The real history of St. Francis of Assisi, Moroka started in 1961 when ‘The Great Trek’ from Western Native Township was at its peak. We settled in Moroka and there was no church nearby. The nearest Anglican Church was in Senaone, St. Hilda’s where Fr. C.P. Molefe was the rector.
It was through the help of Fr. Molefe that we managed to get a class room at Tiresano Primary School, where we could hold our services. On the morning of the 25th February 1962 Fr. Francis Blake sang the first Mass for this parish. From then on we never looked back and services were held at the school fortnightly.
But in the true spirit of fellowship the members of the congregation met more often. Services were held at the homes of various members and our well trained lay-preachers proved to be a valuable asset. Within a year the membership of our church had grown tremendously and we even had a Sunday School group.
It was on the 30th September, 1962 that Fr. Molefe urged us to form our first Chapel Council led by Able Molefe and Phillip Lefatola as church wardens. The young men and women who were elected in that council worked very hard for the single goal of establishing their own church building. They experienced a number of teething problems and as a result the funds came in very slowly.
When all seemed lost a huge donation from the Overseas Society for the Promotion of the Gospel (SPG) enabled us to put up a building, and all the funds we had raised were used to buy the required furniture. And it was on that memorable 28th day in June in the year of our Lord, 1964, that our dream came true when we all witnessed the dedication of the St. Francis of Assisi Church by his Grace the Most Reverend. Selby Taylor, then Archbishop of Cape Town.
That was the fulfillment of a goal we had all been looking forward to. It was the greatest moment of our lives. And with the sentimental attachment to our past history, we had three bricks built in the front of the altar and three at the front of the font from Christ the King, Sophiatown, and St. Francis Newclare respectively. So that Christ the King’s memories may ever be enshrined in our hearts .
From the year 1965 our Church went through a new era of lay involvement in ecumenical issues, mission, administration and worship. It was during this period that we joined hands with our local neighbours, the Methodists. We worked in co-oeration in matters that involved the church life in general.
The highlight of this co-operation was during Easter in 1967 when the two churches held a common service at the Elkah Stadium. At the service the late Fr. Cezula then Rector of the parish officiated, while Rev. Mahabane, the President of the Methodist Church, delivered the Easter message. So it is not without good reason that we can claim to be pioneers of ecumenism in these days of Church Unity.
In 1970 our church, together with St. James Diepkloof, St. Paul’s, Jabavu and later (in 1971) St. Peter’s Rossetenville formed a consortium. The primary aim here was to build up the spirit of a wider fellowship of Christians, and to reaffirm our solidarity in Christ. This proved helpful, especially in the fund-raising drives which are sometimes absolutely necessary to meet the assessments in the parishes.
Under God’s loving guidance our Church has, from small beginnings, reached a stage of maturity and for that we pause to give thanks, praise, glory and honour to him and pray that He may continue to bless His work in Moroka and in the Diocese of Johannesburg.
This short history of the parish was taken from the church wardens report compiled by Abel Molefe and Phillip Lefatola at our 10th year Anniversary 1974