Dear ESSA friends –
it’s with a heavy heart that we share news of Carmena’s recent passing. Phil & Carmena founded ESSA in 1980. The beautiful vision of shalom that Phil articulated in the classroom, Carmena articulated in the gardens.
How can one capture, in words, the immense gift of her life to the seminary? One way is by simply sharing reflections from those who remember her well…
Elesinah Chauke – I watched you Live a Practical Christian Life from my younger days. As I was growing up you become a mentor and a friend to me. It is not easy for me to imagine that you have left. You demonstrated Christian love in action. In every person that you came across, you were able to see both the person and their potential. Where you were allowed the opportunity, you were ready to help all towards achieving their potential. You always worked towards bringing the best out of all people you ministered to. You were not afraid to take a risk if it will serve a life. I will miss you. Zimbabwe Free Methodist Church will always remember you. I / we thank the Lord for the years that He has given you to us. Your work was not in vain.
Harold & Annette – Carmena is with her Lord! What a triumph, a life well lived with zest and energy, creating beauty out of ugliness and disorder wherever her fingers touched. She was a special friend who always encouraged us to do all we did as unto the Lord, and no one else. Her mantra was “to the praise of his glory” and this was evident in each of the buildings she restored on campus, the gardens she created, and the flower arrangements at graduation ceremonies. She left beautiful artistic touches wherever she went.
Lazarus Mokobake – Her public commitment to the success of her husband’s endeavours was inspiring to watch and learn. Carmen’s love and commitment to us not only as students but also as young people (who in many ways were learning to be independent and be leaders) was unparalleled. I learned for three years in the early 90s that a white couple can be humane, human, and display the principles of botho (ubuntu). They endured so much to raise future evangelical leaders in the height of apartheid. Constantly being harassed and questioned for mixing black learners and whites. Very brave thing to do then. Their respect and love for the college community was amazing. Carmen was a rock (imbokoto) and a mother to generations of pastors.
Bill Houston – Carmena was a wonderful people’s person who had a ready chuckle, sparkling eyes and a great encourager of others with a ready word of appreciation. Her love for Jesus and passionate enjoyment of all things beautiful expressed the creative beauty of God.
Our hearts go out to Dr Capp, as well as to Ken, Ruth, and Karen.
Hamba kahle, Carmena!