Monday, March 18, 2013

30th Building Anniversary of the Walvis Bay Baptist Church

                                           15th – 17th  March 2013

l-r Sue Watson; Peter & Linda Radmanovich; Don Watson
What an exciting weekend  this  has been for me ! 

Time, distance  and circumstances prevent us from  staying in touch with many people from our past. But not this weekend! A glorious get together  was organized  by the Walvis Bay  Baptist Church under the leadership of her deacons and pastors.

The occasion  was the 30th  anniversary of the  opening of the church building  in January 1983. 

Clive & Lynn van Rooyen
Now for some perspective.  The Walvis Bay Baptist Church isn't 30 years old.  It was actually constituted in 1972,  and there had been a Sunday School work going on before that, which had already started   in 1962.  So the Walvis Bay Baptist Church can look back over a history of at  least  50 years. This  fact  actually makes the church the oldest  Baptist  church in Namibia.

What we celebrated   then was actually  the  30th anniversary since the church building  was  dedicated  as a place of worship.  The building  had  originally  been a hospital laboratory  which had   become an old derelict  building. Pastor Peter Radmanovich  had approached the  Walvis Bay Municipality  with an offer of purchase, which was eventually, if not reluctantly,  granted. The members of the church,  in the ever practical hands of Pastor Radmanovich  undertook to renovate the building – a project which may have taken  2 years to complete, and now the time  had come to look back and to give thanks for 30 years of God’s faithful faithfulness to the church.
Old friends:  Ivo & Kaiko de Gouveia
Old friends : Andrew and Soleil  Ratcliffe
Celebrations began on Friday evening as past and present pastoral  couples  came together for   fellowship, hosted by Callie and Carol Rossouw,  at their home.  Pastor Don and Sue Watson (1977-1980), Pastor Peter and Linda Radmanovich  (1980   - 1987),  Pastor Clive and Lynn van Rooyen (1987-1995)  had served  the church at their various times, while Pastor  Paul and Ethne Jones  and Pastor  Les and  Elsabe  Wiseman  had served the church as interim pastors  at various times. Don Watson  was the  pastor  who  welcomed me into the Walvis Bay Baptist Church  after I had  I had returned from Cape Town where I had become a Christian in 1978. He baptized me in 1980. Peter Radmanovich impressed upon me the  seriousness of Christian  discipleship.  

Since  December 1999  the church  has been led  by  Pastor Callie  and Carol Rossouw, assisted by Student Minister Marinus and his wife  Ilse de Bruijne.

A great church dinner
Present pastor : Callie Rossouw
A Church Dinner  was held on Saturday, 16th March. This was yet another grand occasion when  God’s faithfulness was remembered. A slide show  visually  reminded us  of the church’s history. Peter  Radmanovich spoke  afterwards and  reminded us that  at the opening ceremony, and before turning the key, he had prayed that  God would honour His Word taught and that  He  would close down the building if ever       there was a departure from His truth!  What a legacy to abide by!

On Sunday morning  a worship  service  led by Pastor Rossouw resounded to the Glory of God as we  continued to exalt the Lord our God for His faithfulness to this church,  which had survived  all these years  through the Grace of God alone, through some very difficult and challenging times.

I had the privilege of preaching the Word. I took  as my text  1 Samuel 7:12  Ebenezer- until now the Lord has helped us!  The exposition can be found on my sermon blog.


Joachim Rieck

March 2013


Paul and Ethne Jones
Les and Elsabe Wiseman


Conrad Mbewe said...

Wow, talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! If I had the gift of prophecy, I know where I ought to have been last weekend - in Walvis Bay, of course. This was an event not to be missed. Thanks, Joachim, for showing me what I missed. It is painful, but we still must rejoice with the saints for the grace of God towards them. And, what a shining example Callie and Carol have been! I am lost for words to describe the gift that they are to the church.

Joachim Rieck said...

Thanks Conrad, In retrospect we realize what a 'tough turf' Walvis Bay has been over the years for ministers and for congregation alike. This is but another proof that God protects and builds His church - those who faithfully cling to His Word. This church might well have nearly closed its doors on a number of occasions, had it not been for God's help in times of trouble.

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