Clum­ber Church cel­e­brates 150th


Clum­ber Church, in the vale of Clum­ber in the Eastern Cape, 5km from Bathurst just off the Shaw Park road, has seen var­i­ous ren­o­va­tions tak­ing place since 2015.

To cel­e­brate the com­ple­tion of the re­pair and restora­tion tasks, which co­in­cide with the 150th an­niver­sary, mem­bers of the church will host an ex­cit­ing 150th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion from 20 to 22 Oc­to­ber.

On 20 Oc­to­ber at 2pm, we are lay­ing a flower to­ken on each and ev­ery grave to honour those who have gone be­fore. That evening there will be an auc­tion at the Pig and Whis­tle Inn in Bathurst with Jeremy Mans­field as auc­tion­eer, to raise funds for the on­go­ing church re­pairs. Satur­day 21 Oc­to­ber start­ing at 11am will be a full day of mu­sic and song, end­ing at 3.30pm. The Graeme Col­lege Steel Band, Scot­tish Danc­ing, Ken­tones Male Choir, Keiskamma Mu­sic Academy, DSG and St An­drews Wind Orches­tra and the Al­fred Mn­aba Choir are all part of the line-up.

On Sun­day 22 Oc­to­ber there will be a Cel­e­bra­tory Holy Com­mu­nion with our Cir­cuit Min­is­ter and Dis­trict Bishop pre­sid­ing. At 12pm, a wreath will be laid in honour of the Not­ting­ham Party. We end off the cel­e­bra­tions with a High Tea. See the Clum­ber Church web­site for de­tails. Lead­ing up to the Clum­ber Church cel­e­bra­tion from 20 to 22 Oc­to­ber, Gro­cott's Mail will pub­lish the his­tory of the Clum­ber Church.

This week we fo­cus on the ren­o­va­tions to the church, the main rea­son for the cel­e­bra­tions in Oc­to­ber.

In De­cem­ber 2015 it was seen that the steeple was lit­er­ally fall­ing apart. Swarms of bees in­hab­ited the space and this rot­ted the sup­port­ing cen­tral sneeze­wood pil­lar. Ian Rud­man, a mas­ter crafts­man from Port Al­fred un­der­took the dis­as­sem­bling of the struc­ture and a re­work of the sneeze­wood orb. He re­assem­bled the en­tire struc­ture in Jan­uary 2016.

In July and Au­gust 2016 there was great con­cern as the roof was leak­ing badly. The Yel­lowood floors and pews were dam­aged, the walls were streaked and damp and the 1902 Har­mo­nium and Gors and Kall­mann pi­ano, also from 1902, were un­der threat from the damp.

As the con­gre­ga­tion is small and un­able to cope fi­nan­cially with the costs of re­pairs, it was de­cided to try so­cial me­dia in an at­tempt to raise funds. A web­site, clum­ber­, was built to­gether with two Face­Book pages, one to up­date progress on the re­pairs and the other to re­flect on hap­pen­ings at the church. In Sep­tem­ber, we stepped out in faith with no funds in our Restora­tion Ac­count and or­dered the ma­te­rial for the roof – R65 000 was needed for this project. At com­ple­tion, that amount had been do­nated.

We then re­paired our har­mo­nium and pi­ano, at a cost of R15 000. Again, we did not have the funds when we com­mis­sioned the re­pairs, but on com­ple­tion of the work, pre­cisely one day later, we had the funds avail­able. Mir­a­cles. To cel­e­brate, we held a Carols by Can­dle­light Ser­vice in early De­cem­ber, the first in the church's liv­ing mem­ory.

• In Jan­uary 2017 we com­menced with the re­paint­ing of the in­te­rior and the re­pairs to the Yel­low­wood floors and the pews. A sec­tion of wall was un­cov­ered which showed an ear­lier darker green had been used in the past to­gether with a sten­cilled pat­tern. This area has been re­tained. The floors and pews were sanded and sealed and are now look­ing mag­nif­i­cent.

Once the in­te­rior was com- pleted, we then re­painted the out­side walls. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously our farm­ers started clear­ing the commons of in­va­sive bush as well as alien veg­e­ta­tion. This was con­cluded in July when we called in a con­trac­tor to as­sist in this huge task.

In April we con­vened a Work Party to scrub and clean the grave­stones and re­grav­el­ling where nec­es­sary. A sec­ond Work Party in July al­most com­pleted our ob­jec­tive of clean­ing ap­prox­i­mately 200 graves.

Our fund­ing ap­peals have re­sulted in the church be­ing to­tally re­stored, ready to serve many fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

• Courteney Ge­orge Bradfield who at­tended Clum­ber Church. Clum­ber Sun­day School and Clum­ber School in his youth.

Pho­tos: Sup­plied

The re­painted ex­te­rior of the church.

Neil Pike relet­ter­ing the grave of Wil­liam Pike, his great, great, great-grand­fa­ther.

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