History / 20 Years

By Jack Olivier

Vision Accomplished

Pastor Deryck Stone
Pastor Deryck Stone

Around 1990, Pastor Deryck Stone who was then the senior pastor of Maranatha Community Church from 1971 until 2010, visited the UK to attend an Open Doors International board meeting.

During his time in the UK, he visited a church which had a church school and returned with a vision to start a church school at Maranatha.  However, due to pressure of work as senior pastor of a growing church and chairman on the board of Open Doors South Africa and AFMIN (Africa Ministries), he was not able to devote time to this vision.  He did, however, request the eldership to draw up rough plans for a small school building, which if built, would have been on the site of the present church auditorium.  Obviously, the Lord knew that that piece of ground would be needed for a larger church and put a hold on the plans.

During 1994/5, as a result of changes in the education system, a number of churches in Gauteng opened up church schools using the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) curriculum.  Trevor Yoko, who headed up ACE with the Head Office in Durban, would fly up from Durban to meet with the pastors or principals of these schools on a quarterly basis. Since Trevor Yoko knew Pastor Deryck, and as Maranatha was close to the airport, he asked if he could make use of one of Maranatha’s venues to meet with the ACE schools’ pastors and principals.

It was after their June 1995 meeting and while having tea with Pastor Deryck before leaving for the airport to fly back to Durban, that Trevor Yoko broached the subject of Maranatha starting a church school.  At the time I was helping Maranatha with their administration on a voluntary basis. Pastor Deryck asked me to join them and I made brief notes of what would be required to start a school.

He also gave the contact details of Mr Allen Poulter, the administer of Alberton Christian Academy which was one of the bigger ACE schools at that time.  I then made an appointment with Allen Poulter and Pastor Deryck, Pastor Michael and I visited his school and obtained information to help us plan and start a church school. With all the required information, I then applied to the town planning department for permission to operate a school on the church premises and also applied to the then Transvaal Education Department to register a school to start on the 1 January 1996.

When reporting on progress at a pastoral meeting shortly thereafter, I discovered that Mrs. Athena Berry, wife of then Pastor Dan Berry, was a qualified teacher and had ACE teaching experience.  She was invited to come on board and assist with the planning and establishment of the school.

Mrs. Athena Berry, acted as Principal, Miss Brenda Kairus the Grade R teacher, Mrs. Brenda Meyer the Grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Wendy Thornton the Grade 2 and 3 teacher with Mrs. Rossana Geldenhuys, the monitor, and I doing the administration. Because of limited income, only the four teaching members received a very small salary, which barely covered their travel costs.  Pastor Deryck not only had a vision to start the school, but also became involved physically in helping with the making of the student offices (ACE designed student desks), painting classrooms and installing blackboards etc.

The school grew annually and switched over to the RNCS curriculum in 2004 and has recently transitioned to IEB and will write the first IEB examinations in 2021. Now, 25 years later, the school has grown to 770 pupils and 97 staff members. Surely this is confirmation of the fulfilment of Pastor Deryck’s vision and passion to start a Christian school.

This testifies to the fact that with Jesus, one man can make a difference.

Jack Olivier (retired)

Church & School Administrator