On Sunday 04 October 2020, District Apostle J Kriel conducted the Thanksgiving Day divine service at Goodwood congregation. This divine service was conducted in English and interpreted into South African Sign Language at the altar by Beryl Botha.
He was accompanied by Apostles P Lambert, M Diedricks, P Thompson and Bishops C Classen and N Barron, a small music ensemble and the NACTV crew. This divine service was made available on NACTV, Cape Town TV on DSTV channel 263, as well as Radio KC, Radio Teemaneng, Infinity FM and SABIE stereo. Members could also listen to the divine service by calling in from either a mobile phone or landline. This divine service was also streamed live on the NACTV Facebook page.
During the divine service, the District Apostle used the opportunity to dedicate the new Goodwood church building. In the 1980s, Bishop Cedric Laubscher appointed a task team to search for suitable ground to build a new church in the Goodwood area as the Townsend Estate and Vasco congregations were filled to capacity. No ground was available at the time, and members had to attend divine services in various houses and the already mentioned full congregations.
It was the overcrowded situation in 1996 that prompted Brother Fred Mayer and Sister A Vester to approach the principal, Mr Nel of Koos Sadie Primary School, to rent the school hall for divine services. Their successful negotiations resulted in the first service that was held on 5 May 1996 by District Evangelist S D’Oliveira. The first offering box for this service was made by brother Chippie Rothman, a faithful doorkeeper of the congregation.
The year 2016 changed the course of history for the congregation - a property became available for sale in the Goodwood area. The property was duly purchased, and building plans were drawn after it was agreed that the existing building be enlarged to accommodate the present and future requirements for the congregation.
After the approval of the building plans, construction could commence on the building enlargement in September 2019, which included a new façade, increased seating capacity of 220 seats, and a formal parking area. Construction work was completed in March 2020 for the planned dedication on Sunday, 29 March 2020. However, as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Government to stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, the much-awaited dedication had to be delayed until the present day, 04 October 2020.
For members who were unable to watch the divine service, please find a detailed summary of the sermon:
Opening Hymn: My heart overflows (EH:51)
Bible word: “That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works. LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells.” (Psalm 26:7-8)
My dear brothers and sisters, again, welcome to this divine service where we celebrate Thanksgiving – and that is a good feeling. I don’t know about the rest of the country or wherever you find yourself, but it is a most beautiful day in Cape Town, so we greet you from a lovely Cape Town summer’s day where we are able to come and bring our thanks to our God.
It is also special here for the Goodwood congregation and while we have about 70 members here, I say a special thank you to the members of Goodwood. Their church is being dedicated today and they are not present. So, when we leave, you can have your church back and come a few at a time. But we are thankful that even in this time we can rejoice that we are able to come and dedicate this church. For the first time, a Bible word has been read. For the first time, we now come and we want to celebrate God’s word together.
And, I don’t know if you could pick it up, but today we have a Bible word for dedication and Thanksgiving – one verse is for Thanksgiving and the other is for the dedication. And our Bible word reads - “LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells.” This word is not unknown, we know this word. This Psalm 26, some scholars group it as part of the Wisdom Psalm where good knowledge is imparted and where one is taught to follow God, follow His ways and be obedient to Him. Hence, this grouping of Wisdom Psalms. But the wise will seek God’s ways. The wise will want to know what does God want of me? The wise would want to be obedient to God, and the wise would want to seek His presence always. And where is He? He is present in His house, and for that reason, we want to dedicate this place to God’s glory and honour that this indeed becomes a house of God – that here many can come and experience God. And now, this is a dedication for Goodwood congregation, but wherever you are, I often say let your home become an extension of your congregation. And if it was dedicated many years ago, let this be a renewal, a re-dedication of our life that we can identify with this divine service for the dedication of the Goodwood church. And so, for this reason, this place will be dedicated as God’s house. Maybe just one or two thoughts, “LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house.” Where there is a house, love to be there. If someone doesn’t love to be in his house, something must be wrong. God is here. When we have the opportunity to come to His house, please do, because we will experience an encounter with our God. “And the place where Your glory dwells”, I think the old Bible says “where your honour dwells”. The glory, the honour, the majesty of God, the happiness, the heavenliness of God. And my plea is here and all over, let it be where the faithful gather together, where God’s people gather together, where the congregation meets as the faithful, let it be God’s glory that dwells there, that this place never becomes the opinion of the Rector. It doesn’t say here “the glory of the Apostle dwells here.” It does not say “the glory of the soloist dwells here.” Let it be dear brothers and sisters, let us ensure that it is the glory of God. That which we do, is it to God’s honour and glory? Or is it to elevate myself? Because that will not last. It is God’s work and we build His work. We are all mere tools and instruments in God’s hands. And for that reason, let us check daily if it is for the glory of God. Is it motivated by that beauty and that love? Dear brothers and sisters, come, I invite you to experience the glory of God through the activity of the Holy Spirit that He gave so that we are able to enjoy that which He has given.
Much sacrifice has gone into having this place, and as you will hear in the Chronicle we will read a bit later, is that this place is ready and waiting for a few more to come here, so we are thankful that the regulations have been lifted to such an extent that we are able to come and gather and dedicate this place to the honour of God. (Reading of the Chronicle). As much as this church belongs to the Goodwood area and congregation, dear brothers and sisters, we all share in it, through our activities, through our sacrifices, through our offerings, this has also become possible.
(Act of Dedication)
So, we are now in a new dedicated venue where we are able to enjoy God’s word. And that is what is most important here in God’s house. Remember, the Psalm of Wisdom, that wise words will be imparted unto us. And now we come and celebrate a very special day for all of us in all congregations. And the portion of the Bible word “That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.” ‘That I may proclaim’ – that I may speak about. Often, we may ask what do we speak about? You know, I saw a cartoon the other day where they had the complaints queue and the good news queue – there was no one in the good news queue, but the complaints queue was so long because people prefer that – they like to speak about that which is wrong. But let us pause for a moment. On this day of Thanksgiving, let us pause and ask, have I got anything to thank God for? And I am convinced that is an overwhelming yes. While I was preparing, I thought about the days, and here again, I maybe speak to the people of my age. I am not sure if any of you remember under-deacons, the modern term was sub-deacons. And during this time, I went to testify, and I don’t know if some of you know what testifying is. But we went to testify with the under-deacons. And you know, in those days the under-deacons would talk for an hour, and I could see the people they were talking to were battling and they stopped listening long ago. But the under-deacon would continue because this was his job – he had to proclaim. And then he asked me to say something. And when I looked at people, I said to the under-deacon that I am sorry, but I have nothing to say. That was almost a career-ending move I may say because on the way home I mean I really got it from him. He said you have nothing to say but God blessed you with parents, He blessed you with a home, He blessed you with knowledge, He blessed you with forgiveness – and I got the point. What have I got to say - “That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.” We learn from the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They never spoke of themselves. And that we find, sometimes so easy, to speak of what I have done. They never spoke of themselves – they referred of each one to the other. Jesus spoke about the Father in heaven. He spoke about when the Spirit will come. God spoke and said that He will send us His Son. So, when we speak and proclaim, what do we say? We want to speak of His wondrous works. And His works are of great magnitude. When we look around, we see the altar today, and I must say, I have seen some of the altars that some people have sent me already this morning, and I see the homes of many decorated with a harvest because God created it. What do we say in our first article of faith? I believe in God the Father, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. And on Thanksgiving, we focus a little bit on the creation – of what God made. And when we look around us, we cannot be unmoved and ungrateful. Many come under difficult circumstances to say thank you. Many have lost loved ones who have yet to be buried. Many have been diagnosed with an incurable disease of which I am aware. Others have lost their jobs; they are unemployed and the picture is so grim. And the one or other may ask ‘have I got anything to be thankful for?’ dear brothers and sisters, I must say that in the last few days I thought of being thankful and I really want to express my thanks to all of you, no matter where you are, for your prayers. And I want to greet you with the words of Apostle Paul with the few letters he wrote in Thessalonians, among others. He says, “I thank God when I remember you. I thank God when I think of you. I thank God for all of you.” I thank God for holding us together in this time. I thank God for guiding us that His people are preserved. And there is so much. I thank God for, you know, I know business people, and Thanksgiving was a great day for them, they brought a great sacrifice of great monetary value. This Thanksgiving is different for them – they have no business, they have no income, but all they have is to say ‘Lord, here I am.’ And I want to say to you, dear brother, dear sister, that simple prayer, that love that you have, our God embraces you today and holds you close. And He says that thankful heart I will not despise, I will still be with you – your blessing. If we follow God faithfully it is guaranteed. And if we look around us, we see the harvest, we see God’s creation. When He created the earth, He created everything. He brought order of chaos, He brought everything together and everything was created with a purpose – to benefit everybody. You know, sometimes, I think I said once in a service, I wondered when I sleep in Caprivi in the hot air and the mosquitoes pester you all night, then I think God, why did you make this thing? But it is all part of His creation – the grass serves a purpose – everything God made is not by chance – it all fits together and it has been created to serve each other. And then He made man, and He also gave man a task – to serve and to care and to preserve the earth. And as we bring our things to the altar today to say thank you to the Lord, we are reminded that we can’t do this – God did it. And as we adorn the altar then we are thankful. And when we think of the task, He has given all His creation, then we must say that somehow, man has not done so well because have we taken care of the congregation? Have we taken care of the creation? We often dealt with it thoughtlessly and carelessly, with the air and the water and the earth. And sometimes we even poison the earth, that it is damaged for all into the future. And that is not so nice. That is not why God made us and gave us this beautiful creation. He gave it to us to care for it, and so we want to do our share as we bring the fruits of the earth to the altar today, let us be reminded, let us pause for a moment and remember that the earth is a gift from God – care for it, look after it and do not damage it. You know, we wait for a new heaven and a new heaven and that is great. But while that is not with us, look after this great gift that God gave us. We will enter the new heaven and earth if we follow and remain faithful but remember that He gave us this gift to last us until then. So, let us take good care of it. And on this Thanksgiving Day, we thank Him for everything – we thank Him for the natural benefits that we can all enjoy. Thanksgiving cannot be compressed into one hour on a special Sunday. Thankfulness must become a condition of our hearts. Even children, when you complain that you want this and that you haven’t got so much, think of what you have. We sometimes wish for so much, but then we forget what we have. But then it is good that at this time we pause, and we say, Lord, thank you for what You have done. And as we go further in the creation, He has given us each other, that in this time during the pandemic, how much love did we not find? How much love that was lost was re-established? How many came back to church in this time? I am so moved and so thankful for so much and for this development. So, dear brothers and sisters, in this special time of Thanksgiving 2020, we will remember it, I am convinced we will remember it a bit more than other Thanksgivings because it is a bit different, but our thankfulness is not different. Our thankfulness is great, and it is blessed. So, let us, where we are, in a congregation, in our homes, in our family, think. And the more you think, the more thankful we will all be. Amen.
Thoughts from District Apostle J Kriel
After the virtual choir hymn, the District Apostle called Priest Priest Brevern Beasley to the altar to hand him the key of the new church and confirmed that he will remain the Rector of the congregation.