The singing sermon writer

2008-06-25 00:00

Ron Nicolson’s name is well-known in Pietermaritzburg. Not surprising, as his roots in the city are deep; he went to school here, then university, and most of his working life has been spent here. But as those who read his columns in The Witness know, having deep roots has not made him narrow-minded. “I suspect discerning people can see an inveterate sermon writer in there,” he says, talking of his columns, but sermons or not, what comes across most clearly is a humane, sensible approach to life.

When his studies were finished, Nicolson returned to South Africa and was ordained. As a young priest, he worked at the old St Saviour’s Cathedral in Pietermaritzburg — his home town again. Then he had five years in Howick, followed by a stint in Pinetown. “In those days, I was a bright young thing,” he says, “full of self-confidence, ambition and probably lots of arrogance. I was in a church that was changing, and had a Bishop who went out of his way to encourage younger clergy.”

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