Rev Andrew Murray
Wellington - South Africa
Dutch Reformed Church Wellington
Wellington a little town about an hours drive from the centre of Cape Town is steeped in history.
Before the town was established the valley in which it is situated was inhabited by stone age peoples and some of their artefacts and stone age tools have been found in the mountains which guard the valley.
Over the years the valley has been known as the Limiet valley and then Wagenmakers vallei.
After the establishment of the town in 1840, the name was changed to Wellington in honour of the Duke of Wellington who conquered Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
There are a number of historic old buildings scattered around the town but none are as impressive as the Dutch Reformed Church that stands at the entrance to Church Street.
This foundation stone of this church was laid way back in 1838.
The first section of the building which comprised of the nave only was taken into use in 1840.
The vestry was added two years later and two wings were added to the building in 1861.
The impressive church tower was completed in 1895 and is still there today.
Statue of Dr Andrew Murray Which was recently defaced during demonstrations against Rhodes statue.
Over the years the church has had many ministers to lead it but none more well known than the Reverend Andrew Murray.
He was born on May 9th, 1828 in Graaff Reinet and after leaving home at the age of ten with his brother John to study they lived with their uncle, the Rev. John Murray in Scotland.
He introduced them to the revival ministry of William C. Burns.
After graduating from Marischal College in 1844, the two brothers went to Utrecht in Holland to study theology and the Dutch language.
They were ordained in The Hague on Andrew’s twentieth birthday and arrived in South Africa a short while later to begin their ministries.
Andrew worked hard and went out on horseback to preach to the farmers.
When they heard he was coming they would build him a church of reeds and then surround the church with their wagons for the duration of his visit.
In the 1860's he was called as pastor to the Worcester Dutch Reformed church and arrived there during a period of revival in the church.
After praying for many years for a revival, when it arrived he did not recognise it as such and was very critical of his parishioners and the things they were doing.
Moving to various congregations over the years he finally ended up in the Wellington church where he continued his work until his death in 1917.
He was buried in the church gardens.
In 1923 a statue of Andrew Murray was erected at the front of the church in his honour and today it looks out over Church street.
Visitors who visit his tomb will notice that the date of his passing differs with the date on his statue.
On his tombstone the date is the 17th of January 1917 whereas on the statue it is the 18th of January 1917.
Nobody seems to care and these dates will stand forever.
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Rev Andrew Murray