As a Leadership Team at Willows, we desire to see our community, city, country and continent healed and transformed by the love and truth of Jesus Christ our Lord. We are committed to seeking God’s face in our attempts to accomplish this goal.
If you have any questions for or about, our staff, our leadership, our congregational volunteers or anything else, please contact Lillian, our office administrator.
Graeme Mercer, Senior Pastor
Graeme provides vision, leadership and guidance to the ministry team at Willows, and empowers the lay members of the church according to their gifting to fulfill the purpose for which God has planted His church in this community.
Having qualified initially as a Metallurgical Engineer at the University of the Witwatersrand, Graeme first worked in the industry for 11 years before God called him into the full-time itinerant ministry in 1995. After acquiring his B Theology degree at the University of South Africa, he was ordained and has ministered in three churches prior to coming to Willows in 2011.
Graeme and Kathy married in 1984 and have three adult children, Thomas, James and Amber-Rose. Outside his passion for Jesus and ministry, his interests include rugby, cricket, golf, music and the outdoors.
John Botha, Worship & Arts Pastor
Born into a Christian household, John has been involved in leading worship and in drama since his high school years (quite a bit of the drama has been of his own making, but we digress). John sings and also plays the piano and the bass guitar, and has an eclectic musical taste ranging across Jazz, Rock, Fusion, Blues, Classical, … . He believes he does not spend enough time reading literature.
On the other side of the coin, John holds degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. He has a passion to uplift people through teaching and taught at university and in industry. He also has qualifications and experience in management and in aligning IT to business, both of which are great passions. His scientific bent finds great joy in the harmony of Creation and also helps in his pursuit of excellent live sound.
Over the past few years God has been taking John on a journey of personal change and growth, which he says is far more difficult to navigate than it was to raise their two children with his wife, Helen. Both their children are the best in the world and are married to wonderful spouses.
Andre van der Bergh, Ransom Foundation / Willows Missions Director
Andre has for the past 22 years mentored teams in different countries by transforming communities and advocating hope to those in need, one person at a time. He believes that the labour of love extended to our beneficiaries is a relationship journey and not an event or activity. Relationship is everything!
He is able to converse in Afrikaans, English, Dutch and Albanian and thoroughly enjoys studying new cultures and cultural trends while coaching our team from different cultural backgrounds. Andre is married to Dutch-born Lidy and the proud father of two beautiful daughters Saranda and Amber. He holds a Masters in Law degree in International Business Law, BComm, LL.M.
Here is a man with a very big heart. He is a father to the fatherless.
Simisile Ngomane, Deacon
Simisile is a deacon at Willows Methodist Church. She heads the HEAL pillar of Willows, which includes homecare and hospital visitation, and the support and guidance ministry. Her portfolio includes her active involvement in missions and outreach; she has an important role in community upliftment, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), and the fill-a-bag initiative.
Simi is married to James, and she is a loving mother to two boys, Xoli and Sthelo. Helping people is a calling very close to her heart.
Lidy van der Bergh, Children's Ministry Director
Born and raised in the beautiful northern part of the Netherlands, Lidy had no idea that one day she would move to South Africa. While working as a Dental Assistant she got to know the Lord Jesus at age 21. Three months later she stepped into missions by volunteering with a Dutch/ American mission that smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe. Through this experience she knew she wanted to serve the Lord full-time on the mission field. During a three year training at an International Missionary training college, the Lord called her to the country of Albania.
In 1997 she joined OM and moved to this small country in the Balkans. The work in Albania was mainly church planting and children’s evangelism was her main responsibility. She met Andre, who came all the way from George, South Africa. They got married in 1999 and served in Albania for 11 years. In 2009 the Lord added Saranda to their family through adoption, after which they moved to Italy, reaching out to Albanians and helping the small struggling church there. In 2014 they moved to Pretoria, where Lidy continued reaching out to children, mainly in the townships. In 2018 he Lord blessed them with another daughter named Amber.
In March of this year Lidy took on the role of Children’s Pastor at Willows Methodist Church. Her passion is to see every child come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and help them as they follow Him.
Yury Gaudard, Youth & Young Adults Pastor
Yury Gaudard is the Youth and Young Adults pastor for Willows Methodist Church. Yury is Brazilian and grew up in Rio de Janeiro. He is a beach boy and misses it quite a lot. He came to South Africa as a missionary and met Deidre Gaudard. Her beauty blew his mind away when they first met at a church service and then later at McDonald's.
They came to Willows Methodist Church in 2017 and have been serving in the Youth and Young Adults Ministry since then. They value family, conversations over a good cup of coffee and a lekker braai. Their heartbeat is to know God and to make Him known.
Lillian Viljoen, Administrator
Lillian is the secretary for the resident minister and offers administrative support to the church staff, congregation and various ministries. She has been employed by the church for over 20 years, having started when it was still Hatfield Methodist Church with Rev Dudley Goodenough. She was part of the building and the move of the church to the Willows.
Lillian and her husband, Dawie were married in 1984 and they have two adult children, Elaine and Stephan. She is involved in the counseling ministry and her greatest passions are her Lord, this church and its people. Lillian loves spending time with her friends and family and enjoying a good movie or theatre production.