Rhema Ministeries South Africa

With the dedication of its new “super church” just north of Randpark Ridge, Randburg, this Sunday afternoon, Rhema Ministeries South Africa is bound to become even more controversial.

Controversy has surrounded the independent charismatic church and its charismatic leader, Pastor Ray McCauley since it moved into the 2 000-seater “warehouse” on Jan Smuts Avenue, near the Randburg town centre.

Now that the “warehouse” has been sold and McCauley is opening an R8, 5-million complex — complete with 5 000 seater “main church”, a 350-seater chapel to intimate ceremonies such as weddings, funerals and baptisms, a banquet hall that will seat 800, at administration centre, a fully equipped television production studio, a bookshop, a wholesale division and a 1 700-car parking lot — the controversy is unlikely to abate.

The church faced stiff competition from residents in the surrounding areas of the new complex when it applied for the rezoning of residential property. Said McCauley this week: “It was tremendous battle.” The battle, which started in 1982 was won last year when the Provincial Administration’s Township Board granted the rezoning.

McCauley believes the church will be an asset to the area. “No one had seen a church this size,” he said, pointing out that this was the reason for the opposition. “But it is not a monstrosity. It blends in well with the environment. “It’s a dream come true for thousands of us.”

The new complex, designed and decorated to give the best possible sound and lighting so as to enhance filming for the video tapes being sold by the church, had been made possible through donations from the 1 500 families of all races in the church which also boasts 1500 active workers and 90 full-time workers and counsellors, including 10 pastors, McCauley explained.

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