Grahamstown

Dean’s Letter, October 15 2017

Dear Cathedral family

Beginning this past Monday, Revd Claire is now at the Good Shepherd School for a morning a week, as part-time chaplain and counsellor. She will lead the assembly on  that day, and be available to see children and staff during her time there. This is a ministry that is greatly needed at the school, and is an area in which Revd Claire is particularly gifted, as a trained social worker as well as a priest and pastor. The school, through the Good Shepherd Trust, will be reimbursing the Cathedral for Revd Claire’s time. I am very glad that this ministry door has opened, and we are grateful to the Good Shepherd Trust for making it possible. The Cathedral has a strong link with the school, both historically and in recent years, with regular school services taking place in the Cathedral, informal links – pastoral visits, prayer, support for staff, the occasional assembly – and now this more structured and definite relationship. Claire spent her first full morning at the school last week, and will continue there tomorrow morning (Monday).

The Cathedral clock has been out of time for a while, as you may have noticed. Richard Grant, who used to look after it, has now offered to do so again. We have gratefully accepted his offer! And our Cathedral bells are now being rung every Sunday evening, as far as possible, and it is so good to hear them again. At one point, there were only two ringers available, not enough to keep the bells going. But a plan has been made and the bells are ringing again. Thank you to our bell ringers!

I attend a two-day canon law meeting in Johannesburg, on Friday and Saturday this week, returning late on Saturday afternoon. The work of the Anglican Canon Law Society is often “behind the scenes” but fascinating (for some) and of value, nevertheless! I think that we turn to the law to help us when we get into a fix. Sometimes too quickly! But we need to know our rights and also our responsibilities in an organisation. We have various rights as members of the church – to receive ministry, the sacraments, pastoral care – and we have responsibilities – to build up the church with love and with our support, to join in its ministry and witness, to share in its life. When things go wrong, the first step is to see what can be done to restore the relationship and put things back on track. Canon law (the law of the church) helps to give shape to our life together as the people of God, as the family. It guides us and gives us boundaries; and it helps us (up to a point) when there is potential damage or harm.

Many thanks to our two churchwardens, Ronaldo Burger (treasurer) and Paul Walters (alternate) for addressing us today on giving and pledging. I ask each Cathedral member to commit to regular giving to the life of the church for the year ahead.

My love to you all