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St Andrew's Presbyterian Church - Germiston - PBO 930017413

What's in a Name?

The Original name of our congregation was “The Germiston Presbyterian Church”.  This title aptly described the congregation until March 1951, when it was first called “St. Andrew’s”.  The name fluctuated from one to the other for many years until it was finally settled as “St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church”.  No records can be found which officially record the change of the name prior to the meeting of the congregation in 1990 which agreed on the name of “St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Germiston”.

The Past Ministers

The Rev. George Young Robey

1890 – 1895

The Rev. William McIntosh

1896 – 1899

Major Rev. Thomas Murray

1901 – 1902

The Rev. James Lambert Scott

1902 – 1913

The Rev. Allan Munn

1913 – 1922

The Rev. Herbert John Barnes

1924 – 1948

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Copeland

1949 – 1974

The Rev. James Nicol Binnie

1975 – 1988

The Rev. Seth John Buttle

1990 – 1998

The Rev. John McKane

1999 – 2009


The Church Buildings

The Rev. George Robey was the first minister of St. John's Presbyterian Church, Boksburg during 1889, and it was partly his assiduous attention to the Scots miners in Germiston that encouraged John Jack - in October of that same year - to donate four stands of land to the Presbytery.  They were situated in Church Street, a prime business area in the new township of Germiston North.

Mr Jack gave £500 towards the erection of the first building. It was constructed of wood and iron, and seated 300.

The stands for the new buildings were in Germiston West, and were bought for £2,500.  Stand 125 President Street happened to be the site of the old church, which was moved - in a manner which became a legend of the town - eastwards onto stand 128 - not across the railway to the site of the present church as is sometimes supposed.  Alice Brammer, writing in the ‘Messenger’ of August 1932, recollects that the church “was lifted bodily by 100 mine workers and dumped in Meyer Street”.  The date is not recorded, but it must have been after 18 October 1904, when the Presbytery approved the sale of stand 125.  The major feat was, of course, the wholesale lifting of the wood and iron structure on and off the rollers.

The foundation Stone of the new (current) church was laid on 15 March 1905 by Viscount Milner.  The church was officially opened on Saturday, 27 January 1906 by the Second Earl of Selborne, High Commissioner for South Africa and Governor of the Transvaal.  The architects were AW Simpson and AL le Gerche, and the contractors were Alexander Stuart & Co.

The small spire (a second spire was demolished for safety reasons) and gables, which remind one of the pyramids, illustrate the meeting and wrestling of the spiritual with the worldly.  In the interior, the pillars, placed in the perimeter in a perfect octagon, gives space and support in which the spiritual permeates the material life.  Eight wooden arches rise from the pillars to the centre of a splendid timber ceiling, from which hangs a chandelier with eight branches of wrought iron.  The windows and the corner entrances, in neo-Gothic style, represent hands in prayer: the people in worship.  The light which is the life of men is present in the contrasting cream paintwork, in which the interior and the external Gothic features are painted.

Of the stained glass windows the oldest are the central set in the eastern aisle, dedicated by Councillor Agnes Brammer to her late husband Charles, and show the blessing of the children.  Special glazing illuminates the face of Jesus.  The War Memorial window was unveiled in 1947 by the Governor General, the Rt. Hon. G. Brand van Zyl.  The third set of windows, depict the appearance of the resurrected Master to Zachus and Cleopas, and were dedicated by his family to the memory of Charles Edward Westfield, Session Clerk, who died in 1981.  Two of the four hexagonal rose windows represent the visions of the lion and the eagle of the prophet Ezekiel (known as 'the Mark' and 'the John' respectively).  These were donated by Mrs Grace MacDonald in memory of her husband Kenneth in 1986.  The decoration of the three quadrilateral rose windows in the rear of the church, were the gift of Mrs Burniston in 1987 and depict the 'Flight into Egypt'.  In 1988 the Rev. J. Nicol Binnie decorated the centre rose above the gallery with the 'Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem', in honour of his wife Doris.

The church is furnished with Canadian oak.  The organ, built by Messrs. Norman & Beard, contains 3 manuals, 22 speaking stops with approximately 1,880 pipes, and 7 couplers.  The pulpit originally stood directly over the site of an old well filled in with loose stones, and was moved to its present position to allow the raising of the level of the communion table.

The teak gates before the porch and side entrance, as well as the brick wall on the western boundary, were donated by the Young Persons' Guild in 1938.

The lighting system, including the chandelier, was installed at the 50th jubilee of the building at a cost of £1,400.  The carpeting and communion table were the gifts of the Women's Guild in 1953.  The present panelling in the vestry and boardroom was donated by Messrs. A Gibb & Son.  The work was commissioned partly by the Women's Guild and partly by Mrs Bessie Mackay.  The furniture housing the choir vestments and sheet music was constructed of matching material by Mr Reg Stumke.  The choir stalls panelling, which matches the church interior, was donated by Miss D Davey.  The shields are the work of Mr W Gooding.

On 19 September 1980, on the initiative of the Minister and the Session, the Church was declared a National Monument.  The Hon. WA Cruywagen, Administrator of the Transvaal, unveiled the plaque on 28 February 1981.

The theme of the “Ascension” window on the top of the east wall was initiated by Rev John McKane and John Cubitt, crafted by Fanus Boshoff and donated by Barry and Lynette Taylor, “To the Glory of God” in 2006.  The modern style compliments that of the classical style of the windows on the lower wall, the focus being on the completed Jesus surrounded by his disciples “I am leaving you .... I go to prepare a place for you…”

The six Rose windows on the south side are dedicated to Gerald and Joyce Jooste for their service to the “St Andrews family”.  Their children decided on the theme of Jesus to compliment the centre Binnie window and reflect Jesus’ love for the disciples and the world.  Gerald and Joyce tried to be the best Jesus to their family.

The late John Cubitt was a champion of the stained glass windows installed in St Andrew’s over the last 5 years and played a major role in the replacing of all of the windows on the west wall, with each “picture” having a scriptural significance.

The windows in the two Vestibules were the brainchild of John Cubitt who, with the assistance of Fanus Boshoff completed the design.  These windows which were donated by Esibel Cubitt were dedicated to the memory of John on the 30th August 2009.  The windows have particular reference to the Benedictions “Now unto him who is able to keep …. to the only wise God our Saviour be Glory and Majesty, Dominion and Power “ (Jude vs. 25) and “May God’s Blessings surround you each day …… go in Peace, go in Joy, go in Love”. (Romans 15).