Midrand Presbyterian Church at St Saviour’s

About 2 km down the track the kids and I sat in the center of a field eating fizzers and relaxing. There’s something special about walking, just walking with your children. It’s a time insensitive way to spend the day. Real gold. Click to enlarge.

So last night, close to midnight, when only young revellers, vampires and I are awake, I happened across an interesting post on WordPress’s Tag Surfer. The blogger (David Thomson, the bishop of Huntingdon) collects churches, a really cool hobby which I also enjoy. Well, this morning when I woke Liezl had a frightful headache, so after popping into the pharmacist to collect some pain killers I was inspired to take the kids on a hike to the Presbyterian church down the way too get them out of her hair (the churches name is Midrand Presbyterian Church at St Saviour’s).

It’s about a 2 km walk but the kids are getting used to walking with dad and made really good time. Johannesburg is in the middle of winter right now and things are getting kinda icy but after a while the body heats up and the trip is actually quite pleasant.

Along the way we met a guy called Michael and discussed French Gothic Architecture and a bit of quantum physics (later, returning home, I stopped by his house and collected a few DVD’s relating to quantum something or other. I’m sure we’re going to get stuck into something heavy at some stage).

The last time we made this trip it was summer. The grass was green, the geese, ducks and chickens on the small holdings along the way had all hatched and every flower in the neighbourhood was in bloom. Not so this time. It was an overcast day today which gave everything a depressed look and the grass has turned a burnt brown. The geese have grown though.

Left: The grave yard is small and very well maintained. Right: The side by side graves are engraved in Dutch which I found interesting. The graves where marked 1880 which predates the church by a century. I know that there is a Catholic church in the area as well which I need to seek out. Some interesting history in these parts I’m sure. Click either image to enlarge.

We took a few minutes breather when we got to the church and then started by checking out the grave yard. There’s something special about grave yards to me. Maybe it’s that I believe every headstone tells a story, or maybe it’s because I know that the story behind the headstone can never be fully told. Either way we strolled around reading the captions and dates.

Left: The obelisk. Middle: Translated into English reads, “In memory of my loving partner and our dearest father Johannes Elardus Erasmus born 13 June 1828 died 13 May 1894.” Right: translated into English reads, Voortrekker over the Vaal River in the year 1836. Commander during the Freedom War*. One good father and warm friend. _____ _____ rest in peace.” I assume the Freedom War was the Boer War? Click any image to enlarge.

The most interesting grave in the yard to me was an obelisk which towered over the rest of the stones. The interest is born out of a memory of Freemasonry and possible connections between lodges and Presbyterians and Anglicans. I’ve observed masonry symbols in churches such as the Square and Compasses and I believe that the obelisk is also a symbol used (clearly some of the Da Vinci Code has rubbed off on me).

Left: Photo showing the West facing stained glass window. They really depict the minimalist embelishments of the church. I found the simplicity refreshing. Right: There are too baptismal fonts. Hovering over the large of the two is this chubby cherub. Click either image to enlarge.

The interior of the church is beautiful and yet wholly unembellished. I love it. I had the opportunity of chatting to a lady who was preparing for a function (maybe church tomorrow) and she explained that the church is privately owned and that the Presbeterians rent the premise out. That kinda makes sense. The building (other than the fonts which would peg it as a Covenantal establishment) is devoid of any denominational specific designs or emblems. It’s beauty is in it’s understatement.

The church is built from the remains of St Savior’s Cathedral in Pietermaritzburg. For more on the history click here.

The gardens are a gem. Beutifully maintained. I’ve been around to this church at least 5 times over the last 2 years and every time the gardener has been hard at work. The work’s paid off. Top left: South facing with bell tower. Top center: North facing. Top right: Strelitzia. Bottom left: Outside fountain. Bottom middle: Bell tower. Bottom right: garden. Click any image to enlarge.

All in all it made for a great morning. I got the kids home and napped in time for the rugby in the afternoon. What a waste. The British and Irish Lions managed a fine comeback to restore a bit of pride but lost the series 2 – 1. Go Bokke!

Want to know more about St Saviour’s Cathedral? The following links might be useful:

  • Current the Midrand Presbyterian Church rent the building from what I assume is a private owner. They have a brief history on their webpage. To link there click here.
  • Bamber family in Ladysmith. Interesting family history (from the Boer War) which includes a reference to St Saviour’s in the last paragraph.
  • Any other links I should include?

Wanna find Midrand Presbyterian Church at St Saviour’s:

Any other gotta see churches in the Gauteng area? You got a favorite church? Maybe you can’t stand churches? All types to make the world go round :).


3 thoughts on “Midrand Presbyterian Church at St Saviour’s

  1. The use of your own pics from your area are adding tons of value to your scripts. The strelitzia pic is a stunner. This tale is like a country and western song that I love listening to the storyline of.


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