The story of Every Nation Church Grahamstown (formerly His People Church Grahamstown) began in 1988, when Paul and Jenny Daniel established His People Christian Church at the University of Cape Town. They had a passion for students and soon the local campuses were booming with young and energetic Christians. In mid-1992, Nigel and Debbie Desmond felt called by God to Grahamstown. Initially they planted a Bible School, and soon after that Sunday services began, almost accidentally. Nigel and Debbie faithfully laid foundations and pioneered the start of a spiritual family, and it grew to be a dynamic church that has had a great impact on Rhodes University and Grahamstown.
In June 2000 Gareth and Taryn Lowe took over as senior pastors, and Nigel and Debbie were released to go and pioneer a church plant in East London. In late 2007 the Lowes answered the call to plant a church in Berlin, and Tendai and Keryn Chitsike became the senior pastors of the church. Lester and Melissa Bhana served with them as the eldership team, until 2014 when they, with a team, also moved to plant a church – in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. The elders now consist of Tendai and Keryn Chitsike and Risuna Thabathi, who is also our current campus pastor.
While the name His People had faithfully served its family of churches in Southern Africa for many years, many of His People’s leaders decided it was time for a change that reflected our family’s core value and mission. His People had been part of the Every Nation family of churches for many years, believing in their call to “establish Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered, socially responsible churches and campus ministries in every nation.” With this call in mind, most His People churches changed their names to Every Nation in 2016 and 2017. His People Grahamstown happily changed its name to Every Nation on 19 February 2017.
But even though the name changed, the spirit of the church remained the same, and it can still be summarised in our key scripture: “The people who know their God shall be strong and do great exploits” (Daniel 11:32). We have released numerous leaders into this nation and beyond, as pastors, worship leaders and reformers, all from ‘little old Grahamstown’. Here at home, we continue to see waves of young leaders step into their destiny as fathers and mothers, teachers, businesspeople, campus missionaries, reformers and future church planters.
While we have always believed in the vital importance of reaching young people, especially on the university campus, this ministry has developed into a multi-generational and multi-racial church family, home to people of various ages and ethnic backgrounds. We continually desire to see the presence of God in our worship, the Spirit of truth in our preaching, an unashamed witness to our city, and loving relationships with each other. For the people who wonder what good can come out of Grahamstown, our past, present and future reply will be: ” …but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits!”