Rev Hendry Tromp from Gelvandale congregation in Gqeberha, has just been elected as the new moderator of the URCSA Cape Region during their recent synod held at the end of September at Goudini Spa. Asked what his prayer is for the URCA and the DRC, he quoted from the Confession of Belhar that he “also prays for a ‘continuous process of soul-searching together, a joint wrestling with the issues’ because relationships require sacrifice”.
Kerkbode (KB): Where did your story begin?
Hendry Tromp (HT): I grew up in Worcester where I was confirmed at the Worcester East congregation by rev Nicolas Appollis, the last moderator of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church and the first moderator of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). At that time, I didn’t fully understand that my “dominee” was the moderator of the church. For me, he was just my confirmation teacher-minister; humble and firm.
As the son of Paulina Tromp, who washed, ironed and sewed the clothes of the students at Nuwe Hoop Centre for the Hearing Impaired and the son of Jack Tromp, who preached the gospel of Christ on the street corners of our community, I saw humility and courage on full display at home and what it means to love God and love your neighbour.
However, my origin story would be incomplete without my wife Esmarelda Tromp and our three beautiful kids who keep me grounded.
KB: What brought you to a life in ministry?
HT: In September 1994, I committed my life to Christ during a Vacation Bible School (VBS) led by my late spiritual mentors, Aunty Vera de Vries and Aunty Beaty de Vries (the daughters of the late rev De Vries). Right there at that VBS I started my journey into children’s and youth ministry. At that time, I didn’t plan to become a minister. Yes, I felt led to go but I resisted the call.
After matric I was ready to study marketing at Boland College in Stellenbosch but that didn’t work out as planned and so I continued my formal training in children and youth ministry. I also continued to resist people’s encouragement to become a “dominee” because I was already in ministry as a youth worker.
But I could not resist God. The Lord lovingly and patiently took me by the hand until I was ready to take those first few obedient steps. And so, in 2008 I ended up at Stellenbosch University not to study marketing but to study theology. In 2022 I completed my MTh in Practical Theology on the theme: ‘The challenge of internal unity within’.
I am at peace being a minister because this is not only where God has placed me, but it is also where I want to be.
KB: Where have you served?
HT: Ministry took me as a youth worker to URC Wesfleur in Atlantis under the mentorship of rev dr Nathan Philander and then to the congregation of URC Ceres and URC Kraaifontein. I am currently the minister of a really caring faith community; the Gelvandale congregation in Gqeberha.
I have served as scribe of the URCSA Cape Regional Synod from 2018 to 2023. But I must admit that the most precious moments in ministry have been to pray together with people. I witnessed this again during our regional synod meeting this year. To pray with someone is such a caring action, a sacred moment, filled with vulnerability and it really invites you into a person’s lived experiences.
KB: Your comments on being the new moderator of the URCSA Cape Region?
HT: In all my years in ministry I have committed myself to love God unashamedly and serve others enthusiastically. As the moderator of URCSA Cape Region I will continue to build on this commitment. That being said, my wife and kids including the congregation of Gelvandale will remain a high priority. My wife deserves a loving husband, my kids deserve a present father and my congregation deserves a committed spiritual leader.
KB: What do you pray for the URCA and DRC family of churches?
HT: I pray that we will continue with the intentional efforts of moving closer and closer to each other. I further pray for a ‘continuous process of soul-searching together, a joint wrestling with the issues’ because relationships require sacrifice.
At times it requires holding on when you want to let go. It sometimes asks for more than what you are willing to give. It takes time and patience. Because no matter how you look at it, the truth remains: “Die Here het ons vir mekaar gegee.” So, may we walk the road of reconciliation and justice together, I pray.
- This article is in English so that it can be enjoyed by all members of URCSA.
- Rev Hendry Tompson took over from dr Llewellyn MacMaster who served two terms as moderator of URCSA Cape Region.