06 January 2011 by Chris Marais

Dude, Who Stole My Pulpit?

Adelaide is a small town just up the road from me in the Eastern Cape. I like to pop in there occasionally for a beer at the old-time Midgely’s Hotel and a lunchtime steak that knows no peer.

Today, however, I am going to church. A block or so from the hotel is the local Dutch Reformed Church, and it looks like something straight out of Normandy, with its castle-rampart-like steeple.

The verger is Ann du Preez, who happily pads around in her socks showing me around.

She’s been there for twenty years, and only recently stopped climbing up into the steeple to wind the clock up, and that only because of her hip problems. But she still rings the church bell (surprisingly heavy to handle) every Sunday, and for funerals and weddings.

During the South African War (Anglo-Boer War), the British hoisted a cannon up into the steeple for defence of the town, but it was never fired.

There is a delicious story concerning the church.

No one is sure about when it happened, but legend has it that sometime after the South African War, a huge load of excellent wood arrived in Adelaide, shipped in from England.

The locals gratefully set about using the wood to make pews and a pulpit for their church, delighted that Britain was finally making some reparations for the hell of the war.

But a while later, there were enquiries from Adelaide Australia, about whether any wood had arrived.

The message went back something along the lines of: yes, already cut and installed, sorry for you…

Category: Culture & History

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