Welcome to the Website of Grahamstown Cathedral, Makhanda!
Come in, browse around, make yourself at home! From contact details of the Cathedral staff to lists of forthcoming Sunday services, interesting information about our beautiful building, and lots of news (and archived news) of People and Places connected to the Cathedral family – it’s all here. Click on ‘Videos’ on the side menu to hear some of the music of Grahamstown Cathedral.
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Death of Professor Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey, a well-loved member of the Cathedral congregation, died on Friday 12 January 2024, following complications after an operation around Christmas time. Born in 1936, Andrew was a renowned musician and musicologist, whose contribution to the world-wide appreciation of the intricate beauty of African music was incalcuable. Despite all his achievements and honours, he remained humble and approachable, loving and fun to be with. For some years he was a stalwart in the bass line of the Cathedral choir. He was a familiar figure at the annual St George’s Fair, doing a brisk trade sharpening knives and scissors for the public. When he was admitted to hospital in December he sent a message to the Parish Office, asking that someone could be found to take his place, to read a lesson at the Sunday morning service.
He will be greatly missed. We give thanks for his life, and pray for his wife Heather, daughter Mary-Clarke and son Geoffrey. Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him.
Funeral arrangements will be communicated in due course.
School Uniform Appeal
The Bishop’s Office has circulated a letter from Hope Africa appealing for assistance with school uniforms. Banking details where any donations should be paid to appear on the letter.
Elective Assembly Postponed
The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has written to the people of the Diocese of Grahamstown to announce that a joint meeting in East London of the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Trusts Board, which he chaired, it was resolved that the Elective Assembly scheduled for November to elect a new Bishop should be postponed to a date to be arranged. For the reasons behind this decision, and the steps to be taken before the Elective Assembly can take place, read the Archbishop’s Pastoral letter to the Diocese, October 2023.
For further details, and to find out how every parishioner can help to resolve the situation, read the October letter from the Vicar-General.
2023-24 Parish Councillors admitted
Farewell to Canon Melany Adonis
The Cathedral said farewell to Canon Melany Adonis, Sub-Dean and Cathedral Chancellor, together with her husband Hilton, on Sunday 16 July at the Sung Eucharist service. This was followed by a splendid High Tea in St George’s Hall. For more pictures, see our Gallery. To hear some of the music sung at the service, and afterwards at the High Tea, go to our Videos page.
New Choristers Admitted
The Cathedral Choir is growing! On Sunday 18 June the Sub-Dean, Melany Adonis admitted four new Choristers, Phelisa Matyholweni, Oyisa Vena, Emihle Matyholweni, and Luniko. The Choral Scholars and Senior Choristers were also formally admitted at the same service. We give thanks for their beautiful voices, and ask God’s blessing on them.
Pentecost: Archdeaconries’ Farewell to Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali
On Pentecost Sunday, 28 May 2023, the Grahamstown and Albany Archdeaconries held a joint Farewell service and luncheon for Ebenezer Ntlali, who will be retiring in July as Bishop of Grahamstown after 15 years of devoted service. We give thanks for his life and ministry among us, and wish him God’s richest blessings in his retirement. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
On Ascension Day, 18 May, the Cathedral Consort sang at an evening Eucharist service, undeterred by load-shedding. Listen to them sing the Agnus Dei from the Missa Secunda by Hans Leo Hassler.
Easter Carol Service
On Sunday 23 April the Cathedral Consort led a glorious evening service of Easter Carols. Listen to a few of the traditional tunes which they sang, set to Easter words:
- ‘This Joyful Eastertide‘ Traditional Dutch tune, words by George Woodward.
- ‘Walking in a Garden‘ Traditional French tune, words by Hilary Greenwood.
- ‘Now the green blade riseth’ Traditional French tune, words by John Crum.
The Lord is risen indeed!
Early on Easter morning the New Fire was lit, and the congregation processed into the Cathedral to rejoice in the Resurrection of our Lord. Listen to the Precentor, Kutlwano Kepadisa, singing a section of the Exultet (Easter Proclamation). And the Choir singing ‘This Joyful Eastertide‘ (recorded on the morning of 23 April.)
Good Friday was celebrated with a solemn liturgy from noon, at which the choir’s uplifting music played an important part. Listen to them singing the traditional Spiritual, ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?‘, in an arrangement by Bob Chilcott. For more videos of the Cathedral choir, see our Video page.
For the first time since 2019, the Cathedral congregation was able to gather on Church Square before the Palm Sunday service on 2 April 2023 and process with palms! One year of pandemic had been followed by two rainy Palm Sundays. What a joyous occasion! Listen to the choir singing the Palm Sunday Antiphon, and Igama liga Jesu Krestu. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
On 19 March the Cathedral celebrated ‘Mothering Sunday’, the 4th Sunday in Lent. At the 9:30 service Dawn Long, Katie Appollis, and the Children’s Church shared some of the lessons they had been learning together since the beginning of the year, from God’s creation to Jesus in the wilderness, and our own ‘wilderness’ experiences. Mothers in the congregation, and those who fulfil a mothering role, were spoiled with little gifts, and after the service the Mothers’ Union shared a bountiful tea with everyone.
Effects of Tropical Cyclone Freddy
On 14 March the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) invited us to pray urgently for the Churches in Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, and Madagascar, as well as other regions which have been affected by Cyclone Freddy. For specific updates click on Cyclone Freddy Prayer Request.
Live-Streaming of 9:30 Sung Eucharist discontinued
After due consideration, the parish has now taken the decision that in future the 9:30 a.m. Sung Eucharist services will no longer be live-streamed from March 2023. Services of Choral Evensong, and weekday Morning and Evening Prayer, will continue to be live-streamed, load-shedding permitting. We are grateful to all who have acquired new technical skills, and devoted them to enabling the live stream to go out, to reach a wider congregation.
Peter Black appointed Associate Organist
On Sunday 26 February it was announced that Peter Black has been appointed Associate Organist of the Cathedral. Peter was formerly Cathedral Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Cyprian’s Cathedral, Kimberley. He is now resident in Makhanda, and gives lessons to private pupils in piano, organ, voice and music theory. His tall figure and outstanding musical talents have become familiar to us over the months, and we look forward to hearing him play at our principal services on Sundays and special festivals. We welcome him on to the Cathedral team, and ask God’s blessing on his ministry with us.
COTT Students ministering at Cathedral
The Cathedral welcomes two ordinands studying at the College of the Transfiguration, who will be attached to our congregation for ministry and experience throughout 2023. Jason Poole comes all the way from All Saints’ Durbanville, in the Diocese of Saldanha Bay.
Tracey Amein is required to spend 2023, the last year of her BTh studies, in residence at COTT in order to gain pastoral experience, and this means leaving her family behind in her home parish of St Luke’s Pietermaritzburg, in the Diocese of Natal. We welcome them, and pray that their ministry with us, and their studies, will be richly blessed.
Pancakes fly out of St George’s Hall – Success of online ordering scheme
Those who remember the “Pancake Pandemonium” of pre-Covid years might have been surprised at the relatively quiet and orderly state of St George’s Hall on Shrove Tuesday evening, 21 February. No long queues, no hassled assistants rushing back and forth. But in the midst of a long session of load-shedding, we were grateful to all those who had lent gas stoves, which were kept busy on the stage as veterans and new recruits alike turned out pancakes at speed.
Inside the kitchen the heat was on, as those pancakes were filled and wrapped, ready to be collected by those who had already chosen their flavours, placed their orders in advance, and even paid online. Many thanks to all those who contributed with gifts, talents and hard work, to making this evening the success it always is, and raising funds for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
Back to School Service
On Sunday 5 February the Cathedral welcomed those who teach and those who learn, and parents too, from all over the city, for the annual Back to School service, to pray for the school year ahead, and promise to give of their best. Choirs taking part came from St Andrew’s College, the Diocesan School for Girls and Nombulelo Senior Secondary School, as well as the Cathedral Iimvumi and the Makhanda Kwantu Choir, together with the David Wynne Music School String Orchestra, and the Cathedral Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa, was the conductor. During the service the new Principal of Good Shepherd Primary School, Mr Thulani Wana, was inducted into his post with prayer. The address was by the Cathedral Chancellor Melany Adonis, who is also Chaplain to Good Shepherd School.
Ordination of Priests 10 December
It was with great joy that the Cathedral was once again able to host an Ordination service on Saturday 10 December, when Ebenezer Ntlali, Bishop of Grahamstown, ordained 13 priests from all over the Diocese of Grahamstown. These included Siphokazi Njokweni and Luyanda Fete who are licensed at the Cathedral. We give great thanks to God for this wonderful occasion, and pray for blessings on the ministries of the new Priests. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
Advent Carol Service
On the evening of the First Sunday of Advent, 27 November, the Cathedral Consort presented a service of Advent Carols. They sang the traditional Advent Sentences, each of which begins with “O…”. Listen to them singing “O Rex Gentium“. Among unusual Advent carols they sang ‘E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come‘ by Paul Manz, and ‘Bethlehem Down‘ by Peter Warlock. The Consort was directed by the Cathedral Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa, whose hair was appropriately coloured for the season!
By Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
From Growing the Church
Read the December 2023 Update, ‘The Flame’ from Growing the Church.
From Provincial Standing Committee (PSC)