Funeral of the Revd Canon George Winston van der Merwe

George van der Merwe sadly, and unexpectedly, passed away on 14th March this year. His was a dignified funeral full of “pomp and ceremony”, as was appropriate for a cleric who had served in our diocese. A full procession, consisting of crucifer, servers, layministers and a large number of clergy, including chapter members in their regalia, led the coffin into the Church of the Transfiguration. Because George had served as Rector in this church, his coffin was lifted up and placed in the sanctuary.

In the absence of the Bishop, who was out of the Diocese, the Requiem Mass was conducted by the Dean, Maureen Simons. She was assisted by Archdeacon Gijimane Radebe, and Canon Reg Gersbach, who had attended college with George, preached the sermon. George’s son, Denzil read the first reading, and one of his grandsons read the second reading. The beautiful music that accompanied the singing was provided by Clarence Fourie who had been organist and friend during George’s time in Eldorado Park.

The church was packed with those who had known and loved George van der Merwe during his many years of ministry in our diocese. A large number were from Eldorado Park where he had served as rector in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Many, too came from Ennerdale where he had been rector for a number of years in the 90’s. Also noticeable were members of his most recent church, St Mark’s, Regent Hill. The love for George coming from that great crowd could be felt.

I have had the joy and privilege of knowing George van der Merwe and his family – his wife Marie, his sons Denzil and Deon, and his daughter Delyce – since my church, St Francis, Walkerville, became part of the his archdeaconry, the Archdeaconry of Klipriver, in the early days of our diocese. I got to know them better when I was transferred to his parish of St Nicholas, Ennerdale in 1997, and I was pleased to be sent to work under him again in Eldorado Park in 2002. I found him to be gentle and caring, a considerate leader and good mentor.

I am sure that Christ’s words “Well done, good and faithful servant” would have greeted George as he came face to face with his Lord and ours. May our Lord Jesus comfort and strengthen in his family in their time of mourning.

By Evelyn Keartland