Our Church History

In The Begining..

… it was Mrs E Smart in 1946 who started a Sunday School in her home, assisted by Mrs Hilda van Zijl. One year after Second World War ended Methodism in Lyttelton began. The first minister was the Rev Samuel Roberts from Sunnyside Methodist Church who provided oversight over the work in Lyttelton and conducted occasional worship services. After Mrs Smart left in 1948 the work continued in the NG Kerk Hall in Langebrink Street. Miss Joan Anderson now assumed responsibility for the 12 Sunday School children. She later married Mrs Van Zijl’s son Max who became Sunday School Superintendant with 140 scholars. Joan and Max van Zijl held this position for many years. When the Louis Leipoldt Primary School opened in 1953 the church moved to this school hall. During these formative years the Rev Roberts conducted services once a month in the afternoons.

Founder members wo played an active role were Mrs Brown the pianist, Fern Prue, Moira and Vera Andersen, Eve Adams, Abel and Coral Fourie, Sheila & Wattie Gordon, Tommy & Phyllis Gray, Gladys Remmers, Guy & Dina Shipton, Ruth Warren, Bob & Mary Clare-Talbot. In 1954 a property in Union Avenue was bought with the intention of erecting a church building. Unfortunately people in the area objected to this project and it was sold again and the present site of 113 Monument Avenue was purchased.

The Rev James Reed, minister at Sunnyside, was appointed with the oversight of Lyttelton in 1956, followed by Rev John Wallace in 1957 and Rev Fremont Louw in 1959. Meanwhile fundraising for a church building made progress under the leadership of Mr Cyril Watson and plans were approved. On 19 May 1956 the Foundation stone was laid by Rev James Reed and Mr Marcus Kneen.

On 11 November 1956 the new church was opened and dedicated by Rev JB Webb. Building costs amounted to ₤3600. By 1958 there were 200 known Methodist families living in Lyttelton of which approximately 130 were active.

In 1960 our first resident minister, Rev Neville Heuer, a probationer, was appointed. Lyttelton now boasted a Women’s Auxiliary, a Men’s League, a Senior Guild (40), Intermediate and Junior Guild (30 each), a Sunday School (Senior and Primary) and the training of Sunday School teachers, a choir, and with some 400 members active in various ways. The income from Planned Giving and Sunday Collection was £6167 11s 11d. The growth of the Sunday School soon necessitated the building of a hall and this was opened on 16 September 1961 by the Rev DP Dugmore. The estimated cost was £6500. The hall was named the James Reed Memorial Hall.

The Rev Ray Light served for two years (1962–1963) and initiated many fund raising projects. In 1963 the house at 239 Kruger Avenue was bought to serve as manse. Rev Light met here Edna Foxcroft, daughter of active members Hamish and Minnie Foxcroft, and they were married in the church. The caterers at the reception were the Women’s Auxiliary.

The Rev Allan Learmonth arrived in 1964 and served for six years until December 1969. Allan and Evelyn with their two small children were the first ministerial family to occupy the Kruger Avenue manse. In his years of service in the Methodist Church Allan wrote more than 600 sermons which are carefully sorted and archived by the family as a memory to his life. During his time at Lyttelton wooden shelters were constructed along the edge of the present parking area to accommodate the ever growing number of Sunday School classes. In 1968 a committee in the Pretoria Central Circuit was appointed to investigate the possible establishment of a new society west of the Hennops River. With the continuing expansion of the residential area westward the West View Society was officially declared in August 1973. Lyttelton lost about 60 members to West View which was a relatively small number.