Joy to the Nations was birthed in 1979 with the purpose of being a bridge between a white middle class suburb and a poor African township. The building was literally built between the two with a road on either side of these two communities. At that time the Church was called Walmer Christian Outreach and was led by Syd and Bev Rothman. Going out to preach the gospel was a strong emphasis with many people coming to know Jesus through this work. The church grew to a healthy size with some key couples being planted out to lead their own churches. Kieran & Glenda McLean; Basson & Tanya Nel; Kevin Smith; Adrian & Heidi Vermaak being some of those couples who were planted out.


After meeting in many different venues, Walmer Christian Outreach finally had its own “home”. Members of the church (along with sub-contractors) spent many hours, particularly over the weekends, to dig foundations, build walls, erect roof trusses, install plumbing and electrical work to build the hall which now stands at the corner of 9th Avenue & Villiers Road.

2000 - A PROPHETIC WORD FROM Val McClelland

The Lord just said to me to tell you that you are not insignificant. The Lord says that you’re going to have a significant place on the map, significance on the map. The Lord just said to tell you this as well. When I arrived and got out of the car, now I have to give an account of every word I am speaking for the Lord. The Lord showed me that God is going to raise up and give you an inroad into the African communities in the area, in the surrounding places. God is going to raise up an African eldership. African eldership. He is going to raise them up from young. A people that are ready, a people that are hungry. God is going to destroy the curse of Ham upon the African nation and He is going to give them the blessing of Abraham.


For various reasons, in 2003, Syd and Bev decided that after 20 years of faithful ministry to hand over the church to Brendan and Tash Lock who came from the Church of the Good Shepherd in Durban. For the majority of our church’s history, we never really saw any reality to the prophetic word above or our church fulfilling its unique purpose. The church lost many members, finances dwindled and we began to experience many break-ins of our property. There were often multiple break-ins over the weekend resulting in the church being vandalised and the theft of music equipment, money and furniture. Many of us had even given up on God’s plans being realised within our life time.


In the kindness and providence of God, we suddenly started to see people added to our church in larger numbers.
Simultaneously we saw large numbers of people from the Township join our church including Xhosa, Zimbabweans, Malawians and people from other nations.


Our church has had a mixed history, both successes and failures but she is a church who knows how to persevere. She knows how to stand firm under pressure and above all, our church loves to get on with the work of taking the gospel to our city and beyond. The story of our church is important for you to know because it paints a picture of who God is, His character and our role in His wonderful purposes. Firstly, it was His desire that we would be a church that reflects all nations coming together as one family. We believe that the church is a living signboard to the goodness of God. The fact that our church reflects rich and poor, black and white, educated and uneducated is not so much a strategy or cause of the church. Rather it is a natural result of the gospel changing our lives. We believe that the essence of our faith is that through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted into the family of God. We have a loving Father who through Jesus Christ, invites us into an everlasting friendship with Him. Thus our church is simply a living witness, a multi coloured billboard that God breaks down the barriers that separate and forms a new community not based on performance or race or wealth but upon faith in Jesus Christ.