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Springs & Nigel

I spent my last few days in the Johannesburg area with Rev. Rodney Brits and his wife, Sonia. Rodney is a minister in the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa (UPCSA) and serves two congregations in small towns that are about 20 kilometers apart – St. David’s in Nigel and St. Michael’s in Springs. On Sunday I visited both congregations.

Worship with St. David's

St. David’s in Nigel was a small, mostly older congregation. We gathered together in the cozy sanctuary and I was welcomed so warmly. Although I only had a brief time with this community, I could sense the love and care they have for one another. At this church they also have simple housing for retired folks, which was a great idea. There were sweet one and two bedroom cottages for members of the church with beautiful gardens.

Worship with St. Michael's

From there we dashed back to St. Michael’s where they were having a special confirmation service. Four of their youth were being confirmed and I had the privilege of praying for each of them during the service. Springs is a bigger town than Nigel and that was reflected in the UPCSA congregation there. St. Michael’s is a very vibrant church and it was wonderful to be with them for such a special Sunday.

Confirmands at St. Michael's

After being in Johannesburg it was a change to be out in these smaller towns. They developed along the gold mining area and were primarily mining towns in their heyday. Now most of the mines have closed down and the towns are closing down as well. I was surprised about how similar these towns were to the towns in America that have fallen on hard times as well. Much of the population is older as the young people have mostly moved to cities or overseas to study and work.

One of the old mines, no longer working

I also had time to spend with Rodney, Sonia, and a few folks from their congregations. Rodney and I had good times to talk about the challenges and joys of ministry in this area and he even taught me about the sport cricket one evening. I also had a wonderful evening out with a couple from St. Michael’s, Caroline and Jimmy. Please pray for these communities, Springs and Nigel, for the UPCSA churches there, and Rev. Rodney Brits who serves them. 

A lovely evening with Jimmy and Caroline


Posted October 16, 2012

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