Linden Presbyterian Church (LPC) began in 1957 as an outreach from St. Ninian’s Presbyterian Church Parktown North (where the Rev. Robbie Robertson was minister) with a Sunday School led by Arthur Atkins in the D’Aubrey home in Pine Park. Enthusiastic support from families in Blairgowrie led to Sunday Services in 1959, first in someone’s garage and later in the Blairgowrie Primary School. In 1962 the Rev. Sid Smuts became minister of St. Ninian’s and under his leadership this new congregation grew rapidly.
In 1964, the Rev. Tommy Greig was appointed to assist Sid Smuts with the new work. This joint effort led to the acquisition of three stands in First Ave, Linden, where a multi-purpose hall and a manse were built. This building project had begun in 1959 with a coin given to Arthur Atkins by one of the children “to build a Church”! At this time Tommy Greig was appointed part-time minister of the new Linden Presbyterian Church, and under his ministry the congregation grew to three hundred.
In 1969, the first full-time minister, the Rev. Eddie Perkins, was appointed to LPC. At this time, an American missionary society, Disciples of Christ, were withdrawing from South Africa, and had a church building for sale. There was an established congregation meeting there at the time. The Presbyterian Church bought it from them, our present buildings, for the sum of ONE RAND!
The First Ave hall was sold, and the two congregations merged, but not without the loss of some families who couldn’t go with the changes. But in spite of this, the new congregation grew wonderfully in numbers and spiritual depth under Eddie’s ministry.
In 1980, Eddie movied to East London and the Rev. Louis van Blommestein was called as minister. During his time with us Home Fellowship Groups were started, people grew in spiritual depth, youth work flourished, and soon a second morning service was necessary as numbers grew. During Louis’ ministry Duncan Blom was appointed as youth pastor while completing his training for the ministry. Another young man, Doug Hamilton, also involved in the youth ministry at that time broke away from LPC to start the Living Word Church and a large number of the youth and their families went with him.
In 1989, the Rev. Douglas Crawford became minister of LPC, and under his ministry Home Fellowships grew and many outreach programs were started, two of those being our own Linden Christian Nursery School and partnership with two other churches in Northwest Christian School.
After Douglas retired in September 1994 and a vacancy of 16 months, the Rev. Pierre van Blommestein was called as minister, in February 1996. Pierre was with us for a period of only three years before he moved to Australia. During this period Bruce Bartleet was appointed as a Probationer to complete his training for the ministry and when Pierre left, Bruce was appointed as Stated Supply until the end of the year 2001, when the Rev. Rodney Brits, who had been called as our minister took up office. Bruce moved to Cape Town where the Plumstead Church had called him. During the period that Rodney was with us a restructuring programme was implemented and numbers started to increase.
Those members who have known this church for a number of years can testify to the way in which God has guided, sometimes rebuked, but always blessed a congregation that has sought to be in His will and serve Him faithfully.
May we at LPC, young and old, continue to obey, worship and serve God in the tradition of those who have gone before us!