Rev Sydney Hudson-Reed (Senior Pastor from 1966 – 1977)

Rev Sydney Hudson-Reed was the fifth senior pastor of Rosebank Union Church, serving with us from 1966 – 1977. After his death, this obituary was featured in local news media.

(Source: News24)

THE Reverend Sydney Hudson-Reed, who was responsible for the establishment of the Treverton Schools in Mooi River in 1964, died on May?4, 2010 in Cape Town.

Hudson-Reed, a Baptist Church minister, cherished a dream of establishing an independent school associated with the Baptist Church, which would foster a strong Christian ethos.

When he was serving as a member of the church in Rhodesia, he had researched the establishment of a private multidenominational preparatory school, but the Unilateral Declaration of Independence prevented further development of this plan. While ministering in the church in Port Elizabeth in 1962, a fellow minister alerted him of school premises that were for sale in Mooi River. Hudson-Reed travelled to Natal and visited the school, the original Treverton, which had been closed at the beginning of the sixties.

He was impressed by basic structures that were in place and believed that this was the answer to his prayers of establishing a school. He enlisted the help of four friends and his brother Derek, who was then on the staff of St Sithian’s in Johannesburg, to investigate the logistics­ of establishing a school in Mooi River. Despite the fact that they had no funds to finance­ the project, they were able to secure a bond. Hudson-Reed decided to publicise the school and recalled years later how he had in his 40s, hitchhiked around South Africa to enlist aid, financial donations and personally spread the word about the school. The school opened as a boys’ preparatory school in January 1964. There was an enrolment of 50 boys and the late Derek Hudson-Reed was the first headmaster.

For the next 28 years, Hudson-Reed chaired the board of governors and remained on the board until his death.

Since its establishment, Treverton has grown and developed into a co-educational school offering­ tuition from pre-primary classes to postmatric, for boarders and day pupils.

Hudson-Reed was born in Johannesburg and was educated at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth and Parktown Boys’ High School. He attended the University of the Witwatersrand for his bachelor of arts degree and Transvaal Teachers College for his TTD. At Rhodes University he obtained a diploma in theology and a Licentiate Honours in Theology at the Baptist Theological College. At the former University of Natal he was awarded a Master’s degree and in 1999 a PhD.

During World War 2 he served as chaplain to the forces in Egypt and Italy, and was ordained in Cairo. Over the years he has served as the travelling secretary to the Students’ Christian Association, and ministered as pastor in Baptist ministries in KwaZulu-Natal, the former Transvaal, the Eastern Cape and Rhodesia. During his early retirement he ministered to the seniors of the Pinelands Baptist Church in Cape Town.

He was a keen historian and author of a number of books, of which one of the best known is 1820 Settler Stories.

In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul highlights the fact that leaders in the church must be people “worthy of respect” (1 Timothy 3:8). Surely it’s not stretching things to say that this should also be true of high-profile political leaders. While he no doubt has feet of clay, no one would argue that Nelson Mandela (Madiba, as South Africans affectionately know him) is a man “worthy of respect.” It is a fact that he is probably the most respected leader in the world.

I am grieved that we are currently being led by a man who, in my view, is not “worthy of respect”—nor is his ANC Youth League side-kick.

After a recent Sunday sermon I made some comments on behalf of the Rosebank Union Elders about ways in which our president is not “worthy of respect.” These comments were converted into AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT ZUMA that was sent to him. He may never see it, but, who knows, it may make an impression on some lowly secretary before he/she puts it in file thirteen. You can read the letter on this site. As you do so, pay particular attention to our responsibilities as believers in relation to our political leaders. It’s easy to criticize them (and we should), but let’s fulfil our responsibilities toward them as well.

Pastor Leigh Robinson

My greatest joy in life is being able to preach God’s Word to a congregation of God’s people week after week, year after year. After over thirty five years in the ministry I still can’t get over the fact that I get paid to study God’s Word and preach it every Sunday. The reason for my joy in preaching was clarified for me recently when I read the opening paragraph in a new book on preaching by Darrell Johnson, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Vancouver, Canada.

“Whenever a human being, Bible in hand, stands up before a group of other human beings, invites the gathered assembly into a particular text of the Bible and as faithfully as possible tries to say again what the living God is saying in the text, something always happens. Something transformative, empowering, life-giving happens . . . I believe the preaching of the Word of God changes the world. I believe individuals, neighbourhoods, cities and nations are changed by the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ. For in preaching the good news of Jesus Christ (which is ultimately what any biblical text preaches), it turns out that we are participating with the living God in God’s ongoing transformation of the world.”

That’s why I love preaching!

For my preacher friends, Darrell Johnson’s book is THE GLORY OF PREACHING (Participating in God’s Transformation of the World). It’s published by IVP. It’s a must read!

Yesterday I went to pick up my almost two-year old grandson, Ethan, from his play school. I arrived at the rambling house set in spacious grounds to find his classroom empty, but soon saw the clump of children sitting on the grass in the shade of a large tree at the far end of the lawn. Their teacher was reading a story to them. As I was trying to focus to see whether Ethan was in that group, a tiny boy clad in a bright orange T-shirt stood up, left the group, and came flying across the lawn toward me as fast as his little legs could carry him. It was Ethan! He has seen me before I had been able to pick him out of the crowd and was on his way to me at full speed. When he was a few meters from me I knelt down and opened my arms wide. He came crashing into me crying, “Pop! Pop! Pop!” and threw his arms around my neck. As I carried him toward the car he, prompted by my questions, told me about his day at school.

Throughout the rest of the day, and as I went off to sleep last night, I replayed that scene in my mind. It filled me with a joy I can’t describe, and I wondered, “When last did I run to God and give him that much joy?”


The GarwoodsThe year was 1998. The day was 20 May. It was a day we will never forget. My husband, Leigh, received a phone call from Olivedale Clinic to say that a young couple in our church had just given birth to their first child and there were serious complications.

Leigh rushed to the hospital to find that Nicholas, who had been born prematurely, had suffered distress as the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. His left eye had not developed fully in the early stages of pregnancy. Subsequently as a baby he had an expander inserted to help grow the socket in which his prosthetic eye now fits.

Kevin and Cheryl were told later that their son had a serious brain injury and he was eventually diagnosed with Athetoid cerebral palsy with spasticity. Simply explained, this is a condition where the brain can’t send the correct messages to the muscles. The Garwoods were told to put their son in a home and to get on with their lives as Nicholas would never walk, talk or be educated. This they refused to do. Nicholas already had a home and they were not going to give up on him.

And so began their journey as new parents trying to figure out how best to give Nicholas the life that God designed for him.

The Garwoods found an American home-based therapy programme to help with Nicholas’ development in the first few years. Kevin gave up his career to take care of Nicholas full time and through home schooling Nicholas has now completed Grade 3. He’s improved remarkably.

In April 2009, Kevin watched a video clip called “My Redeemer Lives” which showed an American father, Dick Hoyt (69), participating in an Ironman event with his disabled son, Rick (48). (

Nicholas & Kevin

“I burst into tears when I saw it. As a father one of my biggest dreams was to one day be there for my son and support him in sporting events. I could never do that. When I saw this video, I realised there was a way to compete with my son,” recalled Kevin.

And so began their courageous sporting journey as Team Garwood. It’s been a journey filled with obstacles, but it’s been amazing and inspiring at the same time.

They started out by participating as a family in the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk in July 2009, walking 8 km. Kevin sourced a small jogging buggy from Canada, called a Wike, which conveniently can be used as a trailer too. Kevin’s Bible study group was helpful in rallying together all sorts of assistance and equipment that he might require on this athletic journey. They’ve steadily progressed to running, cycling and swimming and have now done a number of triathlons. Nicholas accompanies Kevin on all three legs of the triathlon. In the swimming section, Nicholas is in a kayak tethered to his dad’s waist. For the cycling part, Kevin hooks Nicholas’s “jogging trailer” to his bike pulling him and for the running leg of the race, Kevin pushes Nicholas in the Wike.

NicholasThe Wike weighs about 15 kg and Nicholas another 30 kg. Add that to Kevin’s own weight and the weight of his bike, and it’s remarkable that they even finish these races. It has taken lots of training, self discipline and perseverance for Kevin to be able to do all this. To get an idea of what’s ahead of them and to prepare for next year, Kevin will be doing the full Iron Man by himself in Port Elizabeth on 25 April 2010.

“It’s phenomenal what it has done for Nicholas. We can see a change in his personality, his speech is more fluent and he has a memory of note,” says his mom, Cheryl. She has supported this father/son duo in all their events and has recorded their amazing journey in a beautiful scrapbook. For those who attend Rosebank, ask the Garwoods to show you their scrapbook.

For those on Facebook, go to “Team Garwood” to get full updates and reports on their activities and races with photos.

Truly the Garwood story is inspiring. Proverbs 13:12 says that “When dreams come true, there is life and joy.” You just have to look at the faces of Nicholas and Kevin to see that life and joy.

Pastor Leigh RobinsonA few days ago I received this message from my brother-in-law, who has spent over thirty years of his life as a missionary in Thailand:

“Please pray for my friend Kias, a Thai Christian folk singer who is entering the hospital tomorrow for treatment. On March 23rd he was diagnosed with a rare cancer that has spread through his internal organs. He is spitting up blood and the doctor has not given him hope. Today he shared with me that he is at peace with God even though he is walking through the shadow of death, he is not afraid. His wife and young daughter (about 6) need grace during this time as well. Pray for God’s will to be done, whether it is bodily healing or whether it is a new body in heaven. Pray for Nok his wife to be strong in her faith.”

As I was running early this morning and praying for Kias my mind flitted to a testimony of a woman who has just become a member of our church. I read her story last night. She was born and raised in a Hindu family, but was never happy and comfortable with prayers and rituals the family had to perform. When she was 12, her uncle came to faith and she would often go to church with him. She left school in Grade 11 to look after her bed-ridden dad. At that time her uncle and elders of his church visited her dad and prayed for him. Miraculously he was healed and the whole family gave up Hinduism and embraced Christ.

Why do we not see more miraculous healings? Lack of faith? Lack of prayer? Lack of expectation? Probably! But then there’s ‘mystery’. Who can understand the ways of God! We must pray for healing, but “learn to trust his heart where we cannot trace his hand.”

Would you think of describing your conversion to Christ as “a wonderful car crash?” It is true that some conversions are quiet and gradual. You don’t know the time of your spiritual birth; you just know you’re alive! That’s what counts. But others experience a more definite, sometimes dramatic, conversion. In my last blog I told you about Louise coming to Jesus after twenty-five years of prayer. Here’s a bit of her story:

“I left the (morning) service in a daze. Something was happening to me. I was elated, excited, joyous. I told Tim I had found a great church, and went back for the evening service. As soon as it started, I realised that all the hymns we were singing, all the words being spoken, all the Bible passages being read, were all speaking to me loud and clear. It was as if I had previously witnessed all church related things in Russian! Every question I thought was being answered, specifically, by the Pastor almost immediately, and I was overwhelmed, and then I began to weep and weep, and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord. I wept that Jesus has been quietly tapping me on the shoulder all these years, and I never turned to greet him. I was ashamed, and joyous, and a million things all at once, including embarrassed, as I am not one for being openly emotional, and I found it excruciating! When the penny drops, and you let the Lord in, the power of the Holy Spirit taking up residence is something akin to a wonderful car crash!”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When Irene and I served at Durban North Baptist Church in the early eighties we had the joy of seeing our neighbours a few doors up the road from us, Lucy and George, come to Christ. Both experienced radical conversions, grew rapidly, and brought us much joy. After a few years they, together with their young daughter, moved back to the UK. George died of a sudden heart attack, and Lucy went on to become one of the BBC’s top script writers. In all the years since then, Lucy has been on my weekly prayer list. As I have prayed for her I have prayed that her daughter, Louise, would come to know Christ and follow him with all her heart. The other day I received this news from Lucy:

“Just a happy message to you both: having been paddling around Christianity for years and years, and accepting that Christ is the Son of God, and believing in the Bible but never quite committing herself to Him, or becoming a new creature in Christ… yesterday Lou was born again. She’s just spent an hour telling me all about the joy of it all, and the excitement and the terror – all the ‘how is this going to change my life?’ stuff – and I just sat there, beaming, letting it all wash over me like a blessing. Which it is. I can die happy now. But not just yet, eh?
“I won’t tell you Lou’s story, because it’s hers and she may want to tell you herself one day.”

What joy! What encouragement to persevere in payer for loved ones who do not yet know Jesus!

Go HD in 2010!I spotted this DStv ad while driving on Sandton Drive early in February. Ok, let me declare upfront, I have no shares in DStv nor do I have any family member working there! The ad promised subscr ibers two new High Definition channels in 2010. Why get excited about HDTV? Well, HD is about clarity and quality of both picture and sound, and the applied technology makes television clear and defined. The quality of the pixel resolution is substantially higher than traditional TV systems.

So, I asked myself, “What would happen if each one of us looked at Christian living through the lens of high definition and lived our lives accordingly in 2010 and beyond?” Imagine a lifestyle established on godly and sound principles. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9,13 I marked four words that spell high definition living, i.e. Hear, Love, Teach and Fear:

  • Hear the truth continually – the more we hear the truth about God and his plan and purpose for us the more our lives will be uncluttered. In our busy lives we are not hard of hearing but hard of listening. Check the time you spend alone in the Word, in fellowship with others and in public worship.
  • Love the Lord fervently – this is about our total devotion to God and our whole being caught up in him. It is about guarding against anything that would cause our love to grow cold. Loving him this way will enable us to love and serve others.
  • Communicate diligently – the teaching and communication is done in the context of everyday life. This is being missional and intentional. The mission field is wide open for us, be aware of opportunities God brings your way and be ready to share whenever appropriate.
  • Fear God greatly – this is not a frightened fear but a deep and awesome respect for the living God. Fear the results of a disobedient lifestyle. Fear the consequences of walking against his will. And may that fear restrain us from presumption and pride.

I urge you therefore, to go for “High Definition” living in the power of our God…

Missionally yours,
Pastor Ndaba Mazabane

Welcome to my blog! This is the place where I get to introduce you to some of the amazing people who are part of the Rosebank Union Church family.

Soon after we arrived at Rosebank in September 2004 and started getting to know people, we began to be inspired by who they were and what they were doing. Within months I started a file which I called “Rosebank’s Amazing People.” That file steadily grew as I got to know more and more people.

Through this blog I want to introduce you to people who inspire and challenge me. They are ordinary people who have stretched themselves to do the extraordinary. They are people who have seen a need and rearranged their lives so that they could fill that need. They are people who love South Africa with all his challenges and complexities and are determined to make a difference to this country and her people.

The movie “Australia” ends with a quote by the young boy who plays one of the leading roles. His quote sums up why this blog exists. “One thing I know. Stories are important because that’s how you keep people belonging.”

I’ve met many fascinating people at Rosebank. But I certainly haven’t met them all. To keep this blog going, I need your help. Tell me who inspires you. Who have you met who has a story to tell. Let’s discover together the people who make our church what it is.