Personal Testimony of our Chaplain, Rev Richard Wyngaard

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Personal Testimony of our Chaplain, Rev Richard Wyngaard

Both my parents were Anglican Priests and so I grew up in-and-around Parish life. For a time we lived in Makhanda before moving to Mthatha where I started school. My parents lectured Theology at St Bede’s College in my early years there. In 1989 we moved to Yeoville, in Johannesburg, and I started playing music
then. This was to become one of my great loves.

Despite growing up as the son of Anglican priests I had a hit-and-miss relationship with the Church. Whilst there were always opportunities to be involved in the Youth Groups and Church music groups I never felt it was for me. If you had told me then that I was to become an ordained Priest I would not have believed it; I wanted to be a rock star!

I spent several years as a wayward teenager, with all that came along with that. Yeoville was an eclectic and exciting place to be in the 90s and I was swept up in a huge collision of cultural and political ideas. So I experimented with anything and everything there was to try. Part of this was deciding that I wanted nothing to do with the Church or the Christian faith. For some time I was a sworn Atheist and, to put it mildly, I gave myself over to a very Hedonistic existence. Despite this, I knew there was something missing, but I didn’t know what that was.

Just prior to my matric year, my mom encouraged me to go on a Christian camp and I arrived with my leather jacket, 22 body piercings and my box of cigarettes! I sat outside the hall for most of the sessions on that camp. You would have found me casually looking through the windows with a cigarette in hand. I’m not sure
the camp leaders knew what to do with me (and neither did my parents!)

God found me that weekend. That’s all I can say. I need to emphasise that my conversion to Christianity was the MOST UNLIKELY event imaginable. You could not have chosen a less likely candidate… I spent several days weeping after that, the realisation of just how much God loved me was overwhelming. Within days I quit the drugs and alcohol and parties, and then my friends left me. My matric year was a lonely one indeed!

It took some years before I went into the ministry, but I felt I needed to share what I had experienced with other people. The death of my younger brother in 2004 further entrenched this calling. I felt I needed to share the message of hope that I had received with others. So eventually after significant cajoling by my church I enlisted for a BTH degree and began the process of discernment for the Priesthood.

I was ordained in the Cathedral of St Michael and St George on Spring day in 2007, almost 10 years after I had committed my life to the Lord. I believe absolutely in the love and grace of Jesus. If He can reach me, then I have no doubt that He can reach anyone. And it is my commitment to work among young people to show them just how much God accepts them and loves them, regardless of how broken their lives are.

I love working with young people and I feel called to youth and young adults ministry, and I believe that this will be my life’s work. I look forward to working with St Andrew’s College in the years to come.