Zion Mission Church - now Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk
On 26 September 1814 the church council wrote to the Magistrate of Stellenbosch requesting that a suitable building be made available in Paarl for preaching to the 'heathen'.
From 1820 the slave congregation became known as the Zion Congregation. On request a gymnasium was erected in North-Paarl known as Het-Gesticht for the nearby slave community. This soon became too small and monies were collected for a new building.
In 1842 the new historical church with seating for 500, known as the Zion Chapel was erected to the design of Carl Otto HAGER and inaugurated on 4 August 1842.
Deconsecration and closing of the Church
In 1964 the Rev. IJ Theron was called to serve the community. The Group Areas legislation caused the depopulation of southern Paarl of the coloured community the church had served and in 1974 a new church centre was built for 1 300 congregants, sunday school, parsonage and lay-house.
For the first time since when the church change from 'Hervormd' To 'Gereformeerd' a 'Hervorm' service was once again held in the Paarl. There were 27 souls present. The congregation received permission to use 'Het Gesticht' as place of worship which served as home for many years.
A series of buildings were bought and sold, each time at profit until enough money was raised to buy a suitable piece of ground on the river-side of the parking lot of the Strooidakkerk. It transpired that this land had once been donated to the deaconry of the 'Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Paarl' (later the NG Kerk) by Graaf Caledon.
At the same time it became known that the State wished to dispose of the Zion Church. The congregation negotiated purchase of the property but the transaction took so long that the building was literally undermined by termites and invaded by tramps. The contract was cancelled, only to discover that the other property had also been unknowingly disposed of.
In the interim the well-known businessman and rugby player, Jan Pickard, had bought and renovated the Zion Church. When approached he did not wish to sell but at the insistence of his mother made the premises available. The asking price of R60 000 was met with the assistance of communities around the country.
Time has passed and a major restoration has again been undertaken.
The restored church was consecrated on 28 November 2010.
[Translated and edited from a document by van Staden, P. 2010. Nederduitsch Hervormde Gemeente Paarl. Beknopte historiese oorsig. Unpublished PDF document. View full article]
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.
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