St Mary’s Anglican Church is a small stone church built in 1886 and is an oasis of peace in the bustling university town of Potchefstroom in the North West province of South Africa. The magnificent stained glass windows are a stand-out feature and many people, from outside of our congregation, are married here due to the church’s quaint character and beauty.
Our rector Fr. Jacques Pieterse and organist Dr Gerrit Jordaan have a dream to celebrate and commemorate our church’s 150th birthday by installing a majestic Victorian pipe organ.
The story of the organ starts in the early hours of the morning of 13 June 2014 when Gerrit woke suddenly and inexplicably reached for his laptop. Up popped the e-bay screen advertising a Victorian pipe organ for sale in the UK. He immediately placed a bid - which was subsequently accepted! On hearing what he'd done, Fr. Jacques was as excited and put the wheels in motion to obtain permission from the Church Council and the congregation to purchase the organ.
An obvious drawback however was that the organ was literally in pieces and had essentially been "rescued" from the rubbish heap in Bristol, three years before. After seeing photographs of the damaged organ, Fr. Jacques began doubting the huge financial commitment from the small congregation should the project, which was now an almighty challenge, be a mistake? Late one night, on his knees in St Mary’s, he appealed to our higher power for guidance and received his reply from Ezekiel 37 - "he set me in a valley. It was full of bones ... " and "I will make my breath enter you and you will come to life. This is what the sovereign Lord said to the bones". Fr Jacques had found his answer – onward!
The organ pieces were gathered and packed and we are very grateful to Michael Farley's organ builders, from Devon, who so ably assisted in the restoration of broken pipes and readying the organ for export.
The container eventually arrived in Potchefstroom on 25 June 2015, was carefully unpacked and the pieces stored in the church hall to acclimatise. Work started on the repairs in January 2016 and the congregation has sanded and waxed until the beautiful sheen of the old English oak has shone through. A professional organ builder is overseeing all repairs and he will liaise closely with a structural engineer and architect who will be assisting in the renovations and building plans. The crew is necessary as one of the church walls has to be removed and replaced to accommodate the organ. The Potchefstroom Heritage foundation is also involved in an advisory capacity.
The cost of the whole project is estimated at between ZAR1m and ZAR1,2m. A monumental ZAR570,000 has already been raised by the congregation through various fund-raising events and donations from individuals, institutions and private companies. However, we are now appealing for financial assistance for the balance of the funds and are dependent on your generosity who, by virtue of your assistance, become friends to finish the dream.
Donations can therefore be made to: "Parish of St Mary Potchefstroom"; Absa Bank; Swift Code ABSAZAJJ; Branch. No.632005; Account No. 4053241918; with your name and "organ" as reference OR by using the easy link supplied through this web site.
Please help us to fill our church with glorious music to the glory of God from whom all things are graciously received. Thank you and God bless you.