As the minister of Udny and Pitmedden Church, let me introduce myself.
I am the Reverend Gert Janse van Rensburg and I was born in 1968 (I know I don't look THAT old!) in Pretoria, South Africa, to Afrikaans farming
parents. Dad farmed dairy, sheep and maize. A carefree upbringing on an African farm shaped my life
with the farm animals and black worker's children as my playmates.
My journey with the Church started at an early age through my parents who were both very active in
the local Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika). From the farm we travelled
far distances on dirt roads by school bus to reach school and Church every Sunday in dad's car.
To this day I find it strange when people complain about travelling more than a mile to the local
Parish Church, we were used to 25 miles one way just to be at Church on a Sunday.
After grade 12 my journey took me to the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, the big city and capital
of South Africa. Here I studied an undergraduate BA degree and majored in Greek and Hebrew. After this
degree I entered the Dutch Reformed School of Theology at the same University and completed the
Baccalaureus in Divinity (Masters in Theology) in 1992 and was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church
of Africa in December 1992.
Rudely I was sent off to school
at the age of 6; me to the local white school in the nearest town of Bronkhosrtspruit and my playmates
to the local black school. This was my first introduction to the political system of Apartheid,
a military like political system introduced in South Africa in 1948 and which ended slowly from
the mid 1980's with our first free elections in 1994.
My first call in the Church came from a congregation in Klerksdorp, South Africa where I became the
full-time minister of word and sacrament and everything else you can think of. My second congregation
was in the rural Free State town of Frankfort for ten years.
After becoming uncomfortable with the Church's political views and discrimination towards many people
a colleague and I established the first inter-denominational, spiritual and welcoming Church in Pretoria in 2004. A church plant is not an easy endeavour, but the life lessons I have learned here is priceless. I ministered here for 8 years. Just after turning 40 I went on a spiritual journey walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2010. During this month of more than 800 km walking through southern France and northern Spain I met up with Canadians who told me about the welcoming United Church of Canada. Back home I immediately applied and joined the UCC in 2012 and served for 3 years in appointments in Vancouver, BC and Brantford, ON.
I returned to South-Africa due to family obligations after a devastating farm attack on my parents.
During this time back in SA I re-joined the Church we planted in Pretoria. From here while also
farming part-time my dad urged me to apply with the Church of Scotland just before he passed away
That was his last advice to me: You have to go to Scotland.
(Like a good son I listened, and here I am!)
My life and faith journey took me through many successes, failures, disappointments, tests and trials,
it brought deep spiritual growth, humility and a passion and love for truth, growth and awakening,
for which I am very thankful. I also did an MBA in 2003 at the University of Stellenbosch,
South Africa to try and balance my own financial books-not very successful yet though.
To equip myself better for the task of ministry I did numerous other courses of interest.
These courses included the angels, transactional analysis and therapy, neuro linguistic programming (nlp),
meta-physical science as well as consciousness and consciousness development studies.
I love sport and ran numerous marathons, played rugby and started triathlons in 2010.
I participated and completed 5 full Ironman competitions in South Africa (3.8km sea swim followed
by 180km cycling and 42.2km run to be completed within 17 hours.) It is brutal but life changing.
Keep your eyes on this space as the next Ironman is in April 2022.
When you see me around on my bike or running, do wave and say hello.
I am grateful for a challenging yet blessed life! I am looking forward to a prosperous time and
ministry at Udny and Pitmedden Parish Church. I invite every member, adherent, friend and interested
person to take hands and journey with us at UPPC: Let us build the Kingdom of God, here and now.
Rudely I was sent off to school at the age of 6; me to the local white school in the nearest town of Bronkhosrtspruit and my playmates to the local black school. This was my first introduction to the political system of Apartheid, a military like political system introduced in South Africa in 1948 and which ended slowly from the mid 1980's with our first free elections in 1994.