A Brief History of our Congregation
Our Lord set us on a distinct path from the start. It all began in Parow, way back in 1968, in the family home of Allan and Aileen Fraser after they returned from studying in the USA. The North Warren Church of Christ in Michigan, USA, provided financial support to the local congregation for 14 years.
Later the Fraser family acquired a residence in Kenridge. Its 6-car garage became an auditorium for worship services and classes of the church for many years.
The Bellville Church of Christ is truly blessed to have had amazing people in its congregation. A property developer donated the property on which our buildings were built for the sum of just R1 in 1971. The presentation was made on the top of Table Mountain to Hamish Grant, an elder of the congregation, who was an estate agent and who had negotiated the donation.
The construction of our present instruction/classroom block took place in 1974 with the help of Don Peden of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, chairman of Convenient Stores of America at the time. Don, along with brethren of the congregation, provided initial financial assistance to commence construction. Don then also provided a guarantee to a Bank in Amarillo, Texas, USA for a loan of R490 000.00 to the congregation, which was repaid fully by the congregation. It was the first loan ever given by the bank to a foreign borrower. The facilities constructed were used as the auditorium and classrooms for 7 years.
In 1981 the current auditorium was financed and built to roof height (believe it or not) by the members of this congregation at that time who provided their time and labour on weekends, during their spare time and holidays. Contractors were then employed to complete the building. The late Lionel Morrell-Stinson (husband of Thelma Mullins) played a major role in supervising the whole project. The final stage was financed through a local bank loan raised on the back of personal guarantees of members and also subsequently repaid by the congregation.n
Our first preacher, Allan Fraser, spent about 14 years here before returning to the USA and ultimately sponsoring congregation in North Warren, Detroit where he is still the pulpit minister and elder.
Dave Savides, a graduate of the Southern Africa Bible College (SABC), followed Allan and was with the congregation for about 8 years after which he moved to Richards Bay where he became editor of a local newspaper.
Adriaan Blow, Hamish Grant’s son-in law, followed David after completing his studies at SABC. Adriaan left the congregation to further his studies in the USA and obtain his doctorate. He presently holds a professorial position at a university in the USA.
Derrick Bam, who was a lecturer in marriage and family counseling at Southern African Bible College, spent about two years with the congregation as pulpit minister after Adriaan went overseas, and then moved to Abilene, Texas, where he took up the position as involvement minister at the University Church of Christ, a position he still holds today.
Derrick was followed by another Dereck,
Dereck Beukes, is also a graduate of Southern African Bible College, who is our current senior minister. He has continued his studies and even though offered scholarships to study in the States decided to honour God's calling and rather continue studies in South Africa. he has completed and Honours and Masters Degrees at the University of the Western Cape and has also been qualified as an Imago Therapist. He has been with us since 1998.
The congregation has also been instrumental in equipping younger men for ministry and has been instrumental in offering internships to two ministers like Benedict Little who has been minister at the Central church for 10 years and recently moved to Somerset West where he will be taking up the position as pulpit minister.
Machiel Greyling was with us for five years where he completed a degree at the Western Cape and has been the minister at Weltevreden Park church for three years.
Being a Self Supporting Congregation
Bellville has been a self-supporting congregation for many years. When Allan Fraser left we assumed 50 % of the support of Dave Savides with the other half being assumed by the North Warren congregation in Michigan. This assistance was phased out over 5 years and since then we have been totally self-supporting of all costs and have also been able to, in turn, partially assist other ministers and congregations in and out of the area.