A bird’s eye view

Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) as a denomination consists of ten (10) synods, of which nine are in South Africa and Namibia.

Although the Republic of Namibia was only founded in 1990, the DRC has been present in the territory since the late 19th century. The first work was founded on 6 August 1898 and was named Great Namaqua Land, done at Warmbad. This was a nomadic congregation and therefore not the traditional idea of a congregation with boundries, main seat, etc.

In 1902 a congregation was founded on 13 November at Gibeon in what was then known as German South West Africa. This congregation went on to be the Congregation Mariental which still exists to date.

From this kernel grew a church which, in the then South West Africa, became an independent church established as the Dutch Reformed Church in South West Africa on 5 March 1957 in Windhoek.

The borders of the ten churches / synods which constitutes the DRC closely resemble those of the various provinces of South Africa and Namibia. However the Northern Synod in South Africa includes Zambia, Zimbabwe, Katima Mulilo (Namibia) – which is in combination with Panda Matenga (Botswana) and the Afrikaans Congregation in London, UK.

Every synod has its own regional structure, with a head office situated in the main town/city of that province. Namibia’s office of synod is situated in the country’s capitol, Windhoek, at 46A Schanzen Road.

Every synod has full jurisdiction over its own affairs.

In total there are 1117 (2019) congregations, geographically organized in 136 (2019) presbyteries (circuits).

Total membership is 880,439 (2019).

At local level (congregation) the church council, with the local pastors (there are 3,780 positions for ordained ministers in the DRC (2019), are responsible for pastoral care and ministry.

Namibia has 44 congregations with positions for about 50 pastors.

Synod meets every four years

Although the church is predominantly Afrikaans-speaking, it is not exclusively so. Throughout Namibia there are ministries utilizing the Otjiherero and different SAN-languages. Windhoek has a well organized English ministry which is run under die auspices of the Windhoek congregation.

Due to historical and practical reasons, the Katima Mulilo congregation in the Zambezi Region, falls under the Northern Synod of South Africa.

The Dutch Reformed Church in Namibia is committed to her calling in Namibia.

By means of a registered umbrella Welfare Organization, Ecumenical Social Services or EcSOS in short, the DRCN endeavors to participate in finding solutions together with its partners in EcSos, with regard to the many socioeconomic challenges which face the country. Eight independent social welfare, intervention and service programmes are associated with the DRCN and is subsidised by synod and supported by individual congregation.  These include an intervention programme for troubled teenagers, a Children’s Home with the social work component of family social work attached to it, social services in Erongo region, three homes for the elderly, a development and training programme in the northeast of the country and a missions and community development programme in the northwest.

Please contact the Office of Synod for more information regarding the DRCN at telephone + 264 61 374350. Or contact the general secretary, Rev Thijs van der Merwe at [email protected].