On Sunday 15 June 2014 District Apostle N Barnes conducted a festive divine service in the congregation of Lentegeur where six congregations within the Lentegeur Bishop Area merged as one. All of these congregations, except one, normally gathers in makeshift venues for divine services and activities.
The opportunity to gather in a spacious church was certainly a comfort to the members who are used to sparse space when they gather for church events.
The weeks leading up to the service were special for the members. They would normally only be a few when they gather for activities. However, for this special service arranged for them by the District Apostle they were able to meet many members who gather in similar space constraints to give expression to their faith. Their joy and a sense of great expectation were evident whenever they combined for choir practices in preparation for the service.
Close to 300 members turned-up the day before in spite of the pouring rain to prepare the church for the service. Undeterred by the constant rain, they created a carnival atmosphere to fend off the gloom associated with inclement weather. Hearty soup and braai, meat cooked on open coals, were prepared to keep the spirit of expectation on the go. While this was happening, the orchestra and children, together with the active ministers used the opportunity to put the final touches together for their respective responsibilities in the service the next day.
In spite of excessive rain predicted for the Sunday, the skies cleared and enabled the members to travel from their locations, a short distance away, to the service. The rain held up and it was going to be a special Sunday!
On Sunday, 15 June, close to 1 300 members filed through the open doors of the church to reverently wait for the start of the service. Musical contributions from the day’s choir and orchestra, normally splintered in six different venues, added a solemn but joyous atmosphere in the hall. It was a special treat for the members to sing in a combined choir.
The District Apostle’s visit coincided with Father’s day, a special day celebrated annually to highlight the role of Ffathers in the home. The District Apostle was accompanied by Apostle B De Vries and Bishops N Barron, G February, B Adonis and G Kotze.
The after- text choir anthem paved the way for the sermon based on Acts 2: 39, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
In his opening address to the congregation, District Apostle Barnes noted that it was a special day when he proceeded to explain the significance of the gathering: “The Lord is here and He is always in your congregation”, he said. He then went on to inform the visitors the reason why the six congregations in the surrounding areas of Heinz Park, New Woodlands East, North and South, as well as Lentegeur East and Woodlands were together. He mentioned that they do not have a suitable church building as the service venue for the day and that they should not think of themselves as coming from the six congregations but that they are one people with the Lord God!
The District Apostle assured the combined congregation that their meeting in temporary locations is not a permanent situation but that the leadership has constantly been looking for solutions in finding an ideal place of worship.
The calling-up hymn “Pass it on” sung by the congregation echoed what ought to be done with the day’s teaching: “The promise of salvation should be passed along to future generations!”
After the celebration of Holy Communion for the Departed and the closing prayer, the choir concluded the divine service with a rendition of “Mighty God we praise Thy name”. Thereafter, the Sunday school children captured the hearts of all the fathers with a skit called “Like Dad” and three more items paying tribute to the fathers. After the conclusion of the short programme all brothers in attendance were asked to position themselves around the altar for a group photograph to mark the festive day.