People and Places
The Cathedral is delighted to welcome Deacon Bertha Gowera, who is doing the fourth year of her Bachelor in Theology at the College of the Transfiguration. This year she is required to spend two seven-week blocks on a “parish placement”, which is what brings her to the Cathedral. She is a Zimbabwean, married to a teacher, and herself worked as a teacher before studying for the ordained ministry.
The Dean announced another new appointment on 26 March, that of a Director of Music to succeed AJ Bethke who leaves after Easter. Cameron Luke will be coming to us from Cheltenham in England, where he has been Director of Music at All Saints’ Church for ten years. He already has experience of working outside the UK, having been Kantor (organist) at a church in Nesbyen, Norway, before he went up to Worcester College Oxford to study music. Unfortunately the date of his arrival in Grahamstown cannot yet be announced, as it is dependent on how long it takes the South African authorities to grant him a work visa. In the meantime the Cathedral music will be in the hands of a team of organists and pianists, the Choir School Committee, and the choir intern Kepa (Kutlwano Kepadisa) and marimba intern Asakhe Cuntsulana.
Shrove Tuesday fell on 28 February this year, and Sally Terry and her wonderful team of volunteers of all ages produced a record number of 840 pancakes. Due to the generosity of many who had contributed to the ingredients, the money raised from their sale was almost all profit. The sum raised for the Bishop’s Lent Appeal was a whopping R7,931. In addition to this, the evening was a tremendous social success, with many of the customers sitting down to eat and chat together.
The solemn evening Eucharist which marked the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday was unexpectedly held by candle-light, due to a serious power-cut which in the centre of town lasted well into the next day. The result was beautiful and memorable. As members of the choir sang plainsong in Latin and Greek (Kyrie Eleison), we felt united with the church throughout the ages. And then we were brought right into the here and now with African Amens and the Prayer for Africa.
The Annual Vestry meeting saw the re-election of all Churchwardens and Parish Councillors with the exception of Lunga Dongwana, who as a Deacon is now an ex officio member of the Council. We congratulate them, and wish God’s blessing on the important roles they fulfil in the parish. They are: Churchwardens Ronaldo Burger and Ian Meiklejohn, Alternate Churchwarden Paul Walters, and PCC members Jane Bradshaw, Rose Spannenberg, Cathy Euijen, Rodney Bridger and Patrick Pringle. Sister Carol CR represents the Sisters. The Cathedral Student Ministry and ANSOC are also entitled to send reps. When the Dean admitted the Wardens and Councillors on 12 March, he also licensed the Revd Luthando Madiba on behalf of the Bishop. Luthando received a ‘General Licence’ rather than being licensed to the Cathedral, in view of the nature of his work as Media Officer, which involves travelling all around the Diocese.
Our sympathy to the Dongwana family, on the death of Yoliswa’s brother Mpilo Ian Ngxilo, to Sub-Dean Mzi whose aunt Muriel Bam has died, and to Thelma Neville on the loss of her beloved sister-in-law Molly Thorndyke, who died in East London.
On Saturday morning 18 March Andrew and Heather Tracey were attacked in their home by two young men, who hit Andrew and tied them both up. We give thanks to God that their injuries were not serious, and that one of the perpetrators was immediately arrested by Hi-Tech, who also recovered Andrew’s precious laptop. Released from hospital after a few hours’ observation, Andrew was able to go home to Heather the same afternoon, and the two of them attended the 09:30 service at the Cathedral the very next day. We pray for their complete recovery from the trauma of the event.
The CSM students enjoyed a double feature movie night recently, and raised R220 towards their forthcoming camp next term. The Sunday night “God and the F____ word” series has been well received, with plenty of opportunity for engaging and discussing the input in small groups in the context of the services. A Bible Study group for students plans to meet every second week in term time. The Young Adults “Connect Group” is finally starting at the end of March, rather later than planned due to various unexpected delays – not least that Anna Talbot was part of an overseas music tour with the KZN youth orchestra!
The annual Masicule concert presented by the National Arts Festival and directed by Gareth Walwyn, featured school choirs and singing ensembles from across the city, in a packed Monument Theatre. Among them were the choirs of Nombulelo High School, the combined choir of DSG and St Andrew’s College and Kingswood College Senior Choir, as well as their Band. Kepa conducted the Kingswood choir. Most of the junior members of the Cathedral Choir took part in either the VGHS Choir or the Leopard’s Voice (Graeme College small choir). In addition some VGHS members of the Cathedral choir sang in an a capella group called #_Official. Their choice of ‘Chandelier’ (definitely not church music!) was enthusiastically received, and they must be congratulated on arranging the music themselves.
It is proving hard to let go of our well-beloved Cathedral Director of Music AJ Bethke. As proof of the affection and esteem in which he is held by the parish and the wider community in Grahamstown, a whole series of farewell events have been organised. Some of these will be described in the next issue of People and Places, but to begin proceedings he gave a recital on the organ of Kingswood College, consisting entirely of the works of J S Bach, on the occasion of that composer’s 332nd birthday. It is too easy to take the talents of an organist for granted, when the music is a background to movement or prayer in a service. But in the context of a recital we were given a glimpse of what is involved – playing one tune with the right hand, another with the left, and yet another with the FEET! Next came AJ’s last Evensong conducting the full Cathedral Choir with the Juniors, on 26 March, at which Pat Terry paid tribute to him for the contribution he has made to the choir and Cathedral.
Andrew Tracey organised a grand Farewell Concert in the Cathedral on 27 March. To open proceedings, AJ was honoured with a breathtaking fanfare on kudu horns, after which Paul Walters spoke movingly on behalf of the Cathedral community. Kepa, the choir intern, also gave a word of thanks. A number of choirs took part: the Cathedral Choir of course, conducted by AJ himself, the Pro Carmine Singers, University Madrigal Singers and the Rhodes Chamber Choir. All of these include members of the Cathedral Choir. The St Michael’s Marimbas performed, and AJ gave us another wonderful Bach Fugue on the organ. There were solos by soprano Jo-nette Le Kay, with guitar and recorder accompaniment. Poets from among the congregation offered items; Chris Mann performed ‘the Jesus of the Holy Land, a psalm for today’. And what would such an occasion be without one of Pat Terry’s delightfully witty parodies? He and Charles Antrobus treated us to a responsorial psalm which resonated with choir members in particular – e.g. “Some have mouths and open not/ eyes have they and look not. They have ears and listen not/ music they have and read not”. The finale consisted of all the choirs together, with singers from Graeme College, singing a Brazilian song and a final “Hamba kakuhle!”
A warm welcome to all students, new and returning. We give thanks for a peaceful and amicable start to the Rhodes and Cape Midland College terms. The Cathedral Student Ministry has resumed, and the first series of addresses at the 7 o’clock Student Services on Sunday evenings has begun. This has the cheeky title: “God and the F…. word”, e.g. “FEEL like this is where I belong, a home from home.”
We ask God’s blessing on the Core Team, pictured here. Back (left to right): Anelisa Kelemi (worship), Ayanda Dabengwa (tea) Kepa (Kutlwano Kepadisa, worship), Ayabulela Matolweni (Advertising), Odi Lehasa (secretary). Front (left to right): Zenande Landu (Advertising), Nomvelo Masango (Fundraising), Rosa Msweli (chairperson), Rev. Dr. Claire Nye Hunter. Absent: Theo Duxbury, Zikhona Mtwa.
For the second year running, the Makana Choir School has appointed a student intern to
assist with the training and mentoring of the young choristers. Kutlwano Kepadisa, always known as Kepa (see above), is a third-year student who took part in a conducting course which AJ Bethke ran last year. Happily, Anelisa Kelemi, last year’s intern, is still around to assist as well. This is a great blessing as we face the prospect of a possible interregnum when AJ leaves after Easter, before the post of Cathedral Director of Music is filled.
It was a pleasure to welcome back for another visit former Cathedral music director and organist Barbara and Wilf Stout. Although they must have been glad to escape the Scottish winter for a few weeks, they were not exactly on holiday, as they were kept busy emptying their Grahamstown house so that it can be let or sold. They succeeded in this task, and left town on 21 February, but they have assured us that they will come back and see us again. Another welcome overseas visitor was Cathy and Patrick Pringle’s daughter Janet, with her partner Mark, from India. Patience Osadebe, a visiting academic from Nigeria, and widow of a Canon of the Anglican Church, has been worshipping with us while she is working at Rhodes Pharmacy Department for a month.
After six years studying at Rhodes, Faith Magwenzi has handed in her Masters thesis, and departed to take up a post in Johannesburg. We wish God’s blessing on her move, and in her new job.
Deepest sympathy to Alfonso and Raquel Michaels, on the sudden death of their twelve-year-old daughter Alanah. She apparently died as the result of a diabetic episode (type 1 diabetes). We also pray for Siphokazi Njokweni, whose aunt died on 27 December, and remember with thanksgiving the life of former organist at this Cathedral, Ivan Kilian.
Andrew Tracey was admitted to hospital in Port Elizabeth recently after an episode which left him temporarily unable to speak. We give thanks that he was soon able to speak (and sing) again, and was fit enough to be discharged a few days later. We pray for his full recovery, and for Audrey Holmes, who has been having severe pain in her knee since falling at home in St Luke’s.
On 23 February AJ Bethke gave an organ recital, this time not on the Cathedral organ, but on the newly restored instrument in Commemoration Methodist Church. As that organ was designed and built in the Romantic period, AJ’s choices of music were mainly in that style, featuring composers such Guilmant and Mendelssohn, and ending with the ever-popular Toccata from Widor’s 5th Symphony. What a treat!
The Cathedral bells have been silent recently due to a sad lack of ringers. By contrast on the afternoon of Saturday 25 February, all ten of them were to be heard, courtesy of a band of ringers from England. They were taking part in a tour which included peals on all the ringable bells in New Zealand and Australia before proceeding to South Africa and Zimbabwe. The peal was streamed live on the internet, so Colin Lewis, who was instrumental in the restoration of Grahamstown Cathedral’s bells, and who inspired a wonderful revival of enthusiasm for bell-ringing here, was able to listen to them from his home in Wales. He wrote: click here.
The majority of South Africans feel deeply concerned for the state of our beloved country, whether we think of education, finances, or the quality of governance. United Prayer for South Africa (Up4SA), a country-wide initiative of Christians from many denominations, organised prayer services to take place simultaneously all over the country on the afternoon of Sunday 26 February. The Cathedral hosted the Grahamstown service, which was attended by a relatively small but diverse group of Christians.
Later the same evening there was a Choral Evensong with a difference, celebrating the life and works of George Herbert, an English poet-priest who died in 1632. Some of his devotional poems were read, and others sung because they are favourite hymns, like “Teach me, my God and King”. One, “The Call”, was sung as an anthem by the choir to a setting by AJ Bethke. If any of those present wondered why some members of the choir went bare-foot, the explanation is that they had been finding it difficult to remember the rule “black (or brown) shoes in the sanctuary”. An ingenious new amendment to the rule was introduced on 26 February: “black (or brown) shoes – or nothing on your feet….” Even some of the adults were caught out.
On 29 January the Cathedral was packed for our annual Back to School service at 09:30, with most of the congregation being high school learners in uniform from a number of Grahamstown schools. What a joy to participate in this act of worship, almost entirely led by young people, and with the participation of school choirs and the juniors of the Cathedral Choir. The sermon was given by the Revd David Stansbury, Chaplain at St Andrew’s College.
Congratulations to the newest member of our clergy team. Lunga Dongwana was ordained as a self-supporting transitional Deacon on 10 December in Bernard Mizeki Church, Scenery Park. We pray God’s blessing on this new phase in his already fruitful ministry at the Cathedral.
In one exciting week in December we welcomed not one but two new babies, children of priests at the Cathedral. On the 6th Lusanda and Luthando Madiba were blessed with their first-born daughter, Lulibo. And then on the 10thSamila Dyantyi was born to Sub-Dean Mzi and Lilitha, a brother for Sambesiwe. Congratulations and blessings on them all.
Celia Jameson, beloved physician in this town and member of the Cathedral choir, sadly died on 20 December. Her long illness had not prevented her from carrying on with her practice almost until the end. Despite the usual tendency for large numbers of Grahamstown people to go away for Christmas, Celia’s funeral in the Cathedral on the morning of Christmas Eve was exceptionally well attended, and there was even a choir. Our sympathy goes to her husband Peter Rose and the family. News also reached us of the death of a former Cathedral member who was living in Cape Town, Roger Adams, and Peter Clarke, brother of the late Canon Bob Clarke, died in the British Virgin Islands on 29 November. Dorrie Nuttall, wife of a former Dean of Grahamstown Michael Nuttall, later Bishop of Natal, died at the beginning of November. One of the residents of St Luke’s, Hazel Maclean, died at the end of January. Prayers are asked for their families.
Services over Christmas included a second Carol Service, with the adults of the Choir, on 18 December, and the lively and popular Crib Service on the afternoon of 24 December. Once again Nicola Hunter had assembled an ad hoc orchestra from among her friends to accompany the carols.This time there were some adult actors in the impromptu Nativity Tableau, and a real live baby. The parts of Joseph and Mary were played by Sylvester and Christeice Appollis, with baby Arabella as Jesus.
Christmas 2016 was an occasion for several family gatherings. Paul and June Walters hosted their four sons, plus three daughters-in-law and all the grandchildren, for a belated celebration of their 45thwedding anniversary. Geoff and Margie Antrobus gathered a grand assembly of over thirty relatives in Kenton, at the home of Geoff’s mother Sheila. This included their daughter Helen Pfister and her husband and children from New Zealand. Maggy Clarke has fewer relatives but all nine of them had a family holiday together at Mdumbi in the Transkei, to celebrate her 70th birthday.
The Vandereyken family all went home to Belgium for a family Christmas, but are back again for the new school term. We give thanks for the Bridge the Gap students who completed their courses with Oasis Grahamstown, and pray for the new intake now being recruited to take this one-year course for unemployed young people. It equips them with computer skills, readies them for the work-place, and for some may lead to the chance to train as teachers.
A Christmas circular received from former Cathedral assistant priest Andy Kruger and his wife Heather brings the news that Heather is studying Astrophysics at Princeton University in the USA. Andy has been appointed to Trinity Episcopal Church, Cranford, not far from New York, but is still awaiting the granting of his Religious Worker Visa.
In the New Year the Royal School of Church Music held a Summer School for choristers at St Martin’s School Rosettenville, Johannesburg. Three members of the Cathedral choir attended: juniors Liyema Bobotyani and Liqhame Beja, and Maggy Clarke. This was a special experience, singing with a different group and learning new music, under the enthusiastic leadership of a young Director from the UK, Jonathan Lee.
Congratulations are in order for a number of Cathedral people for a wide variety of achievements. Timothy Stephen, our verger, was admitted as a member of the Bernard Mizeki Guild at St Augustine’s Church. The Deputy Chair of the Cathedral Student Ministry, Odi Lehasa, was crowned “Miss Commonwealth South Africa”! Sally Matthews and her son Noah (9), were the first mother-and-son duo to achieve 50 Parkruns in Grahamstown. Special congratulations go to our 2016 Matrics, among them Thandiwe Gabavana, Zintle Mvula and Sivu Citywa who are going on to study at NMMU, while Yondela Kalipa is going to UCT to study socio-informatics. Anda Ntlali hopes to work this year before studying further. Ilse de Vos has been accepted to study Medicine at Wits. Two members of the Cathedral Choir at Graeme College, Sange Loliwe and Kamva Ntapu, wrote Matric. Sange received three As and Kamva one. Well done to them all, and every good wish for the future. Revd Claire’s younger sister, Judith Duk, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy on 20 January. Thankfully the op went well and she is making a remarkable recovery. Claire took a week’s compassionate leave to drive to Cape Town in order to offer support and practical help (including lifting her Grade 1 and Grade 3 children to and from school!)
Congratulations to Khonzi Somandi, now in the 3rd year of his BSc at Rhodes. He has written a song which he sings with Lutho Zono, and which can be heard on YouTube: “Dear Black Child”. Lutho, who was a member of the Cathedral Choir while at VP, and went on to Kingswood College, is registering for a BA in law at Rhodes this year.
We pray for a peaceful start to the university year, and blessings on all returning and new students and members of staff at Rhodes.