Saturday, 31 March 2018

Alpha to Omega - the story told in a Karoo church


The Karoo region where my Dad lives in South Africa is a vast space with dramatic hills, huge plains & arid towns. My five times great grandfather was born close by in 1810 - we have come full circle.

The Karoo town of Aberdeen has an iconic church in the centre of it - the tall steeple can be seen for miles around. The NG Kerk - Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk / NG Church. It has the tallest clock tower in South Africa at 60 m tall. The church was completed in 1907 in the Cape Gothic style. The stunning white washed church is a local landmark. This is a side view with the oldest part in the centre.

On previous visits to the town, I read about the church panels but it was only a chance meeting with a church member Eward while out walking, that we got a tour of the church hall / kerksaal with the panels.

The panels are described as such:

  • Enjoy the twenty biblical scenes in the Dutch Reformed Church hall of Aberdeen which was created by 6 locals of the town. The beautiful panels were created by combining textiles, lambs wool and home-made glue and pasted onto a background of hessian and hung against the walls to improve the poor acoustics.

Eward was absolutely brilliant at explaining the processes & allowed us to take our time to appreciate it all.

The church wanted to mark the Millennium with something special so the whole congregation decided on sewn panels that tell the story of the Bible from Alpha to Omega. It was a huge effort with everyone called on to donate fabric, leather, jewellery, painting skills, sheep skins etc to be used in the panels.

These are the images I took of the panels & it is appropriate to share them at Easter. They were all hand sewn & unveiled on the last night of 1999 when all the town gathered together to see in 2000

Alpha to Omega - the beginning to the end ...

The Karoo is known for their sheep & a local farmer donated this wool ...

A nod to the Karoo - guinea fowl of iconic but did you notice the little mistake? Perhaps they stood in the queue for the ark for a long time ... tell me if you notice the fault!

Fabrics were donated - often from people's own clothes when the call went out for striped, shiny, gold, silver fabrics etc

The 10 commandments - apparently the names of the sewers are in code in the tablets ...

The details are really stunning up close - each ear of corn hand crafted & hand sewn ...

The details are so beautiful - the purples donated from a coat, the trim from homewares ...

The ring & jewellery donated by parishioners ..

Difficult to photograph above the doors - a large panel with stunning details again

So well done - really talented local ladies ...

How lovely is this familiar story panel?

More details from gifted items which add the right details to the panels

A gifted brooch & necklace complete this panel ...

A difficult panel to photograph above a door with light streaming through ...

Beautiful work with clear fabrics hand coloured & sewn over for the dramatic lighting ...

The attention to detail makes the panels so eye catching ...

Vader - Father ...

The second coming depicted - the cars in the showroom made from x-rays over images, cloth for the clothes donated by people in the town.

The hall to show the panels which cover all the walls - huge panels, sewn with love from fabrics donated by everyone in the town.

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to some original panels with me as we celebrate Easter.
Dee ~💕~


  1. Beautifully done. The only mistake I found was a ram with one horn.Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hiya Monica - thank you for taking the time to visit & comment ... I missed the one horned ram. Noah was meant to take in 2 of each animal yet 4 guinea fowl appeared :)

  2. Those are absolutely magnificent!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing, and yes...I missed the ram but caught the guineas. They don't EVER do what they are supposed to ;^)

    1. They certainly are a joy to behold Jaybird - I love seeing talent used to benefit others. Blessings D


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