Jeremiah Zondi studied at Trinity Academy in Pietermaritzburg before coming to GWC in 1994. He only had a year to become a GWC man, but that he did. I remember him as an enthusiastic hard-working disciple of Jesus, eager to serve his Lord “feeding his sheep”. That too he did, first at St Stephens Clermont in KZN, and then as Rector of Christ Church KwaMashu. Some of you will know that KwaMashu is known as the “murder capital of SA”. It was a tough call, the more so because he came to that church at a time of division and high emotion. I visited the church early in his incumbency. It was clearly a thriving community. Jerry’s wife, Eunice, was leading a preschool and it was graduation day. The church and grounds were busy busy. Jerry was leading. He was a faithful hard working selfless servant of Jesus who worked tirelessly for the salvation of those amongst whom he served. In addition to serving his lively and growing home church he also served 7 branches scattered throughout the rural areas and varying in size.
Grant Retief, who was with Jerry at College and shared in the ministry in KZN, told me, “When I had the privilege of preaching for him, the two things that impressed me about his church was how many men there were, and how many young people there were. It was a vibrant and faithful testimony in the area. He trained up young men, and sent some of them to college against high financial odds, he hosted health clinics at the church for the community. On the day I preached for him an interesting thing happened: a member of the congregation had bought a new car. After the service the whole congregation gathered around it and laid hands on it, and Jerry prayed for safety and gave thanks for it. He explained to me that the reason for the ceremony was to teach his people to see all good gifts as coming from God, and not from the ancestors. Apparently pagan ceremonies are held in honor of the ancestors on such occasions.”
Jerry died in his 50th year, a man in the prime time of his ministry. What a loss to Eunice and the three children, to his congregations, to REACH South Africa, and to South Africa! I am struck again by the uncertainty of life “under the sun”. Jerry was a faithful soldier of Christ and he fell in active service – literally: he suffered a stroke and collapsed when administering Holy Communion. We can give thanks for his life and rejoice in Jesus’ promise, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out … and I will raise him up on the last day.” And for us who are left behind there is the reminder that we must do the works of hm who sent us “while it is still day”.
David Seccombe and Grant Retief