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Cape Town Dean calls for unity after city church is fire-bombed by students

06 October 2017


Coping: clerics and worshippers hold an impromptu outdoor prayer service at St Mark’s, after the attack

Coping: clerics and worshippers hold an impromptu outdoor prayer service at St Mark’s, after the attack

THE Dean of Cape Town has called on all people to stand in solidarity with the clergy and congregation of St Mark’s, Cape Town, after its buildings were fire-bombed on Wed­nesday of last week.

Writing in his column in Saturday’s Week­end Argus, the Dean, the Very Revd Michael Weeder, expressed his shock at the attack on the 130-year-old church, which stands in the middle of the remains of the city’s historic District Six.

The church’s undercroft was wrecked, and there was extensive damage to windows and walls. It has been widely reported that disaf­fected students at the Cape Peninsula Uni­vers­ity of Technology, in Cape Town, were behind the attack.

“The motive of those young people who set fire to St Mark’s is almost impossible to fathom,” Dean Weeder said. “Yet they do not cease to be our children, and we lead by the qual­ity of our response to the evil they inflicted on us, our city, and country. The damage done to the building can be dealt with in terms of rands and cents.”

Instead, he urged as many people as pos­sible to attend the Sunday-morning eucharist at St Mark’s, which has a long history of ministering to people displaced from the area during the apartheid era, when District Six was declared a whites-only zone.

A statement released by the diocese of Cape Town spoke of the general dismay across the see, and the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Magkoba, has assured the people of St Mark’s of his prayers and support.

St Mark’s shares the cure of District Six with St Philip’s, which was run for many years by the Cowley Fathers.

Dean Weeder hoped that there would be a large congregation at St Mark’s on Sunday morn­ing. “And afterwards”, he said, “when the hymns have been sung, and duas made, and our hearts are lifted a bit, let’s have tea in the undercroft — and let our revenge be our laughter.”


Dr Serenhedd James is Director of the Cowley Project.

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