St Peters by the Lake Congregation
St Peter’s by the Lake is a congregation situated in the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg. It was established to cater for English speaking Lutherans in these areas and is a truly South African congregation with members from many different cultures and backgrounds. As a diverse congregation we strive to live out our motto: ‘Live in Christ’ through worship services, communal activities and active engagement in neighbourhood.
St Peter’s has gone through many processes and changes in the last years. Originally being a mainly white suburb congregation it has come to represent the true demographics of South Africa. It is a congregation with members from all walks of life who choose to worship together.
We are exploring ways in which we can grow and learn from one another knowing that we are all united in Christ. In this way, we can empower our members to address diversity in the South African context, often perceived to be divided on racial and socio-economic lines. We challenge ourselves to become and remain a congregation that is truly diverse in people and way of worship in the ever changing Lutheran tradition.
St Peter’s is also a congregation that is active in the community with St Peter’s Child Care (SPCC) that assists in providing homes for orphaned children. SPCC was started in this congregation and now networks with many other congregations and organisations. It has established 7 homes with 31 children and is in the process of expanding. The congregation is also a member of the Jan Smuts Axis (JSA) group, which for many years has provided a ministry to the homeless of the area. Through the JSA we also participate in inter-denominational services during Advent and Ascension Day.
Lutheran churches existed in Johannesburg, but the services were held in German or Swedish only. It was therefore decided in the late 1950’s to establish an English-speaking Lutheran Church, so that those Lutherans who had married English-speaking spouses, could attend services and their children attend Sunday School classes as well.
St Peter’s by the Lake Lutheran Church was established by “The Board of Trustees for Extension Work in Southern Africa” in cooperation with “The Lutheran World Federation” based in Geneva, Switzerland, who lent the money required.
The first Pastor to be called from the U.S.A. was David Nelson with his wife and two small children. They lived in the house at 43 Lower Park Drive in Parkview, which was to become the home of St Peter’s. The first service was held on 19 February 1961 in Parktown North. It was decided by the “Board” to buy the property at 43 Lower Park Drive and when “Rights” had been granted the services were held in the lounge of the house. The Nelsons continued to live in the house, and the furniture had to be cleared every week, to enable the services to take place. The first service took place in July 1961 and Sunday School started on 5 November in the out buildings. The congregation was officially established on 10 December 1961. Pastor Nelson left in February 1965 and while a new Pastor was being sought, Pastor Carroll F. Ellertse, an American Lutheran Missionary minister held the fort for 16 months.
The second Pastor to answer the call was Earl L Anderson and under his guidance plans were laid to build a Church, an education block and an office block, which were all very much needed. The Lutheran World Federation donated half of this money and the other half was to be paid by the congregation. This money was borrowed from the Lutheran World Federation and repaid in full within a few years.
On 1 September 1968 the Ground Breaking took place at which everyone present was able to dig one spade full of earth to cut the foundations of the church. A very moving dedication service took place on 27 July 1969 and was attended by many dignitaries. Sunday School tables and chairs, an altar rail, pulpit and lectern were built by three of the members over many months.
Each family donated one hymnal and a church in the States shipped out some hymnals for our use. Small black hymnals were also donated. An organ, originally installed in 1920 in the DRC church in Bothaville, was purchased for R5, 700-00. This 17 rank instrument was completely rebuilt by Mr. E. Fehrle and Co. by Christmas 1969. In rebuilding, the organ was redesigned and changed from a pneumatic action to an electric action.
In keeping with the name, St Peter’s, the baptismal font was to be a simple, unadorned rock. Early in 1969 the William Nicol highway was being rebuilt. A lot of blasting took place, scattering huge rocks. A rock was chosen and carted back to the church in the Pastor’s car. The altar clothes were made and embroidered by some of the W.O.S.P.S. (Women of St Peters)
St Peter’s has been a full member of ELCSA (N-T) since 1984.
The building of the manse started in March 1988 and was completed in August 1988. The Werneckes were able to move in after dedication of the buildings in August 1988. In July 1989 the Garden of Remembrance was established and plaques commemorating those who have passed away are put up on the wall of the church.
Pastors who succeeded Pastor Anderson were Pastor Neville B. Kretzmann (July 1970 – August 1976), Pastor Mark Hestenes (September 1976 – July 1983), Pastor Andreas Wernecke (February 1984 – June 2000) and Pastor Edwin B. Dedekind (November 2000 – March 2017). Pastor Dieter Trümpelmann (January 2018 to 2021)
10:00 every Sunday
Children's Church during school terms and Holy Communion is celebrated once a month
43 Lower Park Drive, Parkview, 2193
Corner of Ennis Road and Lower Park Drive