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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Level Three Lockdown: Cathedral Services online, but building open for private prayer
On 28 December President Ramaphosa announced a return to an adjusted form of Level Three Lockdown, which included a renewed ban on indoor or outdoor meetings, including for worship. Although it is not possible for the Cathedral family to gather for worship, now that the Verger has returned from leave, the building will again be open on weekdays and Saturday mornings. Individuals are welcome to come in and visit, and say a quiet prayer. They are invited to speak to our Verger, Mr Silulami Mize, who will be on duty, and observe the Covid-19 protocols at the door – temperature taking and filling in a form, as well as wearing a mask. Opening hours are 09:00-15:00 on weekdays with a lunch break of an hour from noon, and 09:00-12:00 on Saturdays. In accordance with Level Three lockdown regulations, all Cathedral services continue to be streamed live via our Facebook page, on Sundays at 08:30 and 17:00, and weekdays at 09:00 and 17:00.
South African representation at funeral of former Sub-Dean Suzanne Peterson in Iowa, USA
Canon Suzanne Peterson died peacefully on Wednesday, 30 December in Iowa, USA. She had suffered a heart attack the previous week, and despite quadruple bypass surgery, did not recover. Many will remember her with affection from the two periods when she ministered in the Diocese of Grahamstown, at the Cathedral and elsewhere. She was the first woman priest to be licensed to minister as a priest in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, at the invitation of David Russell, Bishop of Grahamstown at that time. The gentle “normality” of her work and her engaging personality did much to facilitate the acceptance of the ordination of women to the priesthood in this Province. We give thanks for her life.
Her funeral took St Paul’s Cathedral, Iowa, USA, on Friday 8 January, online. Many friends from far and wide took part over Zoom, and the Homily was delivered by our Archbishop, Thabo Makgoba. To read it, click here. Maggy Clarke, who had been a friend of Suzanne’s since her first arrival in this diocese, read the Prayers of the People, and two South African worship songs were contributed by our Acting Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa, We are marching in the light of God, and Thuma mina. It was a moving and beautiful tribute to her life, and those invited to take part felt privileged to be able to contribute.
Christmas Eve Children’s Crib Service goes online
This year, due to concerns about the potential for spreading Covid, our children’s service was made available virtually, on the Cathedral Facebook page and via a YouTube link which was released at 4 p.m. on 24 December. This is still available for those who have missed it. A small group of children from one family were the cast, augmented with a couple of puppets. The Hunter family provided the narrators, and Nicola Hunter’s orchestra of friends, ten-strong, reached new heights of professionalism. Their conductor’s hand is only just visible in the video, but of course that hand belonged to our tireless and inspiring acting Music Director, Kutlwano Kepadisa!
Children (and others) were encouraged to dress up at home as their favourite nativity characters to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. As the narrator and author Revd Claire said, “Covid-19 has changed many things, but nothing has changed the wonder of God coming to earth in human form – he is ‘Emmanuel, God with us’.”
Nine Lessons and Carols
On Sunday 20 December the Cathedral celebrated a memorable and uplifting Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The Cathedral Choir and friends were conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa, and the service was appreciated by a small congregation in the building, and a far wider congregation tuning in via Facebook. Among these were the founders of the Makana Choir School, Wilf and Barbara Stout, in Scotland!
A surprise item, not on the Order of Service, was a magnificent rendering of ‘The Holy City’ by Kutlwano with Obianuju Njoku. The video of the full service is still available on the Cathedral Facebook page.
New Lay Minister licensed
On Sunday 20 December we welcomed a brand-new Lay Minister, Kaylyn Bartis. Dean Andrew Hunter licensed her on behalf of the Bishop, to join the team of Cathedral Lay Ministers. May God bless Kaylyn in her ministry with us!
Dean Andrew Hunter and Revd Claire to move to Cape Town
It was announced on Sunday 22 November that the Hunters are to leave the Cathedral at the end of January 2021. The Cathedral congregation received this news with sadness, while giving thanks for all the blessings that God has bestowed on us over the 13 years that the Hunters have been with us. Dean Andrew wrote in a letter to the parish:
“It is with very mixed emotions that I write this letter. After 13 wonderful
years here at the Cathedral and in this diocese, the time has come for
Claire and me to move on. Claire has been appointed as Rector of St
Thomas’s, Rondebosch, in the Diocese of Cape Town. Her institution as
Rector is being planned for Saturday 13th February 2021, just before the
start of Lent. I shall be joining her in Cape Town (though it is not yet
clear what I shall be doing there.) read more…”
AGM of Makana Choir School
The Makana Choir School held its Annual General Meeting after the 9.30 a.m. service in the Cathedral on Sunday 15 November 2020. This was attended by 20 choristers, choristers’ parents and parishioners. Congratulations to Glyn Lloyd-Jones who was elected Chairperson, as well as Treasurer Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Secretary Maggy Clarke, Fund-Raiser Cathy Meiklejohn and Parents’ Representative Phumla Cagwe. A further committee member elected was Jonathan Hughes. Acting Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa), Head Chorister Xolisa Foley, the Dean and Chaplain Siphokazi Njokweni are all ex officio members of the Committee.
Kepa had been training youngsters from Good Shepherd School for some weeks, to take their places as Probationers in the Choir. Sunday 15 November was their first opportunity to sing at a Cathedral service.
All Saints and All Souls
On Sunday 1 November the Cathedral celebrated the Feast of All Saints in the morning, and in the evening, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls). Instead of Evening Prayer we met in the Cathedral for a Sung Eucharist, which was also live-streamed. At this service the names of beloved friends and family members who had died were remembered, and candles lit. We also remembered especially all those who have died as a result of Covid-19, and prayed for their families. The Cathedral Consort, directed by Kutlwano Kepadisa, sang the Requiem Mass by Dr Andrew-John Bethke. Listen to Jessica Lloyd-Jones singing the Pié Jesu, accompanied on the organ by Bayanda Mthetho.
Dedication Sunday 25 October
October is traditionally our Stewardship and Giving month, culminating in Dedication Sunday when pledges are collected, enabling the Churchwardens and Parish Council to budget for the coming year. This year with much of our worship taking place virtually, it was no surprise that the Cathedral’s income fell below budget. Anyone who has not yet sent in a Pledge Form to the Parish Office and would like to make a promise to contribute regularly to the ministry of the Cathedral can download a form here.
Farewell to Nzulu Nzwana, New Head Chorister inducted
On Sunday 25 October duirng the 9:30 a.m. Sung Eucharist the Cathedral said farewell to Nzulu Nzwana, who had been Head Chorister for two years. He took up this duty in his Grade 11 year, 2019. On several occasions he conducted the Cathedral Choir or even larger groups of singers such as the Back to School Choir and (in 2019) the Masicule massed choir. He is now writing his Matric exams, and will be leaving Graeme College and the Makanda Choir School. The Choir School and the Cathedral community wish him well in the future and pray God’s blessing upon him.
His successor is Xolisa Foley, who has been a member of the Makana Choir School and the Cathedral Choir since his junior school days, and will be going into Grade 12 next year. Dean Andrew Hunter inducted him formally into the position of Head Chorister at the same service.
The choir which sang at that service under the direction of Acting Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa included a number of the Makana Choir School choristers, three Choir Probationers, and, it was pleasing to note, two young men who had been part of the Makana Choir School in their school days, and have volunteered their voices as adults. Although the congregation in the Cathedral was small, it is hoped that many others were also able to appreciate the music via the live stream on Facebook.
Cathedral re-opened for worship on Patronal Festival Sunday 4 October
After six months during which the Cathedral doors have been locked because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is with joy, thankfulness and excited anticipation that we can announce that the first services took place in the Cathedral on Sunday 4 October, when we celebrated our Patronal Festival, the Feast of St Michael and All Angels with Holy Communion services at 07:30 and 09:30.
Under Level One lockdown regulations places of worship may admit 50% of the number of persons which their building can accommodate, up to a maximum of 250. In the Cathedral’s case, our capacity is in the region of 600, so the maximum of 250 applies.
All those attending the services must wear masks, and social distancing and sanitization rules will apply. It is recommended that those who attend services bring their own sanitizer, to sanitize the pews as they leave, ready for the next service. It is a good idea to arrive a bit early for a service, remembering that under Covid-19 regulations everyone has to fill in a register at the door.
While the congregation is requested to remain masked while singing, Cathedral musicians provide music, with a group of choristers on duty at the 9:30. At the Patronal Festival service a small choir conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa sang the Byrd Four-Part Mass.
Communion will be in one kind (i.e. wafers only).
For those whose health or other issues make it inadvisable to attend gatherings, we intend to continue to live-stream the 09:30 services, only now these will not be streamed from the Cory Room, but from the Cathedral itself. Please bear with us as the technical team learns the necessary new skills!
Weekday and Sunday evening services will continue to be streamed online via the Cathedral Facebook page.
For further details see our Worship page.
The Cathedral is open for visitors and private prayer during the Verger’s working hours, i.e. 9-12 and 1-3 on weekdays, and 9-12 on Saturdays. Please wear masks.
The Cathedral Office is open from 8—4:30 (closed for lunch 1—2). All visitors to the office are asked to wear masks, complete a register and sanitise their hands on entry. Sanitiser is provided.
The legacy of Chris Walwyn
We give thanks for the life of Chris Walwyn, who died on the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, 29 September 2020. His funeral was held in the Cathedral on 1 October. Among the many talents which Chris shared with the Cathedral family while he lived among us was his remarkable gift as a photographer. At many an Ordination Chris was the “Official Photographer” recording the occasion. Any amateur photographer who has tried to capture the beauty of a stained glass window, using an ordinary camera or a cellphone, will know that this is no easy task. Chris has left us a wonderful record of all the windows in the Cathedral. To see some examples of his work, click here.
Farewell to Lynette Marais
Lynette Marais Johnson, who for 20 years directed the National Arts Festival, and for many more years was a valued and beloved member of the Cathedral family, died at home on 28 August 2020. We give thanks for her life of service, and for her endearing personality. She will be greatly missed.
In accordance with the family’s wishes, on Tuesday 8 September a simple Memorial Service was led by the Cathedral clergy, and live-streamed from the Cory Room, on the Cathedral Facebook page. Lynette’s ashes will be interred in the Garden of Remembrance at St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.
Just five days before her death, while Lynette was already confined to bed with inoperable cancer, and cared for by her sisters who had travelled down from Johannesburg to be with her, Dean Andrew Hunter announced that he was presenting her with the Dean’s Award. He made this announcement at a service of Worship and Sacrament, live-streamed from the Cathedral Facebook page on Sunday 23 August. This honour was instituted in 2016, and is presented by the Dean to “anyone, not necessarily from the Anglican Church or the Cathedral, who has contributed significantly to the Grahamstown community”. In the Citation, the Dean wrote:
“In making this award to Lynette, we are honouring someone who has, through her leadership of the National Festival of the Arts for 20 years, served the whole of South Africa and its artistic and diverse cultural communities with dedication and distinction. Her service in the role of Festival Director brought both the tangible benefit of increased income to this city, and, more importantly, the intangible benefits of cultural wealth to the country as a whole.”
The Dean also paid tribute to Lynette’s contribution in the community, for instance through Rotary and the Soroptimists, and her faithful service at the Cathedral as a server and Lay Minister, emphasising her strength, wisdom, courage and joyful sense of fun. To read the whole Citation, click here.
Tribute from Rhodes University
The following notice was circulated on the Rhodes University TopList on 14 September 2020:
The Rhodes University community has learnt with great sadness about the passing of a passionate supporter of the growth of the South African arts sector, Lynette Marais, who Rhodes University bestowed with a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in 2009. Read more…
“Tea after Church” via Zoom
Once a fortnight after the live-streamed service members of the congregation are invited to meet via Zoom for a virtual “tea after church” at 11:00. Sometimes some of those taking part are in Johannesburg or Cape Town, some are in pyjamas, some have their dogs with them, and everyone has fun catching up with news! The link for the Zoom meeting is circulated by email to parishioners two days before we meet, and put up on Facebook at the end of the live-streamed service as well.
COVID Faith-Sharing WhatsApp Group
Dean Andrew has set up a COVID Faith-Sharing group on WhatsApp, to which he sends out a reflection via voice note each evening. He and the Revd Claire are the only people able to post or comment, so those on the group are not bombarded with messages. If you would like to be added to the group, send a WhatsApp to this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/KPIVZJ3p9Vi4Bqr0UK6R8J
Distribution of food parcels
On Thursday morning, 23 April, Cathedral members, with friends from Food4Futures and others from around town, packed food parcels for distribution to people in need in Makhanda. We give thanks for the generosity of those who gave, and those who did the packing. These efforts are ongoing, and scenes such as this will be repeated, with God’s grace and the continued generosity of volunteers and donors, as long as the lockdown continues.
Please consider giving generously to this effort.
Cathedral of St Michael & St George
Current Account, First National Bank, Grahamstown
Account Number: 52320792164
Reference: Covid Care
For more pictures, see our Gallery.
South African Council of Churches Guidelines on Funerals in a time of pandemic
The SACC has produced a useful summary of the Government regulations covering funerals during the coronavirus pandemic. It can be accessed in poster form here.
This is part of the website which the SACC developed, which contains a range of useful, and accurate content on the Coronavirus pandemic. These can be downloaded and shared in all 11 languages. It also includes links to other useful resources.
Beyond general information on the virus, the SACC will provide information on the particular challenges faced by churches at this time. New content will be added regularly. It is work in progress and will improve with time.
Requests for information to be added on the site can be sent to email@example.com
Please share this resource widely.
Cathedral choristers wanted!
The Cathedral choir is recruiting. If you are interested in joining and becoming part of a team of talented musicians, we would be pleased to hear from you. Initial enquiries may be made to the Director of Music Cameron Luke (062 987 0397, call or SMS) or the Choir Intern Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa — 078 869 0880).
Bell Ringing and Access to the Cathedral Tower
Want to go up the cathedral bell tower? Would you really like to be a bell ringer?
We welcome visitors to the bell tower but would ask that you always contact a bell ringer to lead you or your guests into the ringing chamber – for your safety. Furthermore, only a bell ringer is able to demonstrate ringing to you and your experience is not complete without seeing this! We try not to leave the bells in the (dangerous) position of being ‘rung up’ after we leave the Tower but sometimes this is necessary -especially with the heavier bells which weigh more than 500 kg and take time to get into a position for ringing. Your cooperation is much appreciated.
We hope to be able to teach ringing later this year so please let us know if you are interested. Contact Catherine Letcher (073 613 9114), or Cameron Luke (062 987 0397).
Thank you. Catherine Letcher, Richard Tyson, Fiona Semple and Cameron Luke.
For more about the Cathedral Bells, go to our Bells page.
Anglican Consultative Council passes Environment resolution
The Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in Hong Kong in May, passed an important resolution on the environment. The resolution recognised that there is a global climate emergency and requested that churches develop action plans and resources for sustainable living. Read more…