17 March 2013

Victoria West : St John’s Anglican Church


Driving around in Victoria West on a Sunday morning we saw a small rectangular church in Church Street.   It looked as if the church was not in use anymore.  The building and garden looked neglected and there were no people. (It was Sunday morning and we expected people coming to church services.)  We stopped a to take a look. 
We admired the outside from across the street and then saw the name board with “Architect – Sophia Gray”.  The first Anglican services in Victoria West were held in 1862 and the foundation stone for the church was laid on 27 December 1869.  Building work was not completed during the huge flood in 1871 and the church was mostly undamaged.  Building work continued and the church was completed in 1874.
Walking closer we saw that the gate was unlocked and we went inside for a closer look.  The church door was locked.  We walked around to the back through long grass and dead flower plants in pots.  Some of the windows were broken. 
Front of Church
 
Back of Church
We were very curious to know if the church is still in use.  Husband suggested that we try to look inside through one of the broken windows but they were too high.  We went to knock at the house next to the church but no answer.  We left the church feeling glad that we saw another Sophy Church but disappointed that we could yet again not see the inside.
We left the car and went for a walk in Church Street. When we returned we saw another car outside the church.  It was a lady that came to open the church for a meeting and she let us go inside.  The church is small with simple wooden pews and few decorations.
There are two beautiful stained glass windows that unfortunately have some damage.  The other stained glass windows were broken and replaced with normal glass windows.























The congregation is very poor and shares a minister with Beaufort West.  They try very hard to keep the church in a good condition but it takes a lot of money.  We left a donation and went to a search for lunch.

We stopped at a small petrol station for fuel.  We could only find one other open shop or "padstal" on the way out of town.  What a great surprise.  They had delicious home made pies.  We drove outside of the town and ate our pies while looking out on the landscape of the Northern Cape.

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