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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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.
Bishop Ebenezer’s retirement: Dates announced
Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali has issued a letter to the Diocese with details of the dates of his pre-retirement long leave from 1 May to 20 July, final farewells at the end of July, and the Elective Assembly to be held on 18-19 November 2023. To read it click here.
Bishop Ebenezer was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Grahamstown on 20 September 2008, so he has served as our Bishop for 15 years. We give thanks to God for his ministry among us, and pray for him and his dear wife Noncedo as they prepare to leave the Diocese.
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.
Listen to ‘Sizohamba nayo‘, led by the combined choirs, and the choirs singing ‘An Awesome God‘.
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!
Admission of Church Officers
The Cathedral Parish Councillors were admitted to their office by Dean Mzinzizi Dyantyi on Sunday 20 November at the 9:30 Eucharist Service. They promised to serve the parish faithfully, were anointed and prayed for.
Seen here are Katie Appollis, Rodney Bridger, Mzwandile Bikitsha, Ian Meiklejohn and Nomakwezi Gabavana. Thembi Mjola, Wendy Mfazwe and Churchwarden Renaldo Burger were unable to be present, and were admitted in absentia.
Remembrance Sunday Evensong
On Sunday evening, 13 November, the Cathedral Consort sang a Choral Evensong in remembrance of those who have died in war. The The Canticles were by Thomas Weelkes (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis), and the Responses by Smith of Durham. The Anthem was ‘Greater love hath no man’ by Anne Dudley. For further recordings, see our Video page.
The preacher was John Jackson, whose thought-provoking homily can be read here.
Mothers’ Union Day of Prayer for the Clergy
Sunday 6 November saw the Mothers’ Union of Grahamstown Archdeaconry honouring their clergy with a Day of Prayer in St George’s Hall, Makhanda. At the 9:30 service in the Cathedral a number of MU members were presented with Certificates for having served 25 years – or longer!
A gathering followed for prayers, music and song in the beautifully decorated Hall, in which parishioners joined with the clergy and MU members. The keynote speaker was the Diocesan MU President, Mama Anna Mangaliso. The meeting concluded with a delicious lunch. More pictures can be seen in our Gallery.
Makana Choir School AGM
The Makana Choir School AGM on Sunday 16 October was attended by 15 choristers and parishioners, who stayed after the 9:30 Eucharist service. The following were elected to the Choir School Committee: Chair: Glyn Lloyd-Jones; Secretary: Jessica Lloyd-Jones; Parent Representative: Phumla Cagwe. Cathy Meiklejohn kindly agreed to combine the roles of Treasurer and Fund-raiser for the time being, until she has trained a new Fund-raiser to take her place. Also elected to the Committee were the Revd Melany Adonis and Jonathan Hughes. Maggy Clarke, who had been Secretary of the Committee since the inception of the Choir School in 2009, stepped down from the Committee and was warmly thanked. The following are ex officio Committee members: The Director of Music (Kutlwano Kepadisa), the Dean (Mzinzisi Dyantyi), the Choir Chaplain (the Revd Siphokazi Njokweni) and the Head Choristers, who at present are Ambesa Cagwe and Siyolise Sandi. To read Glyn Lloyd-Jones’s Chairman’s Report, click here.
We waited so long! Now, we praise God, the Cathedral was again able to host an Archdeaconry Confirmation service. On the afternoon of Sunday 11 September 2022 Ebenezer Ntlali, Bishop of Grahamstown, confirmed candidates from the parishes of St Augustine’s, St Clement’s and the Cathedral. Some of the candidates had begun their Confirmation Preparation in 2020 – but then Covid intervened!
Cathedral candidates with Bishop Ebenezer and Canon Melany Adonis who prepared them for Confirmation: Uvuyo Mvaphantsi, Kaede Bridger, Sadie Bartis, Zakhirah Pillay, Alulutho Ntapane and Bayanda Mthetho.
Death of former Churchwarden
Michael Whisson, a former Churchwarden and Lay Minister at the Cathedral, who recently moved to Cape Town with his wife Adrienne, died on Sunday 14 August. We give thanks to God for Michael’s life of service in many fields, academic, civic, and in this Cathedral. Prayers are asked for Adrienne and all his family.
On leaving the Cathedral parish, Michael had made a point of following our former Chancellor of the Cathedral, Claire Nye Hunter, and joining her congregation at St Thomas’s Rondebosch. So it was Claire who ministered to Michael and the family during his last days. A Requiem Mass for Michael was held on Wednesday afternoon, 24 August at 14h30 in St Thomas’s Church. The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, presided, and the preacher and officiant was the Revd Dr Claire Nye Hunter. The service was live-streamed, and can still be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/groups/345127422184986
Organ Scholar ‘organises’ Organ Crawl
Our enterprising Cathedral Organ Scholar, Jonathan Hughes, has been inspired by the number of interesting and historic pipe organs in the city of Makhanda, and has arranged a series of recitals with short talks, to take place on alternate Saturday afternoons.
The first afternoon of the ‘Organ Crawl’ series on Saturday 20 August was a tremendous success. Despite cold weather and pouring rain, an interested crowd turned out to visit the 1872 Gray and Davison organ in St Bartholomew’s Church and the pre-1837 Hill chamber organ in Wesley Church. They heard the history of the instruments, and enjoyed short recitals by Christiaan Carstens, organist of the N G Kerk in Humansdorp, retired Professor Albert Troskie who has written scholarly works on the organs of South Africa, and Jon Hughes himself.
To hear Jon playing the third movement Sonata No. 5 by Felix Mendessohn-Bartholdy on the St Bartholomew’s organ, click here. To hear Christaan Carstens playing the Wesley Church organ, click here.