, a large part of the population moved across the Northern border (Orange River) of the Cape Colony to the areas known later as the Orange Free State, Natal and Transvaal.
 
Many new churches have arisen and the need for ministers has increased. Gradually, the need for own theological training has already grown for the Dutch Reformed Church. Thus, the first Theological Culture School (Seminar) was founded in Stellenbosch in 1859. It became the Theological Faculty of the University of Stellenbosch in 1963. In 1937, the education of ministers to the North of the country was expanded with the establishment of the Theological Faculty at the University of Pretoria. The establishment of the Theological Faculty at the University of the Orange Free State took place in 1978 at the General Synod's meeting in Bloemfontein, with the first classes starting in 1981.
 
Initially, the Cape Synod was the only synod of the Dutch Reformed Church. But because of various reasons there are more synods outside the Cape Colony. For example, the Orange Free State has its own synod in 1864, Natal in 1865 and the Transvaal in 1853. Attempts to unification of the synods failed after unification in 1910, but in 1962 these attempts were eventually successful in the establishment of General Synod of The Dutch Reformed Church. Over the years, efforts have also been made to establish association between the Dutch Reformed Church and the Reformed Churches in South Africa. Over time, the NG Church developed the Family of NG Churches with the establishment of the DRC in Africa (NGKA), the NG Mission Church (these churches donated in 1986 to the United Reformed Church in Southern Africa - VGKSA ) And the Reformed Church in Africa (RCA). Since 1994, the momentum to unite these churches of the church family has gained new momemtum. This church reunification process is currently a high priority within the DRC family.
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Last updated : 05-Jul-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 05-Jul-2017