Revd Craig Dunsmuir

Craig Dunsmuir

Assistant Priest from April 1991 to December 1994.

Originally from the Diocese of Zululand, studied at the then University of Natal and subsequently worked in the Zoutpansberg parish on a missions programme with Students' Christian Association.

Ordained by bishop Philip Le Feuvre at St Mark's, Louis Trichardt (Makhado).

While at Christ Church I was part of the pastoral team with Cathy Thornton (UK) working under John Hughes' leadership. The parish expanded its teaching, evangelistic, and discipleship ministries during that time. The Christian Basics course designed by John was an important fore-runner before the Alpha course arrived. Worship diversified in style and music in response to expanding congregational need and a changing town, and this growth saw exploration beyond Hymns Ancient & Modern plus the move to two Sunday morning services.

One of my primary responsibilities was the youth group (called the Aardvarks back then - with its infamous "porridge game"). Nigel Thornton and Simon Cansdale (Diocesan Youth co-ordinators, UK) had successfully established the group, and a range of people (Giles Roberts UK, Celia Tabb Ptb, plus parish youth workers Steven Lancaster PE, Theo Goosen CT, Kirsten Anderson Jhb, & Ricardo Roodt

CT) helped keep that a vital ministry that reached many young people beyond the parish - several of whom entered into leadership and ministry roles. The Youth Year Programme, established by Giles in the diocese for the national Anglican church, also impacted the life of the parish. Mark Umpelby (UK) followed in his footsteps. Giles initiated a vibrant "Morning Assembly" involving youth and parishioners at Capricorn High School, and Kirsten's small group ministry there built on that. In my final year I became part of the Sunday School (alongside Cheryl Fulton) in a new initiative with our youngest parishioners.

A running joke in the parish was that my license to minister, in addition to listing required duties, included the phrase "and any other ecclesiastical duties" as directed by my new rector. At my welcome to the parish John was called out on a pastoral emergency and I ended up tending the braai for my own welcome. Many things subsequently became "ecclesiastical duties" including being the rectory tea-boy during Wimbledon season (John & Janet were ardent fans and didn't want to miss a minute). John's sense of humour kept my training years very interesting - which included accepting an invitation from the Department of Water Affairs and then dispatching me to bless the new pumping station at Ebenezer dam at the official commissioning ceremony. Now there was a conundrum for a young Evangelical.

The most nerve-racking part of preaching at Christ Church was that bishop Philip Le Feuvre, on an occasional Sunday off, would sit in the congregation (without warning!). He is an exceptionally able and gifted preacher which was very intimidating, yet he was always encouraging and helpful in his comments afterwards. Second to that would be the request from John to "come and have a cup of coffee" - if this was on a Monday after I had preached that Sunday it meant one thing - a review of my sermon! Parishioners patiently endured much as I learned to develop my preaching skills.

I left the parish to work as the International Intern in the parish of St Luke's of the Mountains in La Crescenta, Los Angeles, while also studying part-time at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena for eighteen months. I returned to the Diocese as a Ministry Trainer to work alongside Andrew & Camilla Symes. In 1999 I left the North to take up ministry positions in the Eastern Cape (Uitenhage and then Port Elizabeth). In 2009 I was invited to join the staff of the Theological Education by Extension College based in Johannesburg (TEE College) where I am currently an executive director.

Working with John & Janet Hughes (and others), plus the support of the Christ Church Anglican family, was a very significant part of my own Christian journey and an important foundation for my future ministry. It is with great fondness and a warm smile that I think back on those years together.

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