Yesterday, RCSS was fortunate to get a little bit of publicity in the southern suburbs community newspaper called the Tatler. The picture with caption is below. Please consider spreading the news of this mission work of Bellville Reformed Church in any way you can. Flyers for posting and distribution can be downloaded here.
Below is the the press release that we originally sent to the Tatler. Thank you to our resident journalist, Claire Allison, for all of your help!
Reformed Church planted in Southern Suburbs
RONDEBOSCH – A new English-speaking Reformed Church is being planted in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch, Cape Town, by former resident and Rondebosch Boys’ High School old boy, Simon Jooste. Under the oversight of the Reformed Church Bellville – a congregation of the 150-year old Reformed Churches of South Africa (RCSA) – the Reformed Church Southern Suburbs (RCSS) is part of a growing denominational effort to make the riches of the confessional Reformed tradition accessible in the English language. To this end, the RCSS has been holding worship services every Sunday morning at the well-known 2nd Rondebosch Scout Hall in Lea Road since January this year.
According to Jooste, the idea of planting an English-speaking Reformed Church in the southern suburbs started to take shape at the end of 2011, when he and the Reformed Church Bellville discovered they had a similar desire. Together, the mother church in Bellville and the English-speaking Jooste hope to see the birth of a self-sustaining daughter church in the next two to three years.
“Our vision for the church plant is that it be an English-speaking ministry hoping to attract people from diverse ethnic and racial and generational backgrounds,” says Jooste. In addition to diversity, the RCSS sees itself as providing an alternative to the theologically innovative and entertainment-driven experience that so often passes for church today.
In the words of Rev. Coen Vrey, the minister of the mother church, Reformed Church Bellvile: “The planting of a church is a relatively new undertaking for the Reformed Churches in South Africa. This is therefore an exciting development. For the Reformed Church Bellville it is humbling to know that the almighty God is using us alongside Simon in the growth of his church.”
What makes the RCSS unique among other English-speaking churches in the southern suburbs is its commitment to the theology and practice of the sixteenth-century Reformed confessions and the early Ecumenical Creeds as faithful summations of what the Bible teaches. According to Jooste, Christians today are not the first ones to interpret the Bible. Therefore, the Reformed tradition has chosen to read Scripture in conversation with the best of church history. This does not preclude the possibility of theological development and refinement in continuity with the past.
With his recent Phd research, Jooste hopes to make a contribution to discourse on the relationship between Christianity and culture, while maintaining critical continuity with the past. How do Christians make sense of their faith in South Africa’s new liberal democracy?
Among the historic Christian teachings that Jooste hopes the RCSS will help recover today is the central Scriptural truth that sinful humankind is made right with God by grace alone through faith alone. He also wishes to see believers return to worshipping God in simplicity, reverence and awe. Jooste says, “What the church needs today is a modern reformation, which necessarily involves her liberation from servitude to the dictates of popular culture.”
Jooste is a born and bred Capetonian and after receiving a scholarship after school to play tennis in the United States of America, continued to reside there for 15 years where he received his seminary education and practiced for a number of years as the equivalent of a chartered accountant. Jooste returned with his wife and two boys to South Africa in August 2010 to commence further studies and explore the possibilities of church planting. He graduated with a Phd in theology from Stellenbosch University in March this year. Every Sunday he seeks to help people (re-)discover Christ, his gospel and his church.
Worship services take place each Sunday at 9:30am at the 2nd Rondebosch Scout Hall (6 Lea Road) Rondebosch. All are welcome.