A temple for Soshanguve?
The Orthodox congregation of St Seraphim in Soshanguve has been meeting in houses and school classrooms for the 18 years of its existence, and we have been looking for a place to build a church for most of that time.
Twelve years ago we applied to |Tshwane municipality for a church site in Block G, which is near to where most of the people lived then, The City of Tshwane was still new, having been formed from 13 smaller local authorities, each with its own policies for allocating church sites, and so the city authorities were trying to develop a unified policy and to find out what land had actually been allocated for such purposes. We hit a snag — it seemed that the vacant land in Soshanguve was registered in the name of Gauteng Province, and not in the name of the City of Tshwane, and so though the municipality was quite happy to let us have the land, it wasn’t theirs to give, and would have to wait to the land was transferred to the city. Twelve years later, we are still waiting.
More recently Reader Simon Shabangu, who has been caring for the Soshanguve parish since Fr Athanasius Akunda left to return to Kenya, has been looking for land that was not encumbered by belonging to the province, and has now at last been offered a site, Erf 8140 in Soshanguve South, Extension 3. He has received a definite written offer from the municipality, and today we went with Archbishop Damaskinos to look at both pieces of land.
Erf 8140 is about 3000 square metres, south of the road, with a stream on the east side. It has plenty of room for a temple and perhaps some classrooms, and a house for a priest.
We went to Soahanguve North, Block G, about 10 km away, to look at the land we had applied for 12 years ago. It is about half the size of the land in Soshanguve South, about 1400 square metres.
So we hope that someday, before we die, we may at last have a place to meet.