Prop. Gabriel Conradie was born and bred in Caledon, a small town in the region of the Overberg in the Western Cape. It’s about a 100 km east of Cape Town, and is known for its mineral-rich hot springs. His mother Kathleen Dorothy Conradie and father Henry Gabriel Sneiders Conradie, who was a prison warden at Helderstroom Correctional Services, gave birth to him on a joyous, Wednesday 26 July 1989.
He is the second eldest of four siblings; three brothers and one sister. His parents shaped his spirituality and faith at a young age, as they as siblings were forced to attend every church service, every function, etc. the church had. They also had “huisgodsdiens” every evening at 7, that was compulsory. He was not fond of it at all at that stage but it helped them to read their Bibles and talk to God. Beside his parents there were also a lot of people from URCSA Caledon, and the community that formed him. “We were brought up in an environment that formed us into becoming full human beings, but also believers in God,” Gabriel explains.
He started his school education at Swartberg Primary School in Caledon. My mother who retired last year (2020) as an educator was (un)fortunately also part of the faculty, and my eagerness to visit her during school hours made her decide to send me to the other primary school in town, Overberg Primary School. Gabriel attended that school from grade three and finished grade 12 at Overberg High School.
Gabriel explains his calling, “During my grade 12 year, I’ve received a calling from God to go into full time ministry. At that stage, according to me, I wasn’t the perfect candidate and I couldn’t comprehend what God was busy doing in my life. I then decided to work at ESKOM as contract worker. I was able to work for three and a half years until the calling got stronger and I applied to study theology at Stellenbosch University. My calling was confirmed, in Jeremiah 1, where God calls the young Jeremiah and put him at ease, that He will never leave him. He even placed the words he must speak into his mouth, for the sometimes difficult task he had coming. I was accepted by Stellenbosch University in June 2011 and started my theological studies in 2012.”
But then Gabriel’s family had to face a very difficult time. He explains, “Unfortunately we lost our father at the end of my first year of studies. It was a challenging time for us as a family, as my younger sister and brother were also attending Stellenbosch University at that stage. Financially and emotionally it was difficult and I’ve decided to take my studies a bit slower. My sister finished her studies as a social worker and my brother completed his Masters in BSc. I was fortunate with the help of God, URCSA, the Theological Faculty, and Stellenbosch University to complete my BDiv. in 2019 and my MDiv. in 2020. My final year study was done in New Testament under the supervision of Prof. Jeremy Punt: ‘A literary- historical study on female teaching and leadership in 1 Timothy 2:9 -15, with reference to the United Reformed Church in Southern Africa.’ As male student, it helped me understand how easily we as church can become exclusive. How we exclude people, by simply reading and applying certain Biblical text to our context.”
Gabriel did his practical work under the mentorship of Rev. Jerome Haupt (Caledon) and when he was in Stellenbosch, he did his practical work at URCSA Bishop Lavis, under supervision of Rev. Brain Handel. Both of these pastors really supported and equipped him with great wisdom in his practical training as pastor for a congregation.
Gabriel shares with us his dreams for the Church and especially for his future congregation, “For me the church should be a token of the coming kingdom of God. It should have characteristics of God and should be seen as an alternative community. Especially during this time of the COVID- pandemic people are seeking the church, not only in terms of supporting them materialistically but also in keep doing what it was called for – preaching, teaching, be a community of faith (now electronically), being apart, but also together with one, etc. Allow people to have a voice, where the world denies them one. To stand in solidarity with one another and to bring those that have been marginalized, back into a community where they can express their faith, and one day complete their faith journeys.”
Gabriel is also a middle-distance runner and was able to complete a few half-marathons. Before he did his theological training he was also part of the Silver Bell Band, where he learned to play the guitar, something he still enjoy doing, although he is not part of the band anymore.
“At the moment I’m not married and don’t have any kids, but I’m eagerly, and encouraged to ‘make a plan’,” he says with tongue in cheek.
Contact Gabriel Conradie at 064 129 8540 or email him at [email protected].