Grahamstown

Dean’s Letter, June 25 2017

 

Dear Cathedral family

With the National Arts Festival, and Spiritfest, beginning later this week, it is all systems go! Congratulations and thank you to the wonderful Spiritfest organising committee, chaired so ably by Maggy Clarke, for their hard work, and the creative and exciting programme that they have put together. By the time you read this, the Long Table will have moved into St George’s Hall, and the 40 Stones art exhibition will be in the Cory Room. It is always something of a whirlwind for everyone, and I ask that we hold our office staff in our prayers as they cope with all the comings and goings. It is a very demanding time. Please hold in prayer, also, our various acts of worship during the Festival.

Looking ahead a bit: together with PCC, we are planning our annual parish visitation programme, to take place once again, in August and September this year. This has become something of an annual practice (though we missed doing it last year). Pastoral care for our parishioners is a vital part of what we do as the body of Christ. We seek to reach out to one another, to share burdens, to listen, to hear concerns, to pray with and for one another; and at times to encourage those who have lost heart or are in despair, or who have fallen away from a life of worship.

This visitation programme is not the only visiting that happens, of course. I am aware of between five and fifteen pastoral visits or personal contacts, most weeks, on the part of the Cathedral clergy, and I am sure that there are many other visits and conversations and prayers that happen on a daily basis. Much of the week by week pastoral care that happens is in response to crises, needs, particular concerns.

But our annual visitation programme is to ensure that everyone gets a visit, at least once a year, from the Cathedral leadership. We shall have a preparatory briefing meeting on Wednesday 19th July, 5.30 p.m., in the Cory Room, and the visiting will commence as soon as possible after that. Please let me know if you would like to be part of the team for 2017. And please check the parish roll to ensure that you, and people you know, are on the roll! Without that, we won’t know who to visit.

My dear godmother, Nola Houston, has died in Stellenbosch, at the age of 102. Born in 1915, her great grandfather was Bishop Nathaniel Merriman of Grahamstown, and a descendant of John X Merriman, last Prime Minister of the Cape before Union. He was the owner of the farm “Schoongezicht”, outside Stellenbosch. Nola was born there and ended up living her entire life there as well. She was a remarkable person and I thank God for the gift that she was to many, many people, not least to me. I am travelling down to Stellenbosch later this week, to preach at her memorial service.

My love to you all