In 1904, the Gezina Methodist church was established. At first, the congregation met in a marquee and then in a wood and iron building. In December 1907, General J.C. Smuts, the Colonial secretary at the time laid the foundation stone of a new church, on the corner of Frederika Street and 11th Avenue.
Unfortunately, the material binding the bricks of this building had a very high lime content and in the late 1960’s this had started to crumble and the church had to be demolished. The church, however, retained ownership of the site, which they rented to Caltex as from 1978. This company built a petrol station there and the money raised by the rental has helped the present Valley Methodist Church extend its staff and has resulted in significant growth in the congregation.
The “Tin Temple”
In 1914, the Villeria Methodist Church began. It was located on the corner of Ben Swart Street and 29th Avenue, where the present day valley Methodist Church stands. The first church building was a small wood and iron structure, which members nicknamed “The Tin Temple.”
The church was described as follows, “The building is small, very hot in summer and very cold in winter. It is of corrugated iron and wood lined, but God is always present. The extremely uncomfortable nature of the benches deters many from coming regularly to the services and already it is necessary to bring in extra chairs, borrowed from neighbouring families.”
In 1948, the Tin Temple was replaced by a brick hall. The foundation stone was laid by Mr Tom Frates, who was the local Member of Parliament and after whom Frates Street is named. Mr Frates had actually done the drawings and design for this building. It was able to accommodate 160 people. This structure is still in existence and has been incorporated into the structure of the Valley Methodist Church.
The Riviera Methodist Church began in the 1930’s as a Sunday School which met on the premises of the Dutch Reformed Church.
In May 1947, the Rev JB Webb opened a hall in Parker Street, which was then used as a place of worship. This was sold to the Church of the Nazarene in 1974. It is still in use today, although many alternations have been made to it.
In 1966, the Gezina and Riviera Societies amalgamated to form the Valley Society. This appears to have been somewhat of an administrative arrangement as the two congregations continued to meet in their respective buildings. During the first half of 1968 the possibility of a further amalgamation, namely between Villieria and Valley Society was then raised. This proposal was followed by protracted, careful and, at times, acrimonious, negotiations.
The result was that in April 1970 the present Valley Society was formed. This society met in the building on the corner of Ben Swart Street and 29th Avenue. On Saturday 25th November 1972, the foundation stone for a new church building laid. On 18th November 1973, the new Valley Methodist Church was opened at 15:00.
Over the years, the growth of Valley has continued. In the early 1975 the house 589 29th Avenue was purchased as a manse for the second minister. In I980, the manse at 812 Spioenkop Street was purchased. In 1984, a new Sunday School complex was built. In February 2002 a new manse in Collins Avenue was purchased. In January 2003 the 29th Avenue manse became a new administrative center.
- Architect was Tom Frates
- Engineer Peter Hattingh
- Society Steward was David Bower
- Land was originally covered with gum trees.
- Chairman of the district was Reg Lee.
The ministerial staff at Valley has grown over the years. In 1975 a second minister was employed. In 1997, the first youth pastor at Valley was employed. In 2005 a Lay Pastor was added. The administrator, cleaner and gardener have been added since then.
|Ministers at Valley||Youth/Children’s Pastors|
|Mike McIntosh||1970 – 1973||Joanne Pretorius 1999-2004|
|Clive Parsley||1973 – 1979||Nicole Basson 2003-2004|
|RE Miller||1977 – 1978||Lizelle Nelson 2005|
|Bill Thompson||1978 – 1980||Desire Rees 2006|
|RH Knight||1980 – 1980||Debbie Prinsloo 2007|
|Harry Nel||Jaco Pretorius 2011|
|Alan Learmonth||1980 – 1993||David Mendes 2012- 2016|
|Steven Ching||1981 – 1983||Luke Dives 2016 -2019|
|Jonathan Hobson||1984 -1988|
|Barry du Bruin||1989|
|Mike Durrant||1990 – 2006|
|Willam D Brown||1994 -1995|
|Brenton Prigge||1996 – 1998|
|Alan Dives||1999 – 2013|
|Terry Booysen||2007 – 2014|
|Wesley Olivier||2014 – 2016|
|Pierre Naude||2015 – 2021|
|Robert Greenland||2017 – 2022|
|David Fidler||2022 to date|
|Kedibone Mntambo||2023 to date|
Valley has also contributed to the wider growth and development of the church. It has produced several people in the ordained ministry. It planted the church in Sinoville in 1970’s. This began with the establishment of a Sunday school on 6th October 1974. Today it is a thriving society of 600 members.
(Written by Mike Durrant with acknowledgement of the research done by Walley Smith)