Our New Minister

Groenewalds2016A new chapter in the life of our Church opened on Tuesday October 25th with the induction of Rev Dr André Groenewald as our new minister.

Those attending Induction Service filled the Church and the Ogston Hall.  As well those from the local community and church, and the presbyteries of West Lothian and Edinburgh, we were delighted to be joined by members from not only Andre’s former congregations of Kirknewton and East Calder Parish Church, but also from his wife Nanda’s congregations of Polbeth and West Calder.

Some background information:-

Education and Background

André was born on the 9th of May 1969 in Klerksdorp, North West Province, South Africa. He married Jonanda Klopper on the 26th of February 1999 and has two sons Henro (9) and Nehan. (6 turning 7 soon). He studied at the University of Pretoria and graduated with the following degrees: BA, BD, MDiv and DD. His doctoral thesis explored Nietzsche’s contribution to the development of a modern concept of God.

Experience

André was ordained in 1994 and inducted into his first charge in April 1995 in Cradock, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He ministered in Cradock until his call to Midrand in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1998 and in 2008 he emigrated to Scotland. After a year’s placement in Craigsbank, Corstorphine Edinburgh, on the 2nd of April 2009 he was inducted in Kirknewton and East Calder Parish Church.

Thoughts about Balerno

After reading Balerno’s Church Profile, André was struck by the strong emphasis on involvement with the community. He agrees with the idea that any ministry in Scotland needs to be a Parish (community based) ministry. To him it is essential that we ask ourselves, time and time again: “If we shut the church doors, will our community miss us?”

André is enthusiastic about being present in the village, reaching out to all people, being a weel-kent face and helping people in their daily lives, in illness and bereavement, walking the extra mile – these are the things that are important. He also believes in being present in the life of the community though various committees/events. He continues. “The community needs to see God’s Holy Spirit working in and through me in everything I do, say or think. I feel strongly that the biblical message of God’s love for humanity should direct and underpin my whole ministry.”

“I view everything I do as a minister as an opportunity to reach out to the members of the community, like Parish funerals and visiting bereaved non-church members. I believe that we need to help people with their journey of bereavement, which makes me a strong advocate of an annual Bereavement Service at the beginning of December to help people make sense of their loss. I also believe in a “hands-on” ministry, where I put my “pinnie” on to serve teas in the Gala Day tent, or to carry chairs and tables for functions. Currently I am also personally leading the annual holiday club, because to me reaching out to all the children of the Parish is an opportunity too big to not make the most of. Although I wear my dog collar and robes for Sunday worship, I am not afraid to occasionally dress down for special family services as a way to connect with children and young families.”

Currently André is the school chaplain to two primary schools and one high school. He is the chaplain of the West Lothian Scouts and local Boys Brigade, the chaplain of a local charity for young cancer sufferers (called “Jaks Den”), a member of the East Calder Gala Day Committee, an active partner of the Kirknewton Community Trust and a member of the East Calder Community Council. He is also a member of the Parent Council of West Calder High school.

André’s wife, Nanda, is the parish minister at the linked churches of Calder West Kirk and Polbeth Harwood. The Groenewald family would hope to take up residence in Balerno in October.