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Charismatic Renewal People

These are some of the people who were involved in the charismatic renewal and related movements in southern Africa that we would like to know more about, and, if they are still alive, to contact them and ask them what they remember of it.

If you know anything about them, or can help us get in touch with them, please leave a comment or e-mail me. More will be added to this page, so please come back to check it occasionsally.

Fr George Purves

Roman Catholic priest at the Cathedral in Durban in the 1970s. Was active in promoting renewal in the Archdiocese of Durban. Any news of his subsequent career would be welcome.

Found! He is in Nazareth House in Durban, but is not well and in no position to answer questions. But I’d still welcome news about his subsequent career, and what has happened to the charismatic prayer groups at Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban.

Fr Ignatius Heer

Roman Catholic priest from the Natal South Coast in the 1970s. He sometimes travelled up to the farm of Wilson and Hilda Dunn, near Stanger. Would like to know about his other activities and contacts, and his subsequent career.

Vernon Lund

He was an Anglican priest in Grahamstown in the 1970s, and later Rector of Hilton, near Pietermaritzburg. He later left the Anglican Church. Would like to make contact with him, or at least learn something of his subsequent career.

Revd Charles Gordon

Minister of the Durban North Presbyterian Church in the 1970s, and his church was very much affected by the renewal. Would like to hear more from or of him, and from any people who were members of the Durban North Presbyterian Church in that period.

News is that he has died. I’ve also heard that the Durban North Presbyterian Church broke away from the Presbyterian Church and formed a new denomination. I’d welcome any information about this.

Bob Trench

Durban businessman, plumber, denomination unknown. He ran a Christian Businessmen’s Fellowship which promoted the charismatic renewal, and arranged several events with speakers etc.


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17 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    19 November 2010 4:54 pm

    Vernon Lund was involved in the start of New Covenant Fellowship (NCF) in Pietermaritzburg and subsequently founded Dove House Fellowship(s), also in Pietermaritzburg. Now retired, Vernon remains active in leading retreats – see

  2. Lawrence Bodley permalink
    29 October 2011 12:35 am

    Dear Steve,

    If this is a project you are still working on, I have some information you will find helpful.
    My name is Lawrence Bodley, and I worked with Charles Gordon at Durban North Presbyterian Church in January 1981 and left his church roughly three years later at the time of his break away from the Presbyterian Church when he formed the Church of the Good Shepherd. I chose to remain with the Presbyterian denomination in which the charismatic renewal continued under the ministry of a number of Presbyterians: Rod Botsis and Angus Bayne in Cape Town; myself and Kingsley Dale teamed up under the oversight of Douglas Muller in the Presbyterian Church in Westville (maybe Pinetown), Natal; and Angus (Gus) Hunter continued charismatic ministry in the Presbyterian Church in the Fynnland area of Durban. All of us were committed charismatic ministers who continued in the Charismatic Renewal, which originally began under the leadership of Charles Gordon.

    In 1985 I left with my family to further my studies at Princeton Theological Seminary (Presbyterian) in the U.S.A. where I have remained and where I have continued as a ‘charismatic’ of the South African kind (based in established Protestant denominations).

    If this is of any interest to you, I can give you more information that may be useful.

    • Cory Oszust permalink
      2 April 2013 4:27 am

      Did you preach in Harrisville, Ohio? If you are the same Reverend Bodley, you left a lasting impression on my family and I. We miss you dearly. God bless.

    • Richard Allwood permalink
      27 April 2014 8:39 pm

      Hello Lawrence, Did you ever live in Ixopo Natal? Regards Richard

      • Lawrence Bodley permalink
        12 April 2015 8:09 pm

        Hello Richard. I’ve only now discovered your query on this site. Yes, it is me! And I have never forgotten you. You and your family made a lasting impact on my life. Just to be brief, since leaving RSA in 1985 I continued my theological education In the USA and finally graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master’s in Christian education. Since then I’ve taught Bible and theology in 2 Bible colleges and served as pastor in 4 Presbyterian churches. Now, I’m semi-retired, but still preaching & teaching.
        You’ve often been on my mind and I hope you find this.

        • Rollin Bohn permalink
          11 February 2016 6:17 am

          Dear Lawrence. I’ve been trying to track you down for many years, as I know this is a longshot also. My name is Rollin, the grandson of Rollin McAninch, son of Sharon Bohn. I just listened to your 5/17/15 Sermon about the Rapture, the hour is near. My family (mother & grandmother Verneice from Dillonvale, OH) still think and talk of you…it would be great to hear from you again now being 34 years old. Again , I know this is a long shot…but you know the story of the mustang seed. 😉

  3. Phil Runciman permalink
    13 January 2012 11:39 am

    Derek Crumpton organised a charismatic conference at Ganoubie Mouth, East London in 1975. Ross Cuthbertson, Ruben Phillip (adopted son?), Bill Burnett, Nicholas Bhengu, Noel Scheepers, and many others attended. A key issue was raised, “Could I trust you with my pulpit?” Justis du Plessis gave a memorable recollection and retrospective to us about the early days of his movement and then fast forwarded to the present and its implications. It was very moving. I mention this because there was a genuine willingness to move forward at that time.

    Bob Trench walked along Smith Street, Durban. Seeing a beggar on the pavement he said, “Do you want to walk? ”
    “Yes, boss”
    “In Jesus name walk.”
    The man got up, rolled up his blanket, said, “Thankyou boss” and danced off down the road.

    The Full Gospel Christian Businessmens’ Association were very active. Durban had many home groups led by their members, when we were in Durban in 1974/76. Noel ? (RC) had a group that grew to 60+. I attended. He lived somewhere around the South Ridge area. Tempus fugit.

    With a number of people’s help, I started a choir to perform Jimmy and Carol Owen’s “Come Together”. The choir performed 40 times together in many churches, town halls, some schools and othe venues. During our second practice one of the choir received a miraculous healing, confirmed later by her doctor. I cannot remember her surname. She went to Christchurch, Addington and her first name was Lucille. She lived nearby. Her friend knew something had happened. “Lucille, what was that I felt something.” “I think I have just been healed.” was the reply. We were singing, “Hallelujah, His Blood Avails for Me” at the time. Gus Hunter was our music director. This sort of thing happened quite a lot during “Come Together”. I could never keep up with all that occured, because often we were away from home and only found out through mutual friends or other channels some time later and well after the event.

    Brian Gibson was a guitar musician who was active at the time.

    Sister Winifred was a convent leader in Durban and charismatic.

    The Dunn family living on Dunn’s Donation near the Tugela River’s mouth had days of renewal up on their property. People came from miles around.

    My observation is that there was a greater willingness to cross-fellowship among christians in general than among leaders in particular. 1974/76 in Durban was a truly dynamic time for my wife and I. We had been at Post Green, England. We saw beautiful work of God ruined by one Graham Pulkingham. It was very sad to observe it from afar.

    • 13 January 2012 1:56 pm

      Thanks very much, Phil.

      I remember “Come Together” being presented in St Martin’s Anglican Church in Durban North, and we taped it, and listened to the tape for several years until it was stolen. It was very good indeed. The story of “Come Together” is definitely something that deserves mention in our book, so if you can give any more specific information – like when it started, who were the main movers, and which churches it was presented in, that would be a great help.

      • Phil Runciman permalink
        17 January 2012 9:55 am

        I lent my tape of “Come Together” to John Jennings. (He helped Pastor Hansen somewhere over the Ridge in an Indian church.) When we next met he said, “This is anointed” and then more ominously, “We have got to do it.” I knew he was right, but I was not a leading type and did not like the implications.

        Well John and Pastor Hansen were much too busy because so many of the community they served were becoming Christians.

        Carolyn and I prayed as to how we could launch “Come Together”. We knew that Pat Boone had given Elmer Darnall a film copy of the big event in LA. Elmer had shown it to us students at Christian Life College, Postgreen, Dorset. This copy was with a former student called David Chipchase. Carolyn and I knew knew him as did Carolyn’s brother Charles Sibthorpe. The plan was for Charles to bring the film with him to RSA and then we would show it to whoever was interested and seek choir members.

        Derek Crumpton invited us down to the conference at Ganoubie River Mouth. We showed the film there to those who were interested, but they were not the right people for the most part, although they were supportive. It was church members from different denominations, who on seeing the film said, “We have got to do it.”

        Charles got Chick Allen (He was a neighbour of Bob Trench and a FGCBMI member) involved with myself to lead it. Charles returned to England but left me with the film as I continued to gather interest and build the choir numbers. (We also needed: a narrator, soloists and a musical director.)

        Gus Hunter became the musical director. He was recovering from encephalitus and was on strict orders not to take anything on. However, three people approached him independantly saying they believed he should be the musical director. So at practice number three we had a true musician in charge of the choir. (He blessed me no end. He was a great man to work with and we needed someone of his calibre in the team)

        So the story began. We were all keenly aware it was not our idea but clearly the Lord’s. (Right from Jack Hayford’s conversation with the Owens onwards. Jean Darnall’s faith and the UK story of “Come Together” is worthy of a book on its own.) I knew I had no where to run to. He made it quite clear what He wanted and we dared not disobey. (A wonderful place to be in, actually.) The whole project was run on a collegial style, where we ensured as best we could, that all inputs were listened to and considered. We were very open about how we perceived everything was going. In fact we were learning to live “Come Together” as part of being able to share it with others.

        Some of the “Come Togethers” were great. Others were not. We just had to repent and recommit ourselves to His vision. Yes, it was really like that. We were a pretty raw bunch in so many ways and yet despite that He was using us and we loved it.

        It would be good to track down other choir members for their perspectives. We left half way through to go up to Rodesia, where we had invited Dr. Denis Ball to minister, but that is another story.

        Please ask me anything you want to know. I can remember some of the venues and choir member names but I would hate to miss anyone out. I lost touch with our drummer Mbongasane. He and I shared some special times together as I generally drove him back home.

        • 24 October 2014 11:28 pm

          Hi I am Denis Ball’s son. I would love to hear of your other story. I remember him going to Rhodesia.

    • Colleen Harper-Ronald permalink
      5 March 2014 12:33 am

      Hi Phil, we are a couple living in England, who where married by Gus Hunter in 1977 at Fyn lands church,bluff,Durban. Our family of 6 at the time, now increased to 8 and still going strong after 37yrs of marriage. We were truly inspired by Gus Hunter and he still remains in our hearts today. we would gratefully appreciate any information on his whereabouts. Regards Ian & Colleen Harper-Ronald.

  4. Phil Runciman permalink
    17 January 2012 10:02 am

    Typo: Rhodesia… sorry Cecil.

  5. Richard Girdwood permalink
    28 June 2012 12:50 pm

    Steve, you might want to collect some information about the weekly prayer group that was run at St Elizabeth’s, Westville. Cliff De Gersigny (not sure of the spelling) used to be involved in it. Bishop Ross Cuthbertson would also be a useful soures – I believe he is in the retirement cottages of the Diocese of Natal in Pietermaritzburg.

  6. cliff permalink
    22 November 2013 2:29 am

    I met Bob Trench in Oklahoma City in late 1983. He was speaking at various groups but mainly FGBFI. I had contact with Bob personally as well as heard him speak at meetings. One story similar to the one on Smith Street also took place on a street but I do not recall the city. Bob said a blind man was selling pencils. He said he asked if he wanted him to pray for him to receive his sight. The man responded yes. Bob prayed for the man and walked off without introducing himself. The next day there was a story in the newspaper about the blind man who received his sight after someone prayed for him while he was selling pencils at his normal street location. Bob never came forward as the one who had stopped to pray for the blind man.

    I have several other stories that I may post later but I can tell you I saw two non-believers on two separate occasions walk up to him without any conversation and fall flat on the floor face first. One accepted Jesus and the other didn’t because she was involved in voodoo.

    Bob was a blessing in my life.

  7. 28 February 2015 12:25 pm

    I am Mary Jean Scott silk

    I was trying to contact Peter Eliastam when I came across this. I was involved in organizing a day of Renewal in conjunction with Highveld Renewal Services in 1973 to 1982. There are other things which I was involved with and these are listed in what I term my “Church CV”.

  8. Joe permalink
    19 June 2015 3:26 am

    @Cliff, Bob Trench was fairly young when he met the Prophet of God William Branham, who often preached at the businessmen’s full Gospel meetings. One day William Branham came to South Africa and had a massive meeting in the racecourse there and Bob was a witness to all the miracles that Jesus Christ performed by his Prophet for the end times. You can watch Bob’s interview online, copy and paste this or click it. Nice interview.

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