Meet the Minister

Rev Melanie Cook

Melanie Ina Lyon was born on the 27th of March 1981, in Harare Zimbabwe. Bill and Glynnis Lyon were her parents, and older sister Mandy. In 1986 the family immigrated to South Africa, due to a transfer in her father’s company. They settled in a small suburb near Lyndhurst and Melanie went to Rembrandt Park Primary school and later to Sandringham High.

During those formative years, the family joined St Giles Presbyterian Church in Orchards. Bill was an elder and Glynnis sang in the choir. When Gavin Lock (not yet the reverend)join the congregation as assistant to the minister, he started up a youth group. After some time, Gavin asked his good friend Gordon Cook to come and lead the group, which he did. After a few years of being friends, Melanie and Gordon fell in love and started dating. 

Also, during that time St Giles had a confirmation class during which Melanie began to feel a deep sense of call to Ministry. Upon speaking to the current minister, the Rev Maake Masango, the session recommended her name to Presbytery to attend fellowship of vocation, which she did.

After she had completed the year, the convener and others expressed concerns over her age and experience and her application wasn’t forwarded to Ministry Committee of General Assembly. Distraught at this news, Melanie decided she would matriculate and go to the university of Natal to begin her studies in theology anyway.

During that first year, she was contacted by the new Presbytery Moderator the Rev Terry Sparks, who asked her to meet with him;  after that meeting, the Presbytery supported her call and her name was forwarded to Ministry Committee, and soon after went to selection conference and was selected as a student for Ministry in the UPCSA. In 2002 Melanie completed her studies and graduated.

In 2003, Gordon and Melanie got married in the February and in the March, she was placed by the denomination at St Columba’s Presbyterian Church (Parkview). Originally Melanie was only meant to do 6 months at St Columba’s, due to the St Columba’s trust paying for her; but at her last session meeting the Rev Alan Maker asked the elders if anyone would like to sponsor the next 6 months, as she needed a full year to complete her training and be ordained. Before the end of the session meeting, finances had been donated and Melanie was invited to stay for the remainder of her Probation year.

In May 2004 Melanie was ordained to word and sacrament and was inducted as assistant minister to the Reverends Alan Maker and Chunky Young.

At the beginning of 2005 Melanie was appointed to Trinity Presbyterian Church, as assistant minister to the Reverend George Marchinkowski; and during her time there, Melanie and Gordon were blessed with their two children Joshua and Rebecca. After a few of balancing work and family life, Melanie decided that she would like step back from ministry to stay home and focus on their children and became minister-in-association at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

After two years, Melanie was approached by her “home” congregation: St Giles and was asked to return to become their minister in a part-time position. Melanie served St Giles for 10 years, during which the congregation decided to sell the sanctuary and move to a house, to begin a new chapter in their ministry.

Late last year (2022) Melanie felt that the Lord was calling her to take up the position at St Columba’s, after due process Melanie was inducted into the pastoral charge of the congregation on the 22nd of January 2023