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Johannesburg - The troubled love life of Rhema Bible Church leader pastor Ray McCauley has at last been blessed with a ray of light.
Congregants at the Randburg church were told on Sunday of the latest development in the religious leader’s often colourful personal life: that McCauley and his estranged second wife, pastor Zelda McCauley, had reconciled.
A churchgoer - who asked to remain anonymous - said the congregation was told to stay behind after the 10am service as there would be important announcements.
“The church’s board members then took to the stage as the pastor made the announcement that, after four years of divorce, the pastor and pastor Zelda were reconciling. The pastor also said that during the separation, McCauley went through a healing process and his wife Zelda also went through a parallel healing process of her own,” the churchgoer said.
McCauley - who turns 64 on Tuesday - wasn’t at the service. According to the churchgoer, the statement also said Zelda would not be involved in the ministry.
McCauley, a former champion bodybuilder and Mr South Africa, met Zelda - a two-time divorcée and former model - in 2000.
They married in 2001, just a year after McCauley’s bitter divorce from his first wife Lyndie, to whom he had been married for 24 years and with whom he founded the Rhema Bible Church.
The McCauleys started the church under Rhema Ministries SA. At the beginning, only 13 people attended. Now it has become one of the largest churches in the country, boasting several hundred thousand members.
But McCauley and Lyndie’s divorce caused a rift in the congregation, with a large number leaving because they felt the divorce had no biblical grounds.
McCauley’s nine-year marriage with Zelda also had its fair share of ups and downs before their divorce in 2010.
They separated in 2008 due to “fatigue” and “spiritual warfare”, but reconciled after receiving counselling.
The larger-than-life pastor has been criticised in the past for living a lavish life, with reports that the church collected R70 million in tithes and collections a year, but McCauley has consistently defended his lifestyle.
According to the churchgoer, Sunday’s statement urged congregants to pray for the couple and their new lease of marriage.
Rhema spokesman Giet Khosa confirmed the announcement had been made, adding that it was Zelda’s decision not to be involved in the ministry, but that she took the decision “to support pastor Ray McCauley in his calling and ministry”.
Khosa said the church welcomed the announcement with joy, as was evidenced in “the clapping of hands and the standing ovation”.
He added: “Reconciliation, first, is of man to God and people to people… it is part of our DNA as believers. Marriage is of God, and when it is restored and healed, we can only be as happy as the Creator of this institution.”