The original manse was, built on our church ground many’ years ago, and no longer exists. From 1937 to 1947 it was owned as a mission home by the Hermes family and known as Glen Lily. According to Nancy McCarter, the now deceased daughter of the family, “Glen Lily was always a home from home to many people, especially during the war years, when we entertained many a lonely soldier, sailor and airman from the convoys.” From 1927 to 1940 the Village Management Board managed Fish Hoek’s civic affairs, after which the Municipality came into being.
The Full Gospel Assembly started as a Sunday School in 1978. The building was bought from a member of the Wakeford family in 1980 and the church overseen by Pastor Phil Engelbrecht with his wife, Jean. Kevin and Linda O’Donoghue arrived in Fish Hoek on the 1st August 1984, and the first meeting Kevin held was attended by John and Olive Hack, Bill and Suzanne Dates, Myra Keuning, Elaine Horak and Tommy Roelofse. Those of us who were around at that time will remember the manse for being cold and damp with rotting floors and so many layers of paint on the walls that only a blowtorch could strip them – for a young family (Kevin junior was about a year old at the time, and the older boys 5 and 7) to live under those conditions was in itself early evidence of the dedication and commitment our Pastor and his wife were to bestow upon this assembly from the very start of their ministry. The manse was so old that when the decision was made to pull it down, the National Monuments Council’s permission had to be sought!
The first family to join the Assembly under the O’Donoghue ministry was that of Alex and Colleen Muir. Richard Muir was the first baby Kevin dedicated, and to this day, as then, Linda Bowditch does the baptism and dedication certificates for us. Oom Piet was brought on board as our first elder in January of 1985, and later on functioned in an advisory capacity until his death in 2013. He blessed us in his own unique and special style with rustic wisdom gleaned from over 50 years in the Lord’s service, correction of the Body when required and arresting stories of many a “tamatie” from years gone by, always narrated with kindly good humour and that indefatigable twinkle in the eye.
The first alteration took place in 1988/89, when the minor hall was knocked down to add 30 more seats. Kevin remembers doing the work with Raoul Esnouf, John van Rensburg, Allan Hansen, Colin and Kevin McCormack and Alan Cobb. And then, after much prayer, a decision was made to extend the building further. God gave Kevin Haggai 1 and 2, and particularly verse 8 of: chapter 1 (“Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord) and verse 4 of chapter 2 (“But now take courage … all you people of the land take courage,” declares the Lord, “and work; for I am with you,” says the Lord of hosts). A further decision was made not to obtain a mortgage either to build or to do the alterations.
Two key figures in the development of the Assembly were Bill Price and Willie van Staden in 1990. Bill introduced us to vision-seeking, and encouraged us to widen our horizons and re-think our modus operandi, while Willie’s business acumen added purpose and direction to the activities of the Church Board. In the same year Eppie and Colleen Trautman arrived, and Eppie made a commitment to carry out the building work until it was finished. He spent an epic 13 years constantly and faithfully labouring, despite towards the end suffering some serious health setbacks, with various people lending him a helping hand over that time. It took a year to obtain permission from the National Monuments Council to pull down the manse, and this was eventually granted on the 9th March, 1992.
No sooner had the building project commenced than Tony Karmis challenged Kevin to look into buying Cynthor Flats next door to the church. After a Church Board Meeting, agreement was reached to go ahead, despite the fact that the building project had begun. The block was bought for R225,000 and a deposit of R45,000 was required. This money arrived the night before the documents were to be signed, when Kevin had already decided he would have to cancel the deal the following day. God miraculously intervened yet a second time, when the funds for the legal costs materialised just ten minutes before the scheduled time for signature!
On completion of the building it immediately became apparent that further extensions were required, and in 1999 Mr. Edward Clement, the Fish Hoek architect, kindly drew the plans for us at a fraction of their cost. However, we ran into problems, as we needed extra parking bays in Carlton Road and there seemed to be no solution to this. It was at this time that Paul Olden and his wife, Helen, arrived at the church and, after Kevin had asked in a service for the Assembly to pray about the problem, he came up, introduced himself as a Town Planner and consultant, and stated that his firm would do the application, etc, pro-bona for us. Thanks to his generous intervention, approval was granted in January 2000 and we were free to go ahead. The building cost was estimated at R1,200000. Miraculously, with God’s provision, we did it for approximately R476,000 and all for cash. We experienced yet another miracle in the donation of some land in Welcome Glen, the proceeds from its sale getting the building project up and running. These were just three of the many miracles we were honoured to experience while completing the project. Various firms in Fish Hoek carried out work at reduced cost, a Minister from an Anglican Church in the Northern suburbs provided the roof, funds and building materials were anonymously donated regularly, while individual members blessed the assembly over the years with donations from their particular fields of expertise and giftings.