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.
Articles from this website may be quoted if author and Grahamstown Cathedral Website are acknowledged.
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Archbishop’s detailed response to the President’s permission for the reopening of church buildings for worship
On 4 June Archbishop Thabo Makgoba issued a Letter for Pentecost to the Parishioners, Clergy and Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. In this he explained the process of consultation which took place among the churches and with the government, before the President’s announcement. He also set out in detail the processes which will need to be carried out in order for churches to re-open their buildings for worship. Certain useful South African Council of Churches documents can be accessed by clicking on links in his letter.
Parishioners discuss possible reopening of Cathedral building for worship
At a Zoom meeting of parishioners on 31 May, the topic of discussion was the President’s announcement that faith communities would be allowed to open their buildings for worship from 1 June. How should the Cathedral respond? Some twelve parishioners took part in the informal meeting, and the general feeling was that it was too early just now to re-open the Cathedral for worship. Some important points were raised, to be considered as we look to the future. These are summarised here.
Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali writes about the National Day of Prayer, and the re-opening of churches
On 26 May President Ramaphosa addressed the nation, and called for 31 May to be observed as a National Day of Prayer. He also announced that places of worship would be allowed to open again for services from 1 June, when the country moves to Level 3 Lockdown, subject to certain conditions. Ebenezer Ntlali, Bishop of Grahamstown, has written a special letter to the clergy and people of the Diocese, in response.
Please also read the letter from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba concerning the re-opening of churches.
“Tea after Church” via Zoom
After the live-streamed service on Sunday 10 May, some of the congregation met via Zoom for a virtual “tea after church” at 11:00. We felt so blessed to see again the faces we have been missing, and had such fun catching up with news. Further Zoom meetings have followed on 24 May and 31 May, and it is planned that these gatherings should happen approximately every other week.
The Cathedral Under Lockdown
As we are all aware, due to the coronavirus lockdown regulations the Cathedral is closed. But we know that wherever we are, the Lord is at hand! You are warmly invited to join in the services which are live-streamed each day on the Cathedral Facebook page. For further details see our Worship page.
Induction of Crystal Warren as Poet-in-Residence
One of the things that had been planned in the life of the Cathedral was the licensing and induction of Crystal Warren as Poet-in-Residence. Instead of this taking place in the Cathedral with everyone gathered, this took place in the context of our live streamed service of Evening Prayer, on 10 May. Dean Andrew Hunter wrote:
Crystal is no stranger to us: she has been a member of PCC, a Lay Minister, a Sunday School teacher, and an Altar Server. She is based at Amazwi (formerly NELM), as Curatorial Manager. She is a published poet: Bodies of Glass (2004) and Predictive Text (2019). She will be reading one of her poems to us in the context of the service. Crystal joins the ranks of our other two Cathedral Artists-in-Residence, Chris Mann and Julia Skeen. The point of having Artists-in-Residence is to acknowledge their vital contribution to the life of the Cathedral and the community, as poets and artists, and as part of the prophetic voice amongst us. Artists at their best can help us to see the world and our lives differently. They deepen our spirituality and our lives through words, literature, film, physical works of art. We are profoundly enriched by what they give us.
Poems by Crystal Warren
To download the three poems which Crystal read at the online services on 10 May, ‘Home Baked’, ‘Still Life’ and ‘In Death’s Dark Vale’, click here.
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.
Three post-Easter monologues to download from YouTube
Chris Mann, Cathedral Artist-in-Residence, has uploaded three dramatized monologues expressing the mixed post-Easter feelings of various witnesses to the Resurrection. Read more…
- The Road to Emmaus, read by Malcolm Hacksley
- The Dream of Mary Magdalene, read by the Reverend Melany Adonis
- Doubting Thomas, read by Lindsay Reardon
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.
New Parish Councillors admitted as Church Officers
Members of the Cathedral congregation met for worship on Sunday 22 March, acutely sensitive to the need to respect the Bishops’ guidelines in a time of pandemic. Only the bread was taken at Communion, no touching at the Peace, and so on. But the atmosphere of prayer was so real. Indeed the Lord was with us! At the 9:30 service the newly elected Parish Councillors were admitted as Church Officers. We pray that the Holy Spirit will bless them mightily in what is likely to be a most extraordinary year.
DYG renew their vows
Members of the Archdeaconry DYG (Diocesan Youth Guild) gathered at the 9:30 service in the Cathedral on 22 March, to renew their vows with Archdeaconry DYG Chaplain Revd Gwen Mvula. New member Chumile Mvula took her vows for the first time. We give thanks for the commitment of these young people from the Cathedral, St Philip’s and St Augustine’s Churches, and pray for them all. For more photos, see our Gallery.
Annual Vestry Meeting 15 March
Our Annual Vestry Meeting took place on Sunday 15 March in St George’s Hall. The following were elected Churchwardens: Ronaldo Burger and Lungile Penxa, with Theodore Duxbury as Alternate Churchwarden. Also elected to the Parish Council were Katie Appollis, Rodney Bridger, Nomakwezi Gabavana and Tandiwe Gabavana. We congratulate all those elected and pray for them in their ministry and leadership. The Agenda, Minutes and Reports can be read here. For a copy of the Financial Reports, please contact the Parish Office at 046 622 2445 and ask for a copy to be emailed to you. (The file is unfortunately too large to be uploaded on the website).
Cathedral Student Ministry Camp
Our Cathedral Students had a wonderful weekend at Faire wood Outdoor Education Centre (29 Feb-1 March). We are a Family of Faith, enjoying Fellowship, Friendship, Fun and Food! What a privilege to get to know fellow students from all over SA, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Uganda! We learnt to sing songs of praise in one another’s languages. We broke bread together (Holy Communion outside), reflected on Psalm 139, prayed for one another… We hiked, swam, danced around the fire, played biblical charades, laughed and ate! A huge thank you to Cathedral parishioners for your generous financial donations, cooking meals, providing snacks, coming to transport us and for your love and support. Thank you from Revd Claire, Theo Duxbury on behalf of us all. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
New Chorister admitted to Cathedral Choir
On the first Sunday in Lent, 1 March, Dean Andrew Hunter admitted Probationer Junaid Douglas as a full member of the Cathedral Choir. We give thanks for him, and pray for his ministry in the Cathedral music.
Pancake Pandemonium reigned in St George’s Hall on Shrove Tuesday, 25 February. The hot weather did not deter Sally Terry and her hardy band of pancake makers. One estimate was that around 1000 pancakes were made! The word went out far and wide, and throngs gathered to enjoy their supper on the premises or buy pancakes to take home. After deducting expenses, all profits went to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. Congratulations to the team! For more pictures, see our Gallery.
Sermon series on ‘The Big Questions of Life’
As students returned, and new students came up to the University for the first time, Dean Andrew Hunter presented a series of addresses on the ‘Big Questions of Life’ at the 7:30 and 9:30 Eucharist services in the Cathedral. On 9 February his subject was ‘Does God exist?‘ The second address, on the Sunday nearest to Valentine’s Day, was on ‘Where do I find love?’ The final address, on 23 February, addressed the issue ‘Where do I find hope?‘
Education Sunday 2 February
On Sunday 2 February learners from nine Makhanda schools gathered in their uniforms in the Cathedral to pray for God’s blessing on the new school year. Dean Andrew Hunter preached a challenging sermon which addressed issues of bullying and violence in schools, and those present, learners, teachers, parents and guardians, promised to do their best in the year ahead.
Schools represented were: Nyaluza High School, Nombulelo High School, Victoria Girls’ High School, Graeme College, Victoria Primary School, Good Shepherd School, PJ Olivier,
DSG and Kingswood College. St Andrew’s College was invited, but was unable to attend.
Kutlwano Kepadisa, Assistant to the Cathedral Director of Music, trained a special Back to School Choir consisting of learners from a variety of schools. To hear them singing ‘Bawo Thixo Somandla’, conducted by our Head Chorister Nzulu Nzwana, download a YouTube video here. For more pictures, see our Gallery.
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…