Salvation Army’s ‘guardian angel’ folds her wings

Carol Rennie (middle) was given a farewell party at the Benoni Salvation Army Family Care Centre, on March 27. She was asked to retire after more than 25 years service. Her daughter Lesley Golding and son Justin Rennie, were at the function, as was her other son, Kieron.

Resident Winnie Kgasi said Rennie was like a mother and grandmother to many residents of the centre.

“She is a guardian angel in our lives,” Kgasi added.

“If it was not for Auntie Carol, we would have been doing a lot of bad things.

“She makes us see the positive side of life and makes us feel like it is worth living.

“There is something about this woman I cannot explain.”

A farewell function was held at the centre on March 27.

The Salvation Army asked Rennie to retire, due to her age, after she had worked there for just over 25 years.

The 73-year-old said she is sad to leave and would have continued giving her services had she been allowed to.

“I am leaving with a heavy heart, because it has been such a great part of my life,” she said.

Rennie started work at the Benoni Salvation Army Family Care Centre in 1978, when the establishment housed 140 people; it now sees to 85.

She stepped in after the founders of the centre, Barry and Anja Schwartz, asked her to oversee the facility while they were on holiday.

“I felt led to pray about it and offer my services,” Rennie told the City Times.

“I spoke to my husband, Ian, and my children (Justin and Kieron Rennie and Lesley Golding) and I said I felt this is where God wants me to be.”

She left the cenre in 1993, as she had been working without payment, and returned in 2006, as a paid staffer.

Rennie praised God for the success of the centre over the years.

“In all those years I never once had to go into the dining room and say ‘there is no dinner tonight’,” she said.

Denise Powell, who has worked with Rennie for six years and lives at the centr, described her colleague as a non-judgemental person ”who will be sorely missed”.

“Whether you come out of the gutter or a palace; you are all equal in her eyes,” said Powell.

“She treats you exactly the same; there is no favouritism, no matter what your colour.

“She is a perfect lady; she has been sent from God above as an angel.”

Rennie wished the Salvation Army well.

“I want the centre to grow; I want people out there who have, to realise there are people who have nothing and to help the centre.”

To donate to the Benoni Salvation Army Family Care Centre call 011 422 4418.

Kevin van der List

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