A BRIEF HISTORY OF GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH
In 1975 the late Rev. Authur Merrington, a retired Baptist minister well into his seventies, who lived in Edenvale, was led by the Lord to start a new Baptist work in the Kempton Park area.
The area on the north-western side of the railway line consisting of the rapidly expanding suburbs of Birchleigh, Norkempark and van Riebeeck Park were canvassed and it became obvious that there was a need for an evangelical Baptist church in the area.
As Bonaero Park Baptist Church , in the south east of Kempton Park was the only B.U. affiliated church in the area, they were approached, and it was agreed in principle that Arthur Merrington should start a new work in the Van Riebeeck Park area.
Dr. John Wright, a medical doctor in the area and a member of Bonaero Park, approached other members Cyril & Philis Nolan and Robert & Shirley Greenlees and their families to join with Arthur and Dapne Merington and others, and a committee was formed in early 1976.
The Principal of Jeugland High School was approached to use their facilities and two classrooms were made available for use as a Sunday school and a place of worship, and on 26 March 1976, the first Sunday school and worship services were held.
At a Fellowship Meeting on 2 February 1977, the first constitution was accepted and the Kembirch Park Baptist Church was well and truly established. The name was changed later that year on 27 august 1977 to Grace Baptist Church.
Rev. Merrington in those early years received no remuneration from the church, and his sacrifice enabled the group to accumulate some funds and with a R5000.00 loan from the B.U. and a R50,000.00 bond , the first church was built and the dedication service held on 27 September 1981.
The first official pastor Errol Wagner, a final year B.T.C student (now Dr. Errol Wagner) was called and, together with his wife Beth, served us from 22 November 1981 until 10 August 1985 when he accepted a call to Durban North,
For three, sometimes difficult and tension-filled years, we were without a pastor and were faithfully served by Rev. Fred Dennison as moderator.
In January 1988 we were privileged to have the well-known head of SABC religious broadcasts, Rev. Sandy Gilfillan supported by his wife Mary, accept our call, and he served us until the end of 1990, when he accepted a call to Hermanus.
Once again we were put to the test and had no regular pastor for 18 months and were led by Rev Keith du Plessis (who succeeded Sandy Gilfillan at SABC) as our moderator.
On 7 July 1991, the Rev Reuben Ihlenfeldt was inducted as our Pastor who, together with Patricia, served us faithfully for 18 years.
During his ministry, the church grew and under his vision, the kitchen and hall at the back were added in 1992, and finally the new building in 2007,
But growth is measured not in buildings but in the growth of God’s word in peoples lives, and we praise him for his faithfulness over many years.
Randall Botha May 2010.
“Acknowledgements to Gerald Robus for his booklet “Celebrating 30 years of God’s faithfulness” published for the opening of our new building on 25 August 2007″