Birthed in a Railway Station

In the mid 1890s, the area which was to become the village of Krantzkloof, and later, Kloof, was part of a huge farm named Richmond and owned by the Field family. Natal was a British Colony, so this area was scattered with British pioneer families. In 1896 Krantzkloof Station (which became Kloof Station and is presently ‘Stokers’) was built on the Durban – Pietermaritzburg railway line. It was in the waiting room of this station that the first formal Christian services of worship took place in the area. Clergy from St. John’s Anglican Church in Pinetown would ride up Field’s Hill to conduct services.

A Village Church

A wood and iron church was built in 1904 on property (our present property) donated by Mr. T.S.P. Field. This was in response to the growth of the village and was the first church building to go up in Kloof. The church was named the Church of the Holy Spirit and came under the Parish of Pinetown. The first vicar (The Revd Henry Grellier) rode up from Durban on horseback to conduct services twice a month. Some years later the railway plate-layer’s house, a mud brick, wood and iron structure (where the new Children’s ministry centre has been built) was turned into a house for the vicar, and it served this purpose until 1957.

Becoming St. Agnes Church

The Church of the Holy Spirit had become too small by the 1930’s and so in 1936 the foundation stone of a new stone church was laid. The following year, on the 10 March, the church was consecrated by Bishop Leonard Fisher and given the name St. Agnes. A major donor to the building project requested that the church bear the name of his mother (whose second name was Agnes). The new building was designed by Mr. W.B. Oxley, who designed it after a Norman style. The name of the old church was incorporated in the new building with the north-facing side chapel being named the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. The focal point of the new stone church was a large stained glass window of the Risen Christ in the east-facing sanctuary. This window, like many of the other windows, were given in memory of parishioners who died in the Second World War. The new church could seat a total of around 180 and cost in the region of ₤ 2 500 to build.  The bell tower was added to the building in 1937 in memory of King George V. No bells were ever put in the tower because it was too weak to support them. A recording of ringing bells was used instead.

A Separate Parish

St. Agnes separated from the Parish of Pinetown in 1946 and became a parish in its own right. The parish of Kloof extended from Kloof, through to Wyebank, Hillcrest and Botha’s Hill. The parish was also responsible for the chapelries of local private schools like St. Mary’s, Highbury and Kearsney College. Services were taken at Krantzkloof Convalescent Home (now Kloof Rest Home) and Hillcrest Hospital.  In 1947, St. Agnes planted a mission church in Hillcrest. The old wood and iron Church of the Holy Spirit was relocated there, and later moved to Botha’s Hill. It is presently standing at Pineville Junction in Pinetown. A new vicarage was built in 1957, on the north-western corner of the property (presently the Parish Offices).  In 1960, a new hall was built. This served as a space for the Church Office, Sunday School, Youth group meetings, church socials, weddings and housed a badminton court. It also served the poor of our community – it was a refuge for people during the period of turbulence in the townships, where films were screened to them. It held sewing clubs, was a place for bead-workers to sell their goods, and housed the Employment Bureau, all of which still operate today.   In 1971, a new church in Hillcrest was completed, subsequently forming its own parish, separate from Kloof.

Rapid Growth

In 1993, additions were made to St Agnes. The building was extended northwards, through the old side chapel, creating a much larger nave, and moving the sanctuary to the south side of the building. A new baptism pool was installed in the old sanctuary, below the east window. It also enabled a pipe organ to be installed. These extensions increased the building’s capacity to over 300 people.  The 1990s saw steady growth in numbers, largely due to renewal in the church and the beginning of the Alpha Course.  By the early 2000s, the 9am service was already at full capacity. In 2003 a Youth centre, named B³ (Belong, Believe, Behave), was built alongside the offices in response to the increasing young population of the church.  In 2002 talks of embarking on a major building project began. These finally came into action in 2006, when the hall was demolished, and the construction of a new 1000-seater auditorium and children’s ministry centre began. This project was completed in April 2007.

‘Together we can win the world for Him’

We are proud to share in this heritage which has proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our community for over one hundred years. It is this Gospel which has driven generations before us to impact the community of Kloof. And it still remains central to us as a community of believers who form St. Agnes today, and our desire to see the world transformed by it.

 

Rectors at St Agnes

1937 – J. Blore
1939 – Heywood Harris
1949 – R. Yates
1954 – George C. Oakley
1957 – Richard Brooke
1962 – Philip Russell
1966 – Tom Heywood Harris
1975 – John Henderson
1986 – Charles Parry
1993 – Nigel Juckes
2015 – Peter Houston