Rev. Jacques Nel
The first years of my life were spent in England and Ireland after which I grew up and went to school in Cape Town South Africa. Located between two oceans on the southern tip of the African continent this is still my favorite spot on the planet. After graduating from Cape Town University I felt the call to enter the ministry. Six long years at the University of Stellenbosch followed. The seminary there is the oldest surviving institution for the training of ministers on the African continent. We could constantly feel the presence of the great reformed theologians like John Calvin and Karl Barth. I got married during that time. From 1989 on I served as the only minister to a Dutch Reformed Church in the arid northwest corner of South Africa. During this time my son was born. This was also during South Africa’s transition to a new political dispensation. Speaking God’s mercy and the demand for us to pursue justice at all times posed an immense challenge at the time. I became only more convinced that as Christians we can never avoid the unique challenges of our time and place. The time and place did change for me when I was called in 2001to serve a church in the American Midwest.
Just as I started my ministry in the United States, the twin towers came down and the shuttle exploded over Texas. Those two events signified to me the immense challenge we now face as Christians in the early years of the new millennium. To be blessed we must be peacemakers in a world where the nations may once again vent their anger by waging war. And certainly modern science forces us to rethink the way we read and understand Scripture. It is as a peacemaker between people in a turbulent world that I now understand my ministry. It is also as an apologist for what in essence is supra-natural in a world naturally understood that I must proceed with this difficult task. To convince seven billion people that Jesus is alive we can no longer pretend that nothing significant happened in 2,000 years. Modern science has entirely reshaped the thinking of the vast majority of people. And as Christians we are faced with our successes as well as our failures. Our history determines how we are seen by others. It is for a time such as this that I believe God has brought me to St. David’s. I see here a Gideon’s band of believers who can carry this mission. Come and join us in this greatest of all adventures! Believing in Jesus, we have already gone from death to life.