Our Response to the Woolworths Pride Month Campaign

The Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa holds to a Christian worldview which asserts that every person has the right to choose their beliefs and practices without prejudice and affirms that everyone, regardless of race, religion, age, or gender, is entitled to dignity and respect as people created in the image of God. However, we are cognisant of the fact that we live in a secular state that rightly allows for freedom of religion, expression and association.

In this context, we note Woolworths’ recent initiative to promote what is known as Pride Month through an advertising campaign and clothing line promotion. We understand it is part of a broader “Inclusive Justice Initiative” and there is commitment to do similar campaigns in relation to opposing gender-based violence and youth day. Given our country’s shameful record on race, gender-based violence and a host of other social justice issues, we would commend all efforts to redress these most damaging social-ills.

In our view, however, LGBTQI+ issues do not fall within the same category for various reasons. As a Church, we have serious concerns about aspects of this movement and the damaging impact these beliefs and practices may have on society, given that its foundational ideologies are contrary to Scripture. This, in our view, adversely impacts all people, particularly younger people, who are struggling to find their own identity in a complicated world. That said, as a Christian community, we are called to love our neighbours and as such, we oppose homophobia in all its forms.

While we acknowledge Woolworths support of social justice projects, its contributions to feeding schemes, other inclusive justice initiative and corporate social responsibility initiatives, we believe that the placing of the “Be An Ally” banners at entrances or walkways of Woolworths stores may create a crisis of conscience for those who do not wish to acknowledge some or all of the beliefs and ideologies represented in the ever expanding LGBTQIA+ banner.

It may create a difficulty for Christians and people of other faiths who hold to the Biblical definition of a two-gender creation and God’s design for sexual relationships to be preserved for the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman. Woolworths Pride Month campaign, in our view, seeks to assert that individuals who enter their stores and purchase their products are "allied" to and support LGBTQI+ ideology.

As a Church, we cannot 'ally' with or support an ideology or belief that is contrary to the Scriptures. It is for this reason that we understand and support the call by many religious groups to boycott Woolworths stores for the month of June.

We also encourage all followers of Christ to reflect their saviour in showing kindness and grace to all people, including those we disagree with. The only “protest banner” we hold out is the Bible’s message of Christ’s love and acceptance for all who turn from sin and trust in His saving work on the Cross.

If you would like to download a pdf of this statement then please click here.

Eulogy for Bishop Joe Bell

Eulogy for Joe Bell

‘As a Dying Man to Dying Men:’ Eulogy for Joe Bell


‘And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. ‘Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them’ (Rev 14:13).

Eulogies are generally relatively short, so I trust I will be forgiven by sharing somewhat broadly regarding the departure of our beloved brother and Bishop, Joe Bell.

Like all of you I was greatly saddened to hear that Joe Bell had gone to the Lord after a life dedicated in its entirety to the Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Gospel. As his curate (1991) and then subsequently enjoying him as my mentor for more than two decades I felt that I should try my hand in writing what in some senses, is an impossible task, an obituary for Joe. Joe is not necessarily easily to write about as he was often such a multi-dimensional and occasionally taciturn individual. Indeed, if I am utterly honest - for those of us as his young curates, he was mostly intimidating man, with eyes like gimlets! The latter point, I suspect applied mostly to his various curates such as myself, Tom Robson, Peter Wessels and a host of others. And yet all of this often hid a marvelous sense of humour!

I have wonderful and occasionally challenging memories of my time with Joe in Pinetown in the early 90s:

1). ‘What humility really looks like.’ Joe was without question one of the most humble men I have ever met, but despite this as such a strong leader he always made it very clear at any particular time precisely want he wanted and when - indeed right up until the last few services he ran, literally days before he was welcomed into heaven - at his retirement village in Simons Town - he was still arranging the order of service for the Easter Weekend: who should preach, who would lead the service and so on (this incredible story was told to me by Bishop Frank Retief Himself). But despite this, Joe’s humility always became pretty obvious once you go to know him!

2). ‘Mark just shut up and listen…say nothing.’ Joe had his own unique way of training curates. Because I was a bit arrogant and a somewhat of a hot-head as a third year student at the George Whitefield College – my lecturer, another great leader and treasure we recently lost to the Lord, Dr John Newby (who knew me well) – offered me some good advice just before I joined the Pinetown Church staff: ‘Mark, just shut up and say nothing, just listen and learn…’  Of course, I did not follow the good advice John offered me and very soon I was offering Joe my own opinions on the salient points of running a church after no experience! Even the normally, relatively loquacious John Child (a wiser man than myself) had the patience to listen and to keep his insights to himself at such meetings. I should have taken this as a sign! I remember Joe very graciously and quickly putting me in my place! And yet within a day or two the incident was completely forgotten.

As curate you also learned a great deal about manual labour at Pinetown: Joe would often say to me: ‘Pack out the chairs for the men’s meeting to be held in the hall on Saturday morning.’ No problem. But then it turned out to be 500 chairs. When it came to training up curates, Joe was definitely ‘Old School.’


3) ‘I would have thought…’ As part and parcel of Joe’s unique means of motivating his curates, was the unforgettable phrase: ‘I would have thought.’ Yet once you actually got to know what ‘I would have thought,’ actually meant in Joe-Bell parlance, it took on a whole new dimension to you and could, potentially, impact your career as a curate. Staff meetings were on Monday mornings. Here Joe would occasionally present his own form of an ‘stipulation’ or an ‘directive’ by simply stating ‘I would have thought…’ Fool as I was, for the first month or two of my tenure at Pinetown, I took this as an invitation for us all to enjoy a long, dawn-out theological discussion on whatever topic was at hand (such as William Ockham on the Lord’s Supper). Thus, earlier on during such occasions, when Joe proffered: ‘I would have thought…’ I would, indeed, happily offer him ‘what I thought…’ (perhaps the problematic view of Barth’s doctrine of election after 1932). But after one or two such ‘counter’ suggestions, I soon learned that this was not precisely what Joe meant; when he stated, ‘I would have thought.’ It rather meant something like: ‘Get on with it!’ Having learned my lesson, again I soon joined the silence of Reg and John Child.              

4). ‘Motivating people.’ There are thousands of books out there on how to motivate people in the ministry and I have read a couple myself. It certainly appears to be an exceptionally valuable and much needed gift for ministry work. After all, when you are dealing mostly with volunteers, motivating people is not always easy, it can become a challenge. But not for Joe.

Joe enjoyed so much love and respect from his people and possessed so much innate leadership ability to motivate others, it was incredible to view this trait in action in his ministry. On one occasion, I remember Christ Church Pinetown purchasing a derelict nearby house in order to turn it into a functioning building with offices and a bookshop. It seemed like an impossible task. The house was a wreck. Obviously it would require an enormous, almost impossible amount of work to refurbish it! This would include carpenters, electrical work, plumbing, plasterers, painters - the list goes on forever. All church members skilled in these skills were contacted by Joe’s secretary quite late in the preceding week and were invited to report to the grounds of the ‘new-old’ house on Saturday morning. By the time Saturday morning arrived, to my amazement there they appeared, more than 80 folk, all reporting for duty at 09:00am!


5). ‘Keeping your bathroom clean.’  I have all kinds of special memories of Joe, and, as I said to Bishop Frank the other day, in many ways its only now, after almost 40 years of being in ministry myself that I feel that I am truly qualified to become Joe’s curate as only after my own extended experience would I really learn from Joe and miss much less of what had to offer.

One of the most endearing experiences that I have of Joe stems back to around 07:30am one Sunday in 1991 when as curate I arrived at Christ Church Pinetown to open the Church (the church key ring had a diameter of around 30 cm with at least 60 keys – all had to be used each time the church was opened and closed – this took around an hour; it taught me a great deal about patience). Everything was dead quiet as no one had arrived – or so I thought. But to my amazement the bathroom door was open and there, at my feet on his knees on the floor was Joe Bell kneeling in full bishop’s ‘regalia’ complete with collar and purple shirt, cleaning the floor! In response to my look of amazement he insisted that part of our service to God was not merely preaching but also assuring that all things we pursue we should do so with excellence. Everything worth doing was worth doing well. He then gathered up his jacket and left.


6). Preaching, focus, will and drive. Speaking of my own ministry as an individual over a fairly lengthy career, over time I began to realise that although ministry gifts will always remain of paramount importance, nevertheless never wandering from personal focus on Jesus or the Gospel drive itself is of equal if not of greater importance. This is very much illustrated when we reflect on the ministry drop-out rate from our ranks over the years. Joe never lost that drive!

Joe’ preaching was similar to that of Frank Retief and this is understandable, bearing in mind  the fact that that they both attended the Bible Institute and have been close friends ever since. In fact, whilst it is hard to believe that they were allegedly the most mischievous students at the Institute, nevertheless for the last 50 years they have both subsequently been gripped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ like none other preacher of my experience. Certainly, we have all heard outstanding preachers ourselves and obviously I cannot claim to have heard them all. I’m also sure we are all gripped by the Gospel but in my own experience every moment of Joe’s existence, day or night, was occupied by the conviction of the fields being white for harvest (John 4:35) and the need to tell people about Jesus. It’s not as if Joe’s life was one in which followed the Gospel, rather it was driven by the Gospel, even consumed by it. In this sense it might be said that his life was quite ‘black-and-white;’ the world was composed of those who know Jesus and those we have to reach who do not. This was certainly reflected in his incredibly powerful preaching. I remember the first time I heard Joe preach, 40 years ago and its power and conviction and urgency remain with me today.

As his curate on one occasion at Pinetown after I had preached a rather inadequate Gospel message, Joe offered feedback. Instead of referring me to my ‘structural inadequacies’ or a ‘lack of projection’ Joe’s feedback was: ‘Never lose your passion for the Gospel and the lost.’ I have never forgotten that mandate.

Moreover, to this day all those who preach at Christ Church Pinetown, look down and see etched into the wooden pulpit itself the saying: ‘As a dying man to dying men.’ I’m sure that adage stands there today as it should. In a nutshell it also perfectly sums up Joe’s true life and ministry. ‘Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain’ (1 Cor 15: 58).

Indeed, over the decades, it was this incredible Gospel drive that was partly responsible for the growth of many of our REACH SA churches in the KZN Province. I remember it also being reflected in the ministry of Hamilton Buthelezi who was running our nearby Claremont Church in Pinetown (we shared the same office).


7). Light-hearted moments at Pinetown. As mentioned, unless you got to know Joe you could easily miss his sense of humour, as much of the time he would joke but with a very straight face and this tendency occasionally would overflow into his services at Pinetown. Joe loved clowning around. For example, those involved in leading the service would enter the vestry door right at the front of the church onto the stage and be seated behind the service leader who stood in front of those seated, behind the pulpit. On one occasion the assistant rector, Reg Courtney (who had no idea of what was going on behind him) was in the middle of leading the service, when Joe silently suddenly entered through the door fully dressed in a ‘Bobby’s uniform (British policeman’s uniform with the large, ‘high hat’ and the obligatory handcuffs and ‘night -stick’). He gestured the congregation to remain silent. Well, needless to say, once Joe finally decided to ‘arrest Reg’ the extent of the congregational hysterical laughter which followed was such, that it took half of the rest of the service to get things back under control.


And yet Joe could also manifest almost endless patience. Almost every Sunday morning after the later, second service, like clockwork, an elderly lady in her late 80’s or early 90’s would with a small victorious flourish present to Joe a multi-page document - immaculately written in ancient blue writing paper with a fountainpen in careful point-by-point form, upon which all the ‘problems’ of the church and those of the morning’s sermon were carefully written. Joe always accepted this anticipated missive with a smile.


8). Legacy. A few pages of course, will hardly succeed in exhaustively mapping out the life of a multi-faceted man like Joe Bell. For example, I have not mentioned anything about his love for sport, his love for his children, the sea and for boating and so on. I fondly recall him walking on the beach at Scarborough with his faithful dog of many years and preaching at his Scarborough church which he planted, and which continues to meet to this day. It was simply impossible for him to retire!

Just as important is the need to make an important mention of his wonderful, God-given faithful wives, Christine (who sadly also passed away some years ago) and Lynette. Shortly before he went to be with the Lord, Joe himself stipulated to Bishop Retief that Lynette’s indispensable and indescribable contribution to his care and well-being (whilst he was both well and ailing) should be remembered. A similar description can be made of Christine, whom I had the opportunity to get to know whilst serving at Pinetown.          


However, as I prepared to write this legacy note for Joe’s memory, the thought also occurred to me that institutional memory within itself is a priceless commodity, contributing to the longevity of any organization, one which we should always cherish and never neglect, certainly if there is to remain unity in our churches and our theological identity. As Scripture teaches: ‘So teach us to number our days what we may get a heart of wisdom’ (Ps 90:12).


Scripture reminds us: ‘Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like precious oil on the head, running down on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes’ (Ps 135:2).


Thus, as REACH SA we should always remember the contributions of those faithful men and women, from all races and nations, whether those who remain with us today as well as those who have gone to be with the Lord. These are the Gospel soldiers on whose shoulders we stand, without whom we would not exist in the expanded state that we enjoy today, compared to, say, 1989 or even 1938.

Moreover, as we remember our colleagues over the years, colleagues to whom we remain indebted today, we should also acknowledge that each were products of their own time and this fact is inevitably reflected in their own ministry models (I remember the heated debates at Synods in the 1980’s!). Yet it also occurred to me that as much as our individual perspectives occasionally differ as individuals, we have so much more in common: The Gospel itself! 

Some of the names of these ‘soldiers’ for Christ (in no particular order of merit) appear below. Of course, these names also reflect my own ignorance I therefore apologise in advance for those whose names who should have appeared below but do not. Here, an apology is in order. One obvious example of this are the countless women, as we all know, who have stood alongside their husbands (or working alone) in any successful ministry team running our churches. The same point can be made regarding our ‘laymen;’ although this is often an unhelpful, unnecessary term, many names of our committed ‘laity’ should also appear on this list:

I recall Tony Ive and his immaculate English (and his passion for Anglicanism and his EFAC reports at Synod).

I also thank God for my own friendships and acquaintances over the years with folk such as Elias Majozi, Goodenough Mtembu.

Then we recall Laura Haas and her outstanding work amongst the poor. We should also consider Leon and Maggie Odendaal, together with Alan Willemburg, Peter Flagg, and Jan Van Beverdonker (who collectively built up many of our Western Cape Churches churches).

We also thank God for church planters like Rev, Dave Rhategan, who was tireless in his enthusiasm for growing the gospel.

Our faithful Bishops who have now gone to glory, Peter Chamane, Jeremiah Ngubane, Desmond Douglas, Peter Kalangula (Namibia), Edwin Ngubane.  I could also mention dozens but will highlight just a few names of faithful pastors who ministered in difficult circumstances in our sadly segregated society. Rev Shadrack Papane, Xmas Hadebe and Jeremiah Zondi.

Looking northwards, we are grateful for the ongoing ministries of Peter Moore, and Matthew Stubbs who, together with Cynthia and Chippie Brand, spent years assisting Martin building up the Midrand church and other works further afield. Martin also helped found Love Trust and the Gospel Coalition Africa as well as the planting of more than one Christian school.

Together with Joe and Christine in KZN, Bishop Frank Retief and his wife Beulah (in Cape Town) in God’s providence built, up their work in a virtually unprecedented manner with almost countless conversions. At this point we should also recall all our presiding bishops, leaders who, over the years have also invested unparalleled energy in growing our denomination: Bishops Morris, Bradley, Foord, Bell, Retief, Inglesby, and Lyons.

Brian Cameron and Alan Beckman perhaps remain to this day the most knowledgeable individuals regarding the details of our denomination’s history. Noel and Pat Wright were also, for many years, repositories of enormous amounts of information.

Mervyn Eloff, who like none other, continues with the Simeon Trust to perpetually motivate REACH SA to remain grounded in the exposition of the Word and the Word of the Gospel alone.

We remember past brothers such as Neil Hurworth and Herbert Hammond who guided and defended the denomination’s interests through turbulent times.

Then we have the many other brothers and sisters such as Alan Hodson and Billy Nield who have worked tirelessly, investing an enormous number of resources in sustaining our church’s needs (the list is almost endless). We can also look back many years to Roger Palmer and the establishment of his campus ministry.

Moreover we also owe a great debt to our friends overseas such as those of the Langham Partnership, Dick Lucas, Melvin Tinker, Richard Coekin, Dick Lucas, Dudley Foord, John Chapman, David Jackman, David Streeter, our brothers and sisters of the Proclamation Trust, the Gospel Partner’s Trust, William Taylor, our colleagues at Crosslinks, the Church Mission Society, and the ‘Friends of the GWC,’ other friends from both the United Kingdom and Australia - here we think of the friendship of Moore College, Mark Thompson, the Jensen brothers, Stuart Brooking and ‘Local leaders International’ and many others. Again, the list goes on.

At GWC we have our own very own entrepreneur, Neville Carrington who, with his Explore colleagues, has also spent much of the last three years flying around Africa supporting and developing the Explore Correspondence Course throughout the continent. I suspect that, Neville has spent more time this year alone visiting various countries in Africa than actually living in South Africa itself. There are approximately 1500 Explore graduates currently labouring in Africa alone.

And can we forget our many other colleagues and supporters (past and present) who worked faithfully for over 30 years to turn the George Whitefield College from a small training institution (1989) serving our own denomination (in those days ‘The Church of England in South Africa’) to an international educational powerhouse, educating hundreds of students from all over Africa and the world? Today 40% of our student body is comprised of individuals from Africa and other countries. Despite the terrible political unrest in the country – and what must have appeared at that time to be the worst possible moment to plant a theological college - Dr. Broughton Knox arrived to establish the GWC. He was soon joined by Dr. John Newby as the first faculty. Dr. Knox was then replaced by the unique and irrepressible Dr. Seccombe. The all-important work of the College currently continues under the guidance of Rev. Dr. Mark Dickson, its current Principal.

For those who have gone ahead of us, we give grateful thanks to our God for these servants who fought the good fight and finished the race.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them’ – Robert Laurence Binyon 1869-1943).


A Prayer for those who Doubt

Most merciful God, we pray
for those who doubt your love;
for those who find it difficult to believe or to pray;
for those who have lost a faith they once possessed.
May the Holy Spirit enlighten their minds
and lead them into all truth,
through Jesus Christ out Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for People in Need

Almighty God, Lord of life and vanquisher of death, we praise you for the sure and certain hope of eternal life which you have given us in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and we pray that all who mourn the loss of those dear to them may enter into his victory and know his peace; for his name's sake. Amen.

Death Notice and Tribute - Rev Albino Adriano

It was reported that the Reverend Adriano Albino has returned to the Lord, on Monday 25th May 2021 at Oshakati State Hospital. 

The Reverend Albino was a close hand man of the Right Reverend Peter T Kalangula before he was ordained. He became one of the founding members of the Church of England in Namibia in 1969. While serving under Bishop Kalangula, he became a Lay Catechist and preacher in Christ Church Ondangwa and subsequently a Presbyter.

Born in Anglola, Tate Albino immigrated into Johni (South West Africa) Namibia in the late 1950 or early 1960s. From the Evangelical Synod in Angola (IESA) that he was, he became an Anglican during the ministry of Rev, later Bishop Peter Kalangula. Tate Albino has been skillful in handiwork such as construction and building so, together with some others, he volunteered to work in the construction of the current church building, Christ Church at Ondangwa which was completed and dedicated for its work to the glory of God by Bishop Stephen Bradley June 1983

Along Victor Weyulu, Elifas Kanime, and George Hikumuwah; he was prepared for ordained ministry by Bishop Stephen Bradley and Bishop Dudley Ford. They were ordained in the mid-1980s. After his ordination, he continued to serve at Christ Church-Ondangwa, under Bishop Kalangula. He was later transferred to St John’s Church, at Oshuushe where he ministered till his retirement and even post retirement. He established an outstation at Onanime near by his house.  

He was very humble and gentle in his approach and he loved the Lord and his church. 

I hereby designate Reverend Josia Kuduva of Ondangwa to be a liaison between family and the church in terms of funeral arrangements. Plans for memorial and funerals programs are underway and will be announced in due course. 

His dear wife died earlier and he remarried. Therefore leaves behind his wife and children.

We thank God for his faithfulness and for using people like Rev Albino to build his church and gospel ministry in Namibia

Issued by Bishop Lukas Katenda

Tribute to The Rev. Dr. John Newby

John Newby has left an indelible imprint on the lives of many people through the years because he loved the Lord Jesus and desired to be of use to the Lord he dearly loved. Even in his retirement years, he longed to be useful in the Lord’s service, as much as his health permitted.

The legacy he leaves behind is the role he played in teaching, equipping and mentoring those preparing for and in Christian service. I consider myself immensely privileged to have been numbered among John’s close friends, grateful for the role he played in my life as one of my life’s mentors over the past nearly 35 years. He was always willing to share his insights on life’s experiences, joys and sorrows – with which he was well acquainted, as well as his vast experience in pastoral ministry. He was affectionately called “Doc” by his students, yet also known as “Dr. Snuggles” to many close to him.

John was a wonderful scholar, decorated with a doctorate, and a keen desire for more, in the field of church history. He was well respected in his field by fellow scholars too. He was an expert of the life of the yesteryear Bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle. Yet despite his brilliance, he engaged the ordinary person, expounding God’s word whenever he had opportunity to do so. He was a truly gifted preacher, communicating God’s word understandably for his hearers. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to John’s preaching, learning much from his keen insights. As a Yorkshire man, suitably dressed in collar and tie, he had an excellent command of the English language, using words often that had many of us consulting a dictionary. And his preaching and teaching had his trademark alliteration.

He had a quest for knowledge with a remarkable memory, and never stopped learning as he read to develop his relationship with the Lord Jesus, his Saviour, to enrich his devotional life and ministry. John was always up for a chat and was a fount of great biblical insights; his theological insights, for which many consulted with him, will be sorely missed.

John joined CESA (Church of England in South Africa) because of his reformed biblical convictions and was incredibly loyal to this denomination. Under God, he planted two churches; the first was St Matthew’s Church in Leondale, Germiston in the then Transvaal, and the second while serving as Rector at Christ Church in Hillcrest in KZN where he planted Christ Church Waterfall. I was privileged to be the first pastor of this church plant. From Hillcrest he was whisked away to serve as the Dean of students at Bible Institute (BI), to coach (CESA now REACH SA [Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church]) at George Whitefield House which eventually became CESA’s Bible College, now known as George Whitefield College (GWC), where he became Vice Principal before his retirement. He was greatly loved by his students and made his subject, Church History, come alive.

There are a few things that stand out especially that characterized John:

His pastoral heart

John always brought comfort and consolation whenever it was needed. In this regard, I benefitted immensely through many extended conversations to seek out his wisdom in pastoral matters. And whenever he had to be firm, telling a few necessary home truths, he’d be apologetic afterwards for causing any hurt, if he was too harsh. He was gracious and gentle.

His insights and understanding of the Scriptures

He would expound God’s word clearly. He had reservoirs of knowledge and acted as a trustworthy sounding board, sharing his vast experience.

His vulnerability and authenticity

John never hid his struggles; he never pretended or hid behind a façade. He showed the immense value of vulnerability, almost to a fault, which was a massive strength, worthy of imitation. John taught me to be real in a world littered with fakes. He gave me courage to face life’s brokenness and personal struggles by God’s grace. He willingly shared his heart in personal vulnerability and never covered up or masked things to make him look better or superior. He taught me to live with integrity before God in transparency and trusted God through each struggle in this imperfect world. He was a fellow struggler. He was an authentic person.

His caring nature

John really cared and this showed in so many ways. I was privileged, among many, to be a beneficiary of John’s love and godly guidance.

His sense of humour

John was sharp witted and had a keen sense of humour that kept us entertained. In his latter year when asked how he was health-wise, he gave an “organ recital”, explaining what organ in his body didn’t work as well as it ought anymore.

John loved his wife, Megan, as well as his children, David and Linda and their respective spouses, and was a proud grandfather of his grandchildren. Just a bit of interesting trivia about John: he never drove a car so relied on his wife, Megan, to be his taxi unless he could persuade one of us to drive him; for reward it was a Spur breakfast at his expense. He also was well-known for his lack of handyman skills but made up for it by his marvellous intellect from which many of us benefitted immensely.

John touched many lives who benefited from his godly example, his teaching and preaching ministry over the many years.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing”

(2 Timothy 4:7-8 [New King James Version]).

He is now at home with his Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he loved and served faithfully. We give God thanks for the life of John Newby.


Written by Rev. Wayne Barkhuizen

John Newby - A Tribute from GWC

In the providence of God, as I look back over John Newby’s (‘Doc’ to his students who loved and him) incredibly important and meaningful life, I am reminded of a brief conversation I had with him as a student, some 25 years ago, wherein I suggested God had not called him to be a bishop because He had bigger ideas: The singular call to influence generations of future Bible teachers and bishops! 

Moreover, as I look back on my first meeting with John when I joined the Bible Institute student body as a first year student in 1987, I am also reminded of the Apostle Paul’s insight in Acts 17:26 - to the effect that God has allotted both the precise times and places when and where we live in history. Thus no meetings, no relationships are coincidental. Certainly in my case, some 30 years later as I write this, I can testify to John’s profound impact on my own training for ministry and spiritual growth, as much as I can to his influence in the lives of others. 

He was a man of many facets. 

Firstly – and even all these years later – I can remember his incredible gifts: his vivid lectures, his teaching and dynamic preaching. As an example, I recall his ground-breaking sermon on Psalm 90, delivered to the REACH SA leadership around 25 years ago on Psalm 90, in which he urged us to ‘number’ the days of our lives with soberness and Godly wisdom and prayer. Certainly he practiced what he preached. He was capable of lecturing on a broad range of subjects, whether ethics, church history, philosophy or Biblical studies. Incredibly, on one occasion he assisted my class in recalling the first three chapters of Romans by citing them by memory. 

Then (how can we forget?) there was his incredible skill (and love for) alliteration and the ‘three point sermon’ or lecture! Employing alliteration at every point, his class notes were immaculate; as his students we were constantly amazed at his ability to locate and connect similar sounding words both in sermon and lecture. And I still remember the detailed feedback he gave me when he returned my marked work. 

Furthermore, there was his irreplaceable and unique ‘dry’ sense of humour and his quick wittedness. Sometimes he would deliberately inject a moment of levity or include a subtle joke in his lectures in order to gauge whether or not we were ‘awake.’ Normally, those mischievous eyes, twinkling behind his glasses gave the game away! A year ago when I ran into him I asked how he was doing. ‘Old!’ he replied. His humour was undiminished with age and despite his adversities. 

Then there were his clandestine forays (without Megan’s knowledge) between classes at the Bible Institute, to the local Fish Hoek Spur restaurant for cheese cake (John’s favourite). Megan had very specific rules regarding the imposition of certain limitations on John indulging his sweet tooth, so these trips had to be made secretly. On more than one occasion I would drive him through to the Spur in my shining red beach buggy. Surreptitious indeed!        

He and Megan loved their students, regularly meeting with them in their home. John cared about their welfare: I know for a fact that on more than one occasion, he would quietly support students who had fallen on hard financial times, out of his own pocket. He also kept in touch with students who had graduated from college and had entered the ministry; maintaining many deep relationships with them for years to come.     

But of most importance, was his simple but profound love for Jesus, the Gospel and the Bible. Students were often witnesses to the tears in John’s eyes when he preached and spoke about the Lord’s love and the Gospel’s power.  

As we seek to honour and uphold his legacy, and as we prepare to also stand before the Lord ourselves, may those deep words from Psalm 90 continue to motivate and drive our lives: 

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).  

He will be remembered. 

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).

Written by Rev. Dr. Mark Norman 

New Archbishop of Sydney

REACH - South Africa congratulates Kanishka Raffel on his election as the new Archbishop of Sydney.  We praise God for confirming His will through such a decisive and unified election process.  We thank our Lord for the ongoing partnership between our churches and trust that the Lord will continue to build His Church through the faithful leaders He has raised up. 


Ascension Day 2021


Click here to download the Prayer Guide

Ascension Day  2021

REACH-SA Prayer Guide


The Lord reigns,let the nations tremble;He sits enthroned between the cherubim,let the earth shake.Great is the Lord in Zion; 

He is exalted over all the nations.Let them praise Your great and awesome name 

He is holy.                                                                                          (Psalm 99:1-3)

Jesus reigns on the throne of Heaven.  Praise God for who he is and for what he has accomplished for us.  Sing songs that help us remind each other of how great our God is and how Jesus reigns as King over all the nations.

Confession and Repentance

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.  

                                                                                                            (Psalm 32:5)

Come before the Lord in confession and repentance. 

Pray for God to be merciful to us and to pour out his Spirit to bring about real repentance among His people.  

Ask the Lord to shine the light of His Word into our hearts and empower us to change and grow ever more into Christlike members of His family. 

Commit before the Lord to pursue reconciliation and unity with estranged brothers and sisters in Christ. 


Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;give thanks to him and praise his name.For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;his faithfulness continues through all generations.             (Psalm 100:4,5)

Give thanks to the Lord for his unchanging love and faithfulness.  We see his enduring love in the salvation accomplished for us in Christ.  Jesus is God’s love to sinners like us.  

Take time to thank and praise God for the many kindnesses He has shown in your life, even through the trials, our God is good. 


And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  (Ephesians 6:18)

1. Our Country

Heavenly Father, we lift up to you our land and its government.  We ask you to give our leaders wisdom and resolve to do what is right and best for all her people. Give our president and his cabinet ability to lead rightly within the current COVID crisis. 

We pray for all emergency service and medical workers, that you will continue to strengthen and protect them in their task. 

We ask that you comfort all who mourn over the loss of loved ones. 

We pray also for the many who have lost employment over this time. Please unite your people in caring for all in need, showing the love of Christ in word and action. We ask all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Passages for reflection: Nehemiah 9; Romans 13:1-7

2. Our Churches

Our Gracious God and Heavenly Father. We pray for all your people and for the strengthening of faith through this time of unusual trial.  We pray for the many who are struggling with mental and physical health issues. We ask that you give courage and peace to those who are feeling despondent and anxious.  

We pray for all pastors and leaders in our churches. Give them wisdom and insight to implement effective gospel centred initiatives in these difficult days. Help all of us to keep Kingdom priorities in mind and not to be distracted and disillusioned by the trends and trials of our times. 

Father, please pour out your Spirit upon your Church. Make Your people heralds of the Gospel in all their words and actions. Give true peace in our time through the Prince of Peace. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. 

Passages for reflection: Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:3-11

3. Our Mission

Almighty God, we pray for you to complete the work you have given to your church. 

We pray for our Bishops and all national leadership. May they be united in their Kingdom purpose and turn from tolerating any divisive or worldly agendas.  Give them vision and passion to persevere in the work of the gospel through these days of trial. 

We lift up to you all our churches. We pray for ongoing resources to provide the needs of faithful gospel workers. Open doors for the message of Christ and grow your church across our land. 

We pray for George Whitefield College, that they will continue to equip gifted ministry candidates as they hold to sound Reformed Evangelical Anglican Theology.  Strengthen the work of our faculty and staff and bring Kingdom fruit from their work. 

Please raise up passionate patrons for the work of the gospel.  Lord of all the Harvest, raise up workers and people to provide for them as they serve Christ in the ministry. 

We pray for all our missionaries and their families. Please sustain them in their task and give them fruitful labour.  

Father help us all to see what role we can play in playing our part in the prayers we have prayed.  We ask all these things in the name of our precious saviour, Jesus Christ. 

Passages for reflection: Psalm 2; Colossians 4:2-6; Titus 2