About the Parish

One Parish - 3 congregations. The mother parish of the East Rand,  established in 1890.

St. Michael and All Angels



St Gabriel Details

This delightful Sir Herbert Baker church is near the south west corner of Boksburg lake. Replacing an earlier wood and iron building, it was built between November 1911 and May 1912. It has been proclaimed a Provincial Heritage Site. 

St. Gabriel, Boksburg North

This quaint church was built in Boksburg North in 1909 when a second church was needed to handle the growing congregation in Boksburg. At the time Boksburg North was divided from Boksburg by a large trench and the two were distinct communities, both centred on mining.

St. Raphael, Sunward Park  
St. Raphael's was built to support the growing Anglican community in Sunward Park and the southern areas of Boksburg. the ground was bought in the 1970's and development began in the 1990's. 


HISTORY  
With the discovery of gold on the Reef and the influx of miners from Great Britain, small
pockets of church work in the Main Denominations (English = Anglican and Methodist; Welsh=
Baptist; Scottish = Presbyterian) began to spring up led at first by laity.  
The first Anglican group met at a house in Elsburg, and they petitioned the Bishop who (since
Boksburg was the first mining township proclaimed on the East Rand - proclaimed a few days
before Johannesburg) sent a missionary priest to Boksburg to establish a parish in 1890  
A temporary church structure and hall were established, and formal services began. The priest
at Boksburg looked after the entire East Rand. The next missionary station was Heidelberg.
The (Second) Anglo- Boer war saw a slowing down of English-speaking influx and church
activity on the Reef, but after its end, there was a boom in immigration. Boksburg North,
separated from Boksburg by a large ditch, became a centre on its own, and soon the idea was
born of starting a church centre there and fund-raising started, culminating in the building of
the St Gabriel’s church (hall - it was intended to be) dedicated in 1909. New churches had
sprung up all over the east Rand between 1903 to 1910 and St Michael’s had lagged behind, but
not for long and ground was acquired (3 of the Erven are still registered in the deeds Office as
“Crown Grants” ) and a new church and rectory built in the growing up-market suburb of
Plantation / Vogelfontein. The town centre spread into this suburb with the magistrate’s court
and the local market being established there.
In the 1960's the S A Wine bottling plant and shop that was next to St Michael’s closed down
and the parish was able to purchase the land. The Diocese insisted that it be used for the
building of flat to be let out and generate income. Fortunately, this never happened and today
the property provides much needed parking, and visibility of the church from Commissioner St.  
Many years later as the influx to the Reef continued and the new southern suburbs of
Germiston (Elspark) and Boksburg (Freeway Park and Sunward Park) were developed by JCI, the
then Rector of Boksburg Fr Noel Aldridge, saw the need for the church to acquire land in the
area, and the current property of St Raphael’s was bought in the early 1970's and remained
undeveloped till 1992.  
At the same time a motion was proposed to vestry to close St Gabriel’s and sell the property.
This was  vigorously opposed by the congregation there who were then challenged to look after it all
themselves, and this has left a scar that remains 40 years later.  
With the coming creation of a new Diocese looming, there was a push for the Cathedral to be
sited on this land, and plans were drawn for this.  
This never happened, and the new Rector Fr Amoore, challenged the council to develop the
land or sell it. A house was seen and bought as a new Rectory, and services with concurrent
Youth Worship began in the house in Advent 1992. From then the church site was developed. 
A hall and Youth Worship classrooms were built first, which were let out for pre-primary school
purposes during the week. Many lessons were learnt from this experiment, and the building
plans altered as unforeseen needs of such a school arose. It led to the church not renewing the
lease with the tenants and taking over running of a pre-primary school ourselves.  
Plans for the church have been drawn up and approved by Diocese and Municipality and funds
are being raised.
 
ADDITIONAL PLANT
In the 1980's the circumstance of an elderly parishioner needing somewhere to live which was
affordable, led to the parish, inspired by Harold Flight and aided by John Pedlar, managing
Director of Geo Constable’s printing works, raising funds and purchasing a block of flats (now
on the death of John Pedlar named Pedlar Place) for housing for the elderly, and an association,
Anglican housing for the Elderly, was established but never given a constitution. The vision was
to expand and eventually be able to offer frail care as well.  
With the social decline of the area around St Michael’s and the need for secure on-site parking,
the three erven on the west side of Plein St were bought, and the erven east of the hall in the
same block as the church were bought.  
To enable it to fulfil its role in the Vision of the parish, St Gabriel’s had a hall built in the late
1990's.


THE VISION AND STRUCTURE OF THE PARISH 
With the hurt of the attempted closure of St Gabriel’s in mind, care has been taken not to
reduce it (and subsequently the growing congregation of St Raphael’s) to a “Cinderella” status
by demarcating them as chapelries.
As with all parishes in the Diocese that go back that long, the boundaries of the parish date
back to Apartheid times and include the previously white suburbs. This has however ceased to
be of any consideration as people go to the parish of their choice and cultural, racial and
linguistic considerations have determined the area of ministry. Thus for example the previously
white area of Rondebult is now ministered to from Spruitview, while the “new” “Coloured” area
of Windmill Park and the “Asian” area of Villa Liza is ministered to by Reiger Park and (the
informal settlement attached to it) by Vosloorus. In addition the northern areas of Bardene and
Bartlett are closer by road to the Cathedral than to St Michael’s (St Gabriel’s currently not
offering a “family” service” ) and the cathedral Parish established a pastoral zone in those
areas. 
The vision developed for the parish is of one of two pastoral areas, a north (centred on St
Gabriel’s) and a south (centred on St Raphael’s) manned by two stipendiary priests and a non-
stipendiary priest. Each church will offer a family-friendly worship style with the whole area of
Youth Worship being given great attention. 
St Michael’s in the centre will be the focus of unity of the parish, with almost all extra liturgical
functions taking place there, and will in its worship be eclectic, drawing a congregation based
not on geographical proximity or pastoral care, but on the provision of a high standard of
worship. This worship will thus of necessity use the best of meaningful ceremony crisply
executed and a high standard of preaching, vocal delivery and music. In addition, the
architecture is both a remarkable strength of the building, and a hazard for those who neglect it
in order to impose a style of worship on it.
It must be added that the Diocese needs to buy into this vision. Only for a short period when Fr
Selkirk was assistant in the parish and Fr Morris was with us were we able to live out this
vision, with both St Raphael’s and St Gabriel’s offering an 8.30 service (with the 7am service
where it belongs as an eclectic service at St Michael’s). 
At the same time, it is desired to preserve a sense of each parishioner belonging to the parish,
and not to a congregation within it. For this reason, there needs to be a continuity across the
parish so that practice will not differ in any substantial way from congregation to congregation,
and especially that the Youth worship policy and syllabus will be the same. At the same time
the worship ethos may differ. 

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 
The Parish has the following areas of social responsibility; 
* The Provision of housing for the elderly and the maintenance of a caring relationship
with the tenants in the flats.
* The running of a non-paying creche and pre-school at St Michael’s to cater for the
impoverished children of the neighborhood owing to its decline. 
* The provision of pre-school formation of a high-quality, at a below market cost
through the pre-school at St Raphael’s. 
* A highly successful venture to provide mothers of new-born babies at O R Tambo
hospital with some necessities for their new-born.

The Parish ran a feeding scheme but stopped it when it became clear that it had
become merely a bonus stopover for those from Ramaphosa Informal Settlement
on their way to collect their daily handout at new Beginnings.
In addition, St Michael’s provided a venue for the Boksburg Clinic to dispense
medication, but this ceased owing to a lack of communication from the Clinic.