Grahamstown

Dean’s Letter, October 8 2017

Dear Cathedral family

I returned late on Saturday, a week ago, from the annual Provincial Standing Committee (PSC) of our church, just in time to attend the wonderful Cathedral Prestige Concert! What a delight the concert was! An experience of life, energy, creativity, talent, ability. Well done and thank you to the organisers – Kepa, Asakhe, and Namso – and all who took part!

Back to PSC. The Cathedral is part of the diocese of Grahamstown. We are also part of a national (and international) structure and community: the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, with our 28 dioceses in SA, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, and St Helena; and the Anglican Communion, consisting of a large number of self-governing Provinces, each led by its own archbishop. Keeping in touch and doing things together takes time and effort, but we are the richer for it. These gatherings remind me of the depth and diversity of the Anglican Church, as much as we are aware of our struggles and limitations.

PSC was preceded by the Synod of Bishops; their pastoral letter is on the Cathedral webpage. Among other matters, the bishops elected Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe, Suffragan-Bishop of Natal, as the next Bishop of Mthatha. He will be installed on December 9th.

PSC, like Provincial Synod, is an opportunity to grapple with issues that we face as church and nation. It is a time for introspection as well as looking beyond ourselves. So we looked at clergy training, the well-being of the College of the Transfiguration, the use and abuse of alcohol in our society, the environment, our relationships with other churches, our life of worship and developments with liturgy, water and sanitation, the infrastructure of schools, the crises we face, and much else besides. It is a time when the joys and the struggles of our church are brought together in prayer, in hope, in celebration, and in our commitment to make a difference. And we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood. It was good to catch the final Eucharist of that conference, attended by many women clergy, including Revd Claire.

I was deeply saddened to hear, last Sunday evening, of the death of Mary Humphreys, director of the Raphael Centre. She made an immense contribution to the lives of many, and her death is a great loss to the entire community. May she rest in peace.

Claire and I are grateful for the alertness of our newly acquired puppy, Rocket, who woke Claire up late last Friday night (I was in Johannesburg), as the provincial traffic department building next door started to go up in flames. It was the work of arsonists. Claire was able to phone the fire brigade and alert the Sub Dean and his family. The fire brigade and the police responded very quickly indeed. If the trees on the property had caught alight, both the deanery and the sub deanery might have been lost. Rocket saved the day!

My love to you all