It took plenty of horn blowing and walking in circles to bring down the walls of Jericho, but a Hout Bay church’s wall, leaning perilously towards a busy road, looks ready to re-enact that biblical story with a considerably more muted invitation.
The Anglican Church of St Peter The Fisherman Hout Bay celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, but the wall abutting Victoria Road is putting a dampener on things – the church has learnt it will cost at least R550 000 to fix.
“Our concern is that pedestrians and motorists passing by could be fatally injured, and therefore we are trying to use all our resources to prevent this from happening,” says Reverend Gaile Beckett.
It’s feared the wall’s collapse could also cave in the church’s driveway.
Reverend Beckett says they have appealed to other churches in the diocese and to parishioners for further support.
Built in 1895, the church is a national monument and has stood witness to numerous changes in the Hout Bay valley over the decades. Many locals have been married or had their children baptised in the attractive little church.
“People who have moved away often request that their funeral service be held in this church, and the memorial garden holds the ashes of many former congregants,” Reverend Beckett said.
“It is an integral part of Hout Bay and its history, and we would all like to see it remain.”
But the sort of money needed to repair the wall is not likely to be found in the collection box.
“The amount of R550 000 is a lot of money for such a small church to raise, and therefore we are appealing to the public to come forward and assist us in keeping this piece of history alive. This is a desperate appeal to the community to help us in our endeavours,” Reverend Beckett said.
Wilimina Rice is a former Hout Bay resident who was married in the church, had her first child baptised there and plans to have her funeral there too. “Those grounds were always beautiful and well looked after. This is a genuine piece of history that we all need to try and keep intact. It really is one of those places everybody from Hout Bay knows about,” she said.
“Everybody must pull together and let’s try and keep the church together and in one piece.”
For more information, call the church secretary at 021 790 1029 .