As yet another Friday night unveils itself in Central, Port Elizabeth, many young people flock to bars, night clubs and other places of entertainment in the area. But a certain group of young folk choose to walk a road less travelled.
Gateway News met up with these remarkable young Christians after they were “discovered” by a group of church leaders who were conducting an outreach to business owners the area. One evening the group from the Central Christian Churches Minister’s Fraternal were blessing bar, general store and restaurant owners in Parliament Street with homemade packets of fudge and biscuits bearing a label “Jesus loves you”, together with a Christian newspaper and a flyer with information about participating churches in Central.
Describing the surprise encounter with the young people, retired Anglican minister, Rev Lawrie Wilmot said: “Suddenly, as we walked past yet another alleyway, we heard young people singing praise songs. We walked cautiously in, and found ourselves in a really mod indoor church.”
The outreach group learned that they were witnessing a wonderful initiative that has quietly been making an impact in the streets of Central for the past 15 years. A group of young Christians, from different denominations, regularly sacrifice their Friday nights to praise and worship our Sovereign Lord. They call themselves the Central Christian Fellowship, and classify themselves as a Christian society and not a church.
Several times a week these young people study and share the Word of God with new and old believers and assemble on Friday nights to worship. Their singing is unaccompanied and sounds ever so beautiful.
On a Sunday each of the members returns to his or her own church, albeit Anglican, Methodist or Pentecostal. Regardless of denominational boundaries and differences, the society comes together in unity in the name the Lamb who died for all mankind.
Many of the members are students who fund the society by making monthly contributions towards the hiring of the venue and other expenses.
Situated directly opposite Liquid Lounge, a popular night club in Central, “the mission of this brave and praiseworthy initiative is to reach the unsaved in their environment” says committee member Sanaliswe Jikele.
The society has very humble, but inspirational beginnings. Two young men, after having read the Word of God in Nehemiah chapter 2, were inspired by Nehemiah’s mission to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. It was like an epiphany of God’s will that they also “rebuild the walls of Central”. Soon thereafter the society was established and it has been expanding and reaching more souls ever since.
“Our goal is to realign the inhabitants of Central to the calling of God and His divine purpose for each of their lives. We are a family and want to walk this exciting journey with you”, says Phila Ntleko Chairperson of the Central Christian Fellowship.
The society meets every Friday evening from 18h00 to 20h00 at ‘The Church’, a beautiful old building, right next to Spotted Cow, a trendy restrobar in Parliament Street. The society welcomes everyone, whether they are believers or not. More information can be obtained from Ntleko at 078 1973 113.