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Jan 13 2016

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DEDICATION FESTIVAL CHURCH OF ST GEORGE THE MARTYR GROOT DRAKENSTEIN

ANGLICAN CHURCH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA – DIOCESE OF FALSE BAY

CHURCH OF ST GEORGE THE MARTYR- GROOT DRAKENSTEIN

DEDICATION FESTIVAL

Lord, we love the house of your habitation and the place where your glory abides… Psalm 26.8

A Reflection…

Why celebrate the dedication of a church? Why is it so important? It is not so much a question of the beauty of St. George’s Church in Groot Drakenstein that makes it important. It is more to do with what this particular church signifies for Anglican Christians in this place.

St George the Martyr 1905

St George the Martyr 1905

19 November 1905

Lionel Baker, a native of Cobham in Kent, recruited by Cecil John Rhodes for his fledgling Rhodes Fruit Farms (RFF), wanted an Anglican Church in the mould of the parish church of Cobham, Kent. He felt so strongly that he brought from his church in Cobham an Iron Cross, which he hung in an inconspicuous place on the wall in the eventual St. George’s Church. It can still be seen above the main door as you exit the church. A meeting of those interested raised the sum of 550 pounds, which included 80 pounds raised by friends from Cobham from the sale of fruit provided by RFF. In 1905 RFF donated a portion of the farm Lubeck as a suitable site for a church; 300 foot square. The site was surveyed; building plans were drawn and presented by Herbert Baker, Lionel’s brother and architect to Cecil John Rhodes, and Massey in Cape Town. The Foundation Stone was laid on 19th November 1905 by the Most Reverend William West Jones, Archbishop of Cape Town. During the ceremony a snake slid out from under the stone, but was suitably seen off by the Archbishop. On 25th July 1906 the little church was consecrated by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend William West Jones, and dedicated in the name of St. George the Martyr. Lionel Baker had his church and had transported a living branch of the great Anglican rural parish church into Africa. St. George the Martyr, known as “Lionel’s Church” by the Baker family, is still seen by the chapelries and outstations as the “mother church” and should function as a sign of unity for all Anglican Christians who worship in the Parish of Groot Drakenstein.

In John’s gospel (chapter 2:13-22) Jesus affirms the Temple as God’s ‘house’ and this is a subtle reminder that the building is God’s house only if our lives are congruent with what the building signifies. In Paul’s theology, the church and its members are “God’s building”. The term “church” has come to designate both the architectural design and the believers who assemble for worship. The building plays a crucial role in raising our hearts and minds to God and in leading us to deep respect for all of God’s creation.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stgeorge.org.za/2016/01/13/dedication-festival-church-of-st-george-the-martyr-groot-drakenstein/