Reverend GW Cross from the Central Baptist Church started a meeting in his home in Brooklyn in 1903. The meeting moved to Rissik Hall, which later burned down. Property was bought in South Street, Hatfield. In 1932, 23 members formed the official Hatfield Baptist Church with Mr JE Smit, a retired civil servant, as the pastor. He served until 1940. After Reverend Cross died his four sons built a 190-seater church in South Street in memory of their dad. The building was completed in 1940. EB Edwards was appointed pastor in 1939 and served the church for 20 years. Reverend Brian Johanson then became the pastor in 1961 for two years.
In 1963 Ed Roebert became the senior pastor of the Hatfield Baptist Church in South Street. Pastor Ed and Kevin Doran prayed every morning behind the Union Buildings for the Holy Spirit to change the church. In 1967 the Holy Spirit began filling the members one by one and the attendance grew. The gifts of the Spirit were manifested in the Saturday evening prayer meetings and soon the church was bursting at the seams. Ed’s wife, Pal, led the worship which could be heard down the street as people came from near and far to drink from the Living Water.
With the explosion in attendance it became necessary to move to bigger premises. In May 1974 a movie theatre was hired. The Lord added members daily and three services were soon necessary. Often 600 people were packed into the 470-seater hall. These were exciting days and four new couples were added to the pastoral staff. The pastors and deacons numbered 34.
The church received a promise from the Lord through Jeremiah 33:9 (NIV), ‘This city will bring Me renown, joy, praise and honor, before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’
Soon church attendance outgrew the cinema and a 600-seater facility was built in Anderson Street, Brooklyn. At the opening in September 1976 the building was packed and large folding doors leading into a hall had to be opened as approximately 1 700 people streamed in.
The Hatfield Training Centre started in 1980. At this time a book table and tape ministry were established and the Saturday night prayer meetings were packed. The church continued to grow and two morning services and an evening service were held. As these filled up, it became necessary to build again.
God gave the church a vision for:
- the city – with a three-fold emphasis on cell, congregation and celebration, and
- the country – eventually about 430 churches networked together as the International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC).
The Lord led the elders to buy the property of the old Menlo Park drive-in on the outskirts of Pretoria for R350 000. On 14 March 1982 the first meeting on the property was held in a 2500-seater tent nicknamed the ‘Canvas Cathedral’. The days in the tent were very blessed – cold in the winter, very hot in the summer but a wonderful time of outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
‘For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.’
Habakkuk 1:5b (NIV)
Soon building started on the property. As Pastor Ed was walking across the site, he said to the Lord, ‘This is too big for me!’ The Lord replied, ‘Yes it is, but it is not too big for Me.’ On 10 November 1984 the building, seating 4 000 people, was dedicated to the Lord and many people came from far to celebrate. By now 22 pastoral couples had been appointed.
Ed Roebert passed away in 1997 on the final day of the hosting of the Global Consultation on World Evangelisation (GCOWE). Francois van Niekerk, who had worked closely with Ed Roebert in the IFCC and in planting the Hatfield North Church, was appointed as the senior pastor. Under his leadership HCC continues to go from strength to strength under the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Some significant developments over the years:
- The Hatfield Christian School (HCS) started in January 1985.
- We began to broadcast services on television through CTV.
- Impact Radio was launched.
- To accommodate the growing number of people, a gallery seating 1 200 people was added. HCS constructed its own buildings and eventually added a swimming pool and sports fields.
- The Hatfield North and South churches were launched.
- The Christian Network (TCN) was established where like-minded churches can co-operate and work together for Kingdom purposes. TCN is linked to networks in other parts of the world.
- The Chapel and Function Hall were added, followed by the Young People’s Facility.
- Many departments have been established, including the outward focus of missions, community ministries and church planting.
Today the church is overseen by a team of elders led by a Visionary Team, and assisted by a Management Team.
Various breakthroughs that the Lord brought about in the church:
- The infilling of the Holy Spirit and water baptism of new believers are weekly opportunities.
- The Lord brought English and Afrikaans people together.
- The dignity of women was restored and both genders work together.
- There is refreshing through the Holy Spirit.
- HCC is a multi-generational church. All age groups worship together. Our oldest members started as children and are now in their nineties.
- HCC is a multi-cultural church. The Lord has done a miracle as people from every nation and tribe worship together.
- There is an emphasis on God as the God over all spheres of life. Our salvation is a full salvation affecting spirit, soul and body and leading to the practical realisation of His Kingdom purpose.