I personally will miss Dr Mervin very much. Our parents knew each other many, many years ago, and I’ve been aware of him for just as long. He was about the same age as my oldest sister and I became better acquainted with him as a teenager at a youth camp where he was the leader. Even at that stage he displayed the embodiment of what he teaches in the course which is non-judgmental acceptance, and unconditional love for the counselee.
I have the greatest respect for the HCCC course that he had compiled. It’s an incredibly worthwhile and wonderful legacy that he has left behind. He has impacted thousands of lives through the students who became counsellors. His out-the-box thinking challenged countless students to re-examine their worldviews. Many students wrote that the course content had freed them from their limited perceptions and restrictive thinking that often kept them in bondage.
The course material is of such high quality and so valuable that my wish is that hundreds if not thousands of students should enrol so that the church may be hugely impacted by competent and knowledgeable counsellors.
It’s with sadness and great fondness that I will always remember him for the wise and compassionate person he had been.
May you Hildegard and your family, be comforted by knowing that he is held in the highest esteem by so many students and every person he has ever counselled.
(Selma Rudd, Co-lecturer, Counselling Team)
When Prof Mervin entered my life, I had no idea that he would become one of the most significant voices in my world. He was the gentle, wise voice in my ears when I commenced my studies in the HCCC program in 2017 and I absorbed every word from his lectures eagerly. His famous, ‘Kudos to you’, was one of the most endearing phrases he frequently used. He challenged my beliefs regarding counselling with kindness and sometimes tongue-in-cheek, welcoming in-depth discussions and reasoning, and always steering me towards Christ’s example of non-judgmental acceptance, positive regard and unselfish love for those who are ‘unlovable’, in our opinion. I literally ‘fell off’ my ‘moral high horse’ as Prof Mervin guided me to profound insights in God’s word and regarding coming alongside hurting people.
Prof Mervin also became a mentoring voice in my life. When I met him at the graduation ceremony in 2019, he expressed the potential he saw in me which I couldn’t see at that point, but soon after that, I was appointed as a part-time lecturer in the HCCC program. As a lecturer, Prof Mervin had built solid foundations in my counselling education and as a mentor, he continued building into me whilst keeping his eye on fulfilling the goal God had set before him as the creator of the HCCC program.
Prof Mervin became my friend. His honesty, wisdom and authenticity, sometimes without any ‘bedside manners’, would become a trusted plumbline I would hold onto. Since we became colleagues, he would often joke about the ‘green bus’ which might run him over one day and I was encouraged to learn all I could learn from him regarding the courses and how to be the best lecturer I could be. In the process, he taught me about living life to the fullest, making the most of every opportunity, loving God with all my heart, loving people extravagantly, teaching my students under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, counselling with excellence, being faithful to fulfill what God had set out for me to do on this earth and nurturing my relationship with my Savior until he calls me home.
The metaphorical ‘green bus’ had finally arrived for my dear mentor and friend. He is home with our Creator now – no more pain and suffering, but eternal joy, peace and comfort. Prof Mervin leaves behind an inspiring legacy and I can just imagine the Lord welcoming him with, ‘You’ve finished your race well, Mervin, kudos to you’.
Prof. Mervin, the author and creator of the Paraklesis model, was someone who reached into latent potential of students and lecturers alike, infusing them with the fuel to become a better version of who they are, towards Christlikeness.
As a beneficiary of his generosity, I am grateful for every hour he invested into the work that we are privileged to continue. His knowledge and character pour through our courses and through our memories, and we are not left without direction.
I am grateful for his work, his passion, his integrity, his commitment, his generosity. Truly we are different because we have encountered Prof. Mervin van der Spuy.
May his family be held close to the heart of God at this time.
I am grateful that he showed me how to use psychology within the theology space and help God’s people.