"Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni, has over the turbulent years of apartheid been a beacon of hope for many people," Bishop David Beetge said yesterday.
He was speaking during the parish's 50th anniversary and the blessing of a new building extension.
Before officially opening the new extension, Beetge, in typical Anglican tradition, used his pastoral staff to strike the door of the church three times.
"Lift up your hands, O you gates and be lifted up, you everlasting doors and the King of Glory shall come in."
Beetge, assisted by church member Siphiwe Buthelezi, then walked around the building sprinkling holy water on the church walls.
In his sermon Beetge, who was accompanied by his wife Carol, reminded the congregation that during the height of apartheid in the mid-1980s, as the incumbent priest at the time, his wardens and laity opened the church doors to local people harassed by the system.
He said that during those turbulent times the parish had remained resolute and steadfast in its service.
"For the time the parish has been here, we say thank you to God for all that has been achieved and for the faithfulness of the clergy and the laity of the church. Our work in the ministry is never done. Our work in the ministry is never over," Beetge said.
The bishop further called on the congregation not to be judgmental when dealing with people with HIV-Aids.
"Every one who dies of the epidemic is a child of God. They are not just numbers," Beetge said.
He said that in Ekurhuleni, the church had registered at least 10000 Aids orphans.
As part of the celebrations, Beetge blessed a new font and unveiled three plaques, with one dedicated to the late Father Simeon Nkoane.
The history of the parish dates back to 1957 when hundreds of people were forcefully removed from Apex shantytown by the apartheid government.
Later that year local resident Rex Mokgotsi was inspired to start the church.