Wesley College welcomed our new Chaplain, Rev Manie Strydom in 2021. Many of you will already know he hails from South Africa, is married to Joanna and father to three sons. But what else can we find out?
What are your hobbies?
Firstly, nature photography. I would normally have a camera in my car and whenever I see an interesting image, visit a new place, or go on safari, I’ll take it to grab shots of wildlife. I also enjoy playing the guitar and I love listening to music. I’ll listen to almost anything!
Do you have a favourite sports team?
Rugby is closest to my heart; however, I also really enjoy watching cricket, athletics and soccer. In fact, I’ll watch almost any sport. Since moving to Australia 10 years ago, I’ve loved watching AFL and can appreciate how incredibly skilled the players are.
What’s your favourite holiday spot?
I’ll mention two: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (South Africa/Botswana) and Pilanesberg National Park (South Africa). Kgalagadi is a very rugged landscape with no mobile reception and is exceptionally beautiful and quiet. I love waking up early in the morning and driving around to find prides of lions and other animals. We would normally spend a week in each of these parks every second year.
Wesley is values-driven. I love that Wesley has an identity, centralised around faith, community and compassion, which we are all comfortable with. We have incredibly skilled and knowledgeable staff and well-balanced students. For me, it’s a happy place that I enjoy coming to each day.
Who are your mentors and role models?
Nelson Mandela: His ability to look past the negative and focus on the positives to rebuild a nation is incredibly inspiring. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who I’ve had lunch with and who has had a powerful impact on me as a person. He is a wise man who loves God and God’s people unconditionally and he knows the value of reconciliation.
What are you most proud of?
My family. I have three boys and I’m exceptionally proud of each of them for their diverse skillsets and personalities. I enjoy seeing them grow into well-balanced and mature men. God blessed me with my amazing wife and boys, and I love and support them unconditionally.
What is chaplaincy to you?
Chaplaincy is a ministry of presence—being immersed in the life of the school and participating in more than Chapel services and assemblies. We have the privilege to show people how Jesus would respond when faced with difficult situations, living grace every day and serving people.
What do you hope to bring to Wesley?
Being a great listener. Everybody struggles at some stage in their life. When we have that trouble, someone needs to listen, sit and talk with us. That’s what I want to be to the whole Wesley community. What is also important to me is to not give people the easy answers but rather provide the skills so that people can find their own answers and have ownership of their decisions. I believe spirituality impacts every aspect of our lives and hope that I might show glimpses of who God is as I engage with people and do my ministry.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of The Wesleyan. To read more, click here.
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