A short history of the MRCC

The Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ (MRCC) was established in 1923. On the 29th April 1923 the Rev Andrew Mlaba, an ordained minister, along with approximately 400 congregants broke away from the Free Church of Scotland in Kwazulu-Natal. This was due to the fact that the Free Church of Scotland allowed missionaries, who were not ordained, to minister the sacraments.

Rev Mlaba read about the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHKA) in the newspapers. He requested a meeting with the church leadership, with a view of “getting material and spiritual support” from the NHKA, as well as “protection and membership of the ‘NHK van Natal’”. At first the church was referred to as Zulu Hervormde Sendingkerk and it was based at Lufafa. A second group joined Rev Mlaba in 1927. The group was under the leadership of the Dutch Reformed Church evangelist Mayaba.

A more active minister, Rev Stephanus Phillipus Mpanza (born 1892 in Mahlabathini), an evangelist in the Dutch Reformed Church, was called to the congregation to continue with the work started by Rev Mlaba. This was because Rev Mlaba had become too old to continue with his work. Rev Mpanza accepted the call, was ordained and established a new mission post at New Canaan. He continued to play an important role in the development of the Zulu mission.

The coming of Rev Mpanza to Lufafa was a breath of fresh air since “he breathed new life into the church and spurred congregations towards greater activity with a high level of competence and dedication.” Rev Mpanza was dedicated to his work as a minister of religion. He was a very involved person, especially when it came to pastoral work.

It was because of his dedicated service to the work of the church that the church grew and expanded in Zululand. One of his assistants, Simon Sithole, was appointed as an evangelist in 1952. He was appointed for the area “between Pietermaritzburg and Durban”. As a result of that appointment a new church was built at Gracourt.

Something wonderful happened in 1955 when “the whole Independent Zulu Methodist Church with four ministers (Mhlane, Mbonwa, Mchunu and Mazibuko) applied for inclusion in the Zulu Hervormde Sendingkerk. The influence of Rev Mpanza’s hard work did not confine itself to Zululand, but a new development took place in the same year, with the establishment of a Sotho speaking congregation near Koster in the former Transvaal. The congregation was served by an evangelist Lukas Tsoai. A year later his brother, Abiel Tsoai, started missionary work near Hekpoort. Due to these developments, the name of the mission church changed to Bantu Hervormde Kerk (BHK), as the church now had Sotho-speaking members.

The BHK held the first General Church Assembly (Synod) from 19-22 July 1977 at Turfloop. A decision was then made to rename the church Hervormde Kerk in Suidelike Afrika (HKSA) and the first moderator to be elected by the HKSA was Rev A Kupa (2009:35). The name ‘HKSA’ was changed to Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ (MRCC) in 2006 at Bizana, Eastern Cape during the 10th General Church Assembly.

Maranatha is an Aramaic word meaning ‘come, our Lord!’ Therefore, we regard ourselves as a church waiting for our Lord to come and we strive to do as He wishes and as He commands, whilst waiting for Him to come back.

OFFICIAL BIRTH DATE OF THE MRCC

The 1988 General Church Assembly established the establishment date of the Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ as 12 May 1923. This date is obviously very important for the MRCC. It is for this reason that on 15-16 May and 22-23 May 1993 the MRCC celebrated in grand style her 70th anniversary. The celebration was two-phased, one held at High Flats at Zamafuthi congregation in KwaZulu-Natal i.e. East of the Drakensberg Region and the other at Fochville congregation at Kokosi Location in North West i.e. West of the Drakensberg Region. 12 May 2012 was therefore an 89th Anniversary of the MRCC.

PAST MODERATORS OF THE MRCC

It is proper to acknowledge the God-inspired leadership of brothers who served as moderators of the church since 1977. We thank the Lord for the able leadership, dedication and commitment of these men:

Revs. AM Kupa 1977-1982; JNR Sithole 1982-1985; ZJ Banda 1985-1994, 1997-2000; SP Mpanza 1994-1997; BA Xuba 2000-2003; Adv. KD Matji 2003-2006; Rev AM Rivombo (2006-2009) and Rev JM Mamabolo (2009-2012). The current moderator is Rev Prof MJ Manala (2012-2015).

Timeline of Highlights of the Church Events and Decisions

1916

The First Church building of the   church at Lufafa as of Free Church of Scotland

1923

Birth of Zulu Hervormde Zending Kerk   van Natal, Gemeente Lufafa (23rd April) under the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk   van Natal

1923

Official calling of AS Mlaba as   minister of ZHZK (chosen from 3 candidates), 12 May

1923

Memorandum of Agreement signed   between NHK van Natal (Bpk)and ZHZK;   ZHZK accepts guardianship of NHKvN (29 April 1923)

1923

First official church council   constituted, namely Efraim Ndlovu, Moses Madonda, William Nkulise [Mkulise],   Paul Ndhlovu, Mlyoni Magose, Hebron Tshabalala, Piteon Tshabalala, Amos   Mkulise, Alfred Base, Lukas Ntsuma & Josia Maktini (12 May).

1925

Proposal for admission of the ZHZK   van Natal by NHK van Natal under NHKA declined by GCA

1927

Special GCA of NHKA refers the   proposal for admission of ZHZK to the CGA of 1928

1928

Formation and registration as legal   entity (5 Nov) of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Sendinggenootskap NHSG   (Benefactor of ZHZK)

1928

NHKA's GCA allows Friends of Mission   to adopt the ZHZK as a mission activity

1930

Memorandum of Agreement signed   between NHSG (Bpk)and ZHZK (Hervormde Soeloe Gemeente, Natal); ZHZK accepts   guardianship of NHSG.

1935

Three Evangelists served the church   (probably Moses Madonda, Elias Radebe and One Woman (Kate Kuboni ?)

1935

Rev AS Mlaba runs a private school   with one paid teacher paid ten (10) shillings per month, but closed after a   brief run for lack of funds

1937

Successful application and right of   occupation of Lufafa Church Building to the Higher Commissioner of African   Affairs

1942

NHSG declared defunct and is replaced   by Nederduitsch Hervormde Evangelisasie-Vereeniging (NHE-V) (21 May)

1942

The American Mission Board occupies   the Lufafa Church Building, (unofficially); tries to solicit transfer from   the NG Kerk.

1945

NHKA's 1945 GCA takes mission work   seriously and replaces NHK-V with a church elected Nederduitsch Hervormde   Sendingkommissie (NHEK)

1945

The First Call of a minister to Rev   SP Mpanza (but declined)

1945

Name change: ZHZK renamed Christelike   Bantoe-kerk by NHEK

1946

Second minister, Rev Moses Madonda   offically ordained (23 November), at Malahleni Congregation, after Mlaba   unilaterally ordained him c.1942

1946

Ev Alfred Basi, one of first   evangelists, very helpful, better learned but called to discipline for a   polygamy marriage

1946

Rev AS Mlaba (78 years) deceased, 25   January

1947

Name change: ZHZK replaced by   Hervormde Bantoe Kerk (HBK) by NHEK (27 August) for 'simplicity's sake.

1947

The First successful (but 2nd to   prospective) to Rev SP Mpanza (26 February)

1947

The First Marriage Officer of the   church, Rev SP Mpanza, August 1947.

1947

First issue of Akte van Bevestiging   (Engl. Transl.?), to Rev SP Mpanza, August 1947.

1947

First Disciplinary Case and   suspension of minister (Rev M Madonda) under Rev Mpanza (July 6, 1947)

1947

Rev SP Mpanza refers to the church as   Bantu Hervormde Kerk (BHK), instead of HBK

1947

Ev Alfred Basi runs a school with 15   children, a teacher of Roman Catholic Church affiliation

1949

The BHK offically registered by the   state as church

1949

Rev SP Mpanza opens a successful   school, initially with 76 children, with Mrs. Mpanza as volunteer teacher   (i.e. initially without salary)

1951

Rev SP Mpanza through the NHSK   obtains court interdict against American Mission Board's occupation of the   Lufafa Church Building

1951

NHKA officially decides to do mission   as Church

1951

Name change: New African names for   BHK (HBK) proposed by NHKA's 1951 GCA: 1) Isonto lomsindisi (Die Kerk van die   Verlosser), 2) Isonto Lokuhlumelela (Die Kerk van die vernuwing or 3) Die   Kerk van die Hervorming)

1952

Rev SP Mpanza through the NHEK   succeeds to evict the American Mission Board from the Lufafa Church Building

1974

Name Change: Church Assembly of 1974   (Saulsville proposes removal of "Bantoe" from BHK and proposes   HKSA.

1977

First GCA at Turfloop, Stofberg   Theological School, Pietersburg

1977

Name change: Bantu Hervormde Kerk   renamed Hervormde Kerk in Suidelike Afrika (HKSA) by first GCA of the church

1977

Ist Moderamen elected Rev AM Kupa   (Chp), Rev CMK Dlamini (Secr.) Rev AM Modiboa (v.Chp.) and Rev JNR Sithole   (v.Secr),

1977

First Church Constitution adopted   article by article through the meeting B25(7-11 July)

1977

Church Membership: 14 270 Confirmed   & Baptised Members

1977

Stats: Congr.91; Minist. 33;   Conf.& Bapt. Memb:14 270; Circ. 5; Delegates: 56

1980

Second GCA at Umgababa Holiday   Resort, Natal(7-11 July)

1980

Rev SP Mpanza honoured after years of   sterling foundational work of the HKSA

1980

Second Moderamen: All re-elected: Rev   AM Kupa (Chp), Rev CMK Dlamini (Secr.) Rev AM Modiboa (v.Chp.) and Rev JNR   Sithole (v.Secr) (7 Jul.)

1982

Rev SP Mpanza deceased

1982

Moderamen Change: Rev AM Kupa resigns   to join SABC; Rev JNR Sithole (Ch), Rev CMK Dlamini (scr), Rev JM Madonsela   (v.Ch) & Rev AM Modiboa (v.Scr) (23 Nov.82)

1985

3rd GCA at Umgababa Holiday Resort,   Natal (26-30 August 1985)

1985

Third Moderamen: Rev ZJ Banda (Ch),   Rev MJ Manala (Scr), Rev JNR Sithole (v.Ch) & Rev GBM Madlala (v.Scr) (26   Aug).

1985

Stats: Congr.84; Minist. 44;   Conf.Memb. 9 701 & Bapt. Memb. 17 764. Tot.Memb. 27 465; Circ. 7;   Delegates: 128 (41 min, 51 eld, 34 dea & 2 min.advisory

1985

Office: Women admitted to office of   presbytery (elders) by GCA (28 Aug.85)

1985

Tentmaking/Part-time ministry   officially approved by GCA1985; (fore-runners Rev AM Kupa (SABC-1982) &   Rev JM Mamabolo (SABC)).

1985

Ministers/Retirement Age: 65yrs or   40yrs of Service; 70 yrs=Conditional to CGCA approval & state of health.

1985

New Circuit of Central Transvaal   consisting of 7 congregations approved and separated from North Transvaal   which remains with 6 congregations.

1988

4th GCA at Camp Jonathan, Eston,   Natal (19-24 September)

1988

Ds JAP van Tonder receives standing   ovation for his support and contribution to the life and work of the HKSA, as   he retires as Mission Superintendent of the NHKA

1988

Hypothesis C, an Investment Scheme   for fundraising based on Contributions of Members, with ±50 members (R5   522.25 bal.), is approved by GCA,

1988

Emblem change: The GCA approves of   the church emblem with the new symbols (insignia) as the Cross and the Bible,   but maintaining the motto: Maranatha

1988

Fourth (4th) Moderamen: Rev ZJ Banda   (Ch), Rev MJ Manala (Scr), Rev JNR Sithole (v.Ch) & Rev JN Zuma (v.Scr)   (26 Aug).

1988

Special Ordination of Evangelists to   become ministers approved GCA 1988, after heated debate (28 August 1985)

1988

Medical Scheme: CGA1988 grants that   costs for normal visit to a medical doctor by ministers and their households   be subsidized by 50% by the local congregation.

1988

Tent making ministry conditional   approved by GCA1988; subject to approval of Mission Board.

1988

First Congress of the Hervormde   Sustervereniging (HSV) at Camp Jonathan, Eston (21-23 June'88): Ch. Mrs. V   Madlala, Secr. Mrs. A Semetjane, v.Ch. Mrs. R Mogashoa & v.Secr. Mrs. H   Sithole & Trea. Mrs. CT Dlamini.

1988

Boundaries of Circuits prescribed on   the map.

1988

New Circuit of Soweto consisting of 6   congregations approved and separated from East Transvaal which remains with 5   congregations.

1988

CGA decides to take observer member   status of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) after the CGCA had   provisionally applied for the status.

1989

Ds JAP van Tonder deceased 27 March   1989 and HKSA attends burial.

1989

Rev LJJ Nell becomes mission   superintendent (NHKA) (1 July 1989)

1990

Largest number of Candidate Ministers   to complete 12 at HTO.

1991

5th GCA at Mamelodi (West)   Congregation, Pretoria (14-18 September '91)

1991

The Moderamen presents a progressive   vision for the church, "Vision 2000 and beyond".

1991

Chaplaincy: GCA approves of Rev NJ   Dithipe as he becomes the first chaplain to serve in the Military force   (Bophuthatswana)

1991

Chaplaincy: GCA approves of Rev SE   Mabe as he becomes the first chaplain to serve in the Police force (SAP)

1991

Language: Use of Afrikaans and   English in the Agenda for the first time.

1991

CGA decides to takes full membership   status of the South African Council of Churches (SACC)

1991

The Fifth (5th) Moderamen elected:   Rev ZJ Banda (Ch), Rev MJ Manala (Scr), Rev JN Zuma (v.Ch) and Rev CMK   Dlamini (v.Scr)

1992

First Chief Executive Officer (CEO)   (Hoog Uitvoerende Beampte), Rev MJ Manala appointed June, assumed duty 1 Aug,   inaugurated 21 Nov. 1992.

1992

Prof HG van der Westhuizen appointed   rector of HTO, as Prof SJ Botha assumes a lectureship post at the Univ. Of   Pretoria (June 1992)

1993

Church celebrates its 70th   Anniversary at Kokosi, Fochville for West of Drakensberg (15 – 16 May), and   Zamafuthi, Hlokozi, for East of Drakensberg (date 22 – 23 May)

1994

6th GCA at Mooigenoeg Camping Site,   Bloemfontein (4-9 September '94)

1994

Hypothesis C matures at R158 610, and   yields returns and increases the coffers of the church multifold from R680.00   to R23 021.51 after repayments to participants.

1994

Honorarium: GCA approves honorarium   for members of CGCA at R50 per attendance, and R1500 per year for Chairperson   and Scribe as compensation for office work and visits.

1994

The Sixth (6th) Moderamen elected:   Rev SP Mpanza (Ch), Rev AM Rivombo (Scr), Rev RJ Maenetsa (v.Ch) and Rev SK   Tlotleng (v.Scr) (5 Sep. 1994)

1996

The first research on the origins and   early years of the MRCC 1921-1950 completed by Rev ZJ Banda as Masters   dissertation (Unisa)

1997

7th GCA at Technikon North-West,   Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria (16-21 December '97)

1997

GCA expresses its view on homosexual   marriages: upholds heterosexual marriages, expresses duty to counsel, love,   support and pray for homosexuals.

1997

The Seventh (7Th) Moderamen elected:   Rev ZJ Banda (ch), Rev FM Menziwa (secr), Rev BA Xuba (v.Ch) and Rev RJ   Maenetsa (v.Sec) (17 Dec 1997)

2000

The first delegates of the MRCC (Revv ZJ Banda   and MJ Manala) to visit the Uniting Reformed Church in the Netherlands with   assistance of Dr S Bos and financial support of the NHKA. It was in the year   2000 during April/May

2000

8th GCA at Madadeni College of   Education, Madadeni, Newcastle (22-25 September 2000)

2000

The Eight (8th) Moderamen elected:   Rev BA Xuba (ch), Rev JM Mamabolo (scr), Rev SJ Ramoba (v.Ch), Rev JJ Ngubane   (v.Sec) and Ms K Tshabalala (Add.mem) (23 Sep.2000)

2000

First Women to enter pastoral   ministry welcomed by GCA: Ms SN Moloi and Ms JJ Ngubane (Alphabetically)   complete studies 1999

2003

Second Chief Executive Officer (CEO),   Rev JM Motloba appointed and assumed duty in April. The title was later   changed to Administrator in 2009.

2003

9th GCA at Harry Openheimer   Agricultural High School, Limburg (north of Mokopane), Limpopo (9-14 December   2003)

2003

First Lay leader to be elected   Moderator: Adv. KD Matji (12 Dec 2003)

2003

The Ninth (9th) Moderamen elected:   Adv KD Matji (Mod), Rev RP Moleme (Dep Mod), Rev Mosoeu (G. Sec), Rev JJ   Ngubane (Dep. GS) and Rev MA Mothopeng (Add. Mem.) (12 Dec.'03)

2006

10th GCA at Nompumalanga Special   School, Bizana (EC)

2006

The Tenth (10th )   Moderamen: Rev AM Rivombo (Mod), Rev   BA Xuba (Dep Mod), Rev MJ Manala (G. Sec), Rev AM Mothopeng (Dep. GS) and Rev PM Mosoeu (Add. Mem.) (12   Dec.'03)

2006

Rev ZJ Banda resigns from the church   after 9 years of leadership as Chairperson of CGCA, 25 years as minister.

2009

The 11th GCA at Mimosa   Gardens Holiday Resort, Parys, Free State (28 Sep-1 Oct’09)

2009

The 11th Moderamen   elected: Rev JM Mamabolo (Mod), Rev SK Dlamini (G. Sec), Rev ZO Madlala (Dep.   M), Rev SN Moloi (Dep. GS) & Rev ME Botlhoko (Add. Mem.)

2012

The 12th GCA at Skogheim   Conference Centre, Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal (1-4 Dec’12). A decision was   taken to endorse a recommendation to apply for membership of the World   Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).

2012

The 12th Moderamen elected: Prof MJ   Manala (Mod), Eld. MJ Masenya (G. Sec), Rev ZO Madlala (dep. M), Rev M   Mothopeng (Dep. GS), Rev OA Khabele (Add. Mem.) (01-04 October 2012)

2013

12 May 2013 – 90th   Anniversary of the MRCC