This week the oldest Presbyterian congregation in southern Africa – Trinity Church, Grahamstown – celebrates the 190th anniversary of its founding. Yet to the surprise and delight of many, this largely white, mainly elderly, fairly traditional congregation has called and appointed a young, unmarried, black, female minister to be its new pastor.
The Reverend Boitumelo Gaborone was formally inducted as minister of word and sacraments in an exuberant, exciting and moving ceremony in Trinity Church on Saturday 5 August. The Moderator of the Presbytery of the Central Cape, the Reverend Sipho Ncapayi officiated, with the assistance of the Reverend Glen Craig. Ministers and representatives from other churches and congregations joyfully participated in the celebration while the VGHS choir, with their choirmaster on the organ, enthusiastically led the singing. The “Charges” to the congregation and the new minister were delivered in an impassioned sermon by the Reverend Nomvuyo Mpuqa, a Methodist minister from KwaZulu-Natal, who had been a fellow student with Boitumelo in the Rhodes Divinity Department.
In Revelation, the last book in the Bible, we read : “Behold I make all things new.” Who would have thought that this could happen even in staid old Grahamstown!