Grahamstown

People and Places

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke. Extracts from People and Places may be reproduced if author is acknowledged.

Please send items of news to her at: webmaster@grahamstowncathedral.org.

People and Places, August 2019

The National Arts Festival came to town from 27 June to 7 July, and as always, the Cathedral was in the middle of it! Along with other city churches, the Cathedral hosted many Spiritfest events. The Cathedral Choir, directed by Cameron Luke, sang a Choral Evensong on the first Friday evening, a Lucernarium on the Wednesday, and a magnificent Sung Eucharist on the first Sunday at which the organ accompaniment for Haydn’s ‘Little Organ Mass’ was played by a former Cathedral Director of Music, Christopher Cockburn. Christopher returned on the Wednesday to give an organ recital, ‘Toccatas, Adagios and Fugues’. Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) and his Makhanda Kwantu Choir invited the Quava Vocal Group from Johannesburg to join them in a ‘Choral Extravaganza’ concert, and at the end of the Festival it was the Kwantu Choir which sang in the final Eucharist.

Chris Mann came back from the UK where he and Julia had been spending some months, specially to take part in the Festival. He presented a programme of his song-poems titled ‘Sweet is the Fruit of the Prickly Pear’. He also led a walk-about of the lovely paintings and poems from his and Julia’s book ‘The Horn of Plenty’, which were on display in Rhodes Chapel. The St Michael’s Marimbas proved as popular as ever, and for the first time in some years the bell ringers of the Cathedral were able to invite members of the public to come up to the ringing chamber for an inter-active explanation of how the bells are rung. The Chapter House was again transformed into a Coffee Shop for the weekdays of the Festival, and was the venue for the Spiritfest Winter School. Paul Walters was among the speakers, with a focus on the poet John Dunne, under the intriguing title: ‘For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love: the many loves of John Donne.’ David Manning, whose team has put in so many hours restoring the priceless stained glass of the Cathedral, shared his expertise on the subject of stained glass in fascinating talks, in the Cathedral and St Andrew’s College Chapel.

The Cory Room was again the venue for an exhibition by the ’40 Stones in the Wall’ group of Christian artists. The ecumenical street parade changed its time and date to take place on the first Sunday afternoon of the Festival, ending with a celebration of praise and song in Commemoration Methodist Church, and Cathedral people were able to take part in this act of witness. Other events took place in St Patrick’s, the NGK, Every Nation Church and Trinity Presbyterian Church among others. For the full list of Spiritfest happenings, see the Spiritfest page of the Cathedral website, and for more photos see the Spiritfest Gallery.

Outside Spiritfest, numerous members of the Cathedral family were involved in Festival events. John Jackson was among a number of former Cathedral choristers who were part of Byrdsongs’ lovely rendering of the Fauré Requiem in the Rhodes Chapel. Saeculum Aureum, the a capella group conducted by Glyn Lloyd-Jones which consists mainly of members of the Cathedral choir, presented ‘Better Times’, a collection of songs from the first World War. Lynette Marais and Jeremy Fogg were joined by Rohan Quince for a most moving presentation of poetry and prose about the same conflict, entitled ‘Another World’. The Makhanda Kwantu Choir did not confine their activities to Spiritfest or the Cathedral, but were the back-up choir for the Eastern Cape Divas, and gave a series of concerts called ‘Voice Dance!’ which deservedly was nominated for an Ovation Award, as was the Quava Vocal Group. Well done to Kepa and the singers! And congratulations to the enterprising Mothers’ Union team, led by Lilitha Dyantyi, which sold wors rolls outside St George’s Chambers.

After the Festival, the whole Hunter family: Dean Andrew, Claire and their daughters Rachel and Nicola, went on holiday together to Thailand. A well-deserved rest, and a beautiful and memorable experience. We pray for the Dean as he prepares for a hip operation in Cape Town during August. Cameron Luke, our Director of Music, revisited the UK for a couple of weeks in July. It is good to welcome him back, and also Geoff and Margie Antrobus after their visit to their daughter Shirley in Canada. She and her family are happily settled in Oliver, a small town where local wildlife varies from cute humming-birds to the downright scary – a black bear seen in Shirley’s garden!

At the end of July came the very sad news that Revd Luthando and Lusanda’s baby boy, Lumnene, had died, at Greenacres hospital, in Port Elizabeth. He was just three months old. Our hearts go out to them in this time of loss and grief. May their darling child rest in peace and rise in glory, and may the parents and the whole family know the grace and love of God. The Madiba family had a particularly distressing month, as Luthando’s aunt, Nombongo Madiba Phumlomo, also died. We uphold them in prayer, as well as the Bridger family after the death of Davidean’s father David Claassen. Siphokazi Njokweni is also in our prayers after she received the horrific news of the murder of her cousin, together with a friend of his girl-friend, in Cape Town. We pray for peace in the troubled parts of that city.

On Sunday 21 July our Cathedral Choir was heard on Classic 1027. Thanks are due to Peter Terry (brother of Pat, and former boy chorister at the Cathedral) who now anchors the choral music programme from 7 to 8 a.m. on Sundays. He played four items from our 2014 and 2015 CDs, including the 23rd Psalm to a setting by Christoher Cockburn. Classic 1027 is a Johannesburg radio station, but people with DSTV can get it through their TV sets.

Sarah Mortimer

We welcome back the school children and students, as they return for the second semester. And we welcome the following COTT students, who will be with us on placement for this semester: Vimbizizwe Mazibuko, and Karla Urbasch from Natal Diocese, and Eldison Eistera from Mozambique. And it was specially good to have Sarah Mortimer, a student from Sarum Theological College in Salisbury, England, joining the Cathedral ministry team for a three-week placement. Her home is in Bracknell in the Oxford Diocese, and she is married with three big sons. Luvuyo Mvaphantsi is with us now for his final parish placement block, as part of his BTh programme, and we value his closer involvement in the team.

At the beginning of July the Grade 7 class of St Mary’s DSG in Pretoria delivered 70 beautifully made blankets. These were distributed to McKaiser Old Age Home, Themba TB Hospital and children at a local soup kitchen. How wonderful to share warmth, love and joy with them all. Thank you, St Mary’s DSG!

People and Places, July 2019

Geoff Antrobus with Dean Andrew

It was a great joy when one of our long-time Lay Ministers, Geoff Antrobus, was ordained by Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali on 8 June in St Philip’s Church, Gompo, East London. The Bishop made a special exception for Geoff, and ordained him both Deacon and Priest at the same service. There was a precedent for this from the 1970s in Pietermaritzburg, when Prof (and former Senator) Edgar Brookes was ordained Priest after what he liked to describe as “a blameless diaconate of twenty minutes”. In view of the large number being ordained Deacon in St Philip’s, Geoff’s diaconate was a few minutes longer, but equally blameless!

Not long after that Geoff and Margie flew off to Canada for a long-planned visit to their daughter Shirley and her family. We pray for them as they enjoy this special time together, and for Geoff as he begins his priestly ministry in the parish of St Peter Sidbury.

On 9 June the Cathedral hosted the annual Big Hymn Sing. As usual on such occasions the building was packed to capacity, and the singing by the choirs of VG, VP, St Andrew’s College and DSG, Kingswood and the Cathedral was rousing and inspiring. The Kingswood instrumentalists were unable to take part, as many of them had gone down with the flu, so it was good to have Cameron Luke giving a rousing lead on the organ.

Kutlwano Kepadisa, who is now conducting the Graeme College group Leopard’s Voice as well as his own Kwantu Choir, was privileged to be able to attend a course for conductors, ‘The Path to the Podium’. This was held at his old school, St Stithian’s in Johannesburg, on 14 and 15 June. He came back inspired, having taken 16 pages of notes during the ‘jam-packed’ programme.

Our prayers are asked for Jeanette Hodgson, who broke her hip and had to undergo an operation in Port Elizabeth. Theo Storm, one of the College of the Transfiguration students who has been worshipping at the Cathedral recently and assisting in various ministries, was invited by the Eastern Cape branch of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) to be the Warden at their June Winter School in Port Elizabeth. Most unfortunately just the day before he was to take up his duties, Theo collapsed and was admitted to hospital. We pray for this young man, for a good diagnosis and a rapid recovery.

The Mothers’ Union began the month of June with a successful Morning Market on Church Square on Saturday the 1st. On the 17th, local branches of the Diocesan Youth Guild got together to do a big clean-up around St Philip’s Church, Fingo Village.

The social highlight of June for the Cathedral was a day of celebration on the 16th, in honour of Dean Andrew’s recently awarded doctorate. Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali celebrated and preached at the main morning Eucharist, after which there was a splendid sit-down lunch. St George’s Hall was beautifully decorated by Rose Spanneberg, with miniature doctoral gowns displayed on every table. The proceedings began with a procession of graduates, while the choir sang ‘Gaudeamus Igitur’. Theodore Duxbury once again was a brilliant MC. There were speeches by Dr Rose Spanneberg, the Revd Prof Geoff Antrobus, and the Dean’s daughters Rachel and Nicola, who were happily both able to be present. There were amusing games, and a couple of Pat Terry’s inimitable settings of new words to old tunes. The food was superb, prepared by a team of cooks including Sally Terry, Ikhona Mvaphantsi, Cathy Meiklejohn, Katie Appollis, Tandiwe Gabavana, Lou-Anne Liebenberg, Lilitha Dyantyi, Margie Antrobus, Anelisa Kelemi, Euline Bartis and Kwezi Gabavana. Among generous donors we thank especially the Cathedral Mothers’ Union, and the Gabavana family who gave the chicken. For more pictures, see our Gallery.

 

As well as congratulating the Dean, we salute Idowu Akinloye, who has recently received his Bachelor of Theology (Honours) degree, graduating in absentia from the Archbishop Vining College of Theology in Akure, Nigeria.

Nnamdi Okafor was given one of the table decorations!

At the celebratory lunch we bade farewell to Br Nnamdi Okafor, who had completed his Masters in Science, and is hoping to be admitted to a PhD programme at the University of the Western Cape.

Daphne Rink, a former parishioner now living in KwaZulu-Natal, wrote to ask for prayers for her granddaughter Caroline Rink, who was due to be ordained by the Bishop of London in St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday 29 June. Caroline’s aunt, Gill Rink Hewitt, is the wife of our former Dean, Chich Hewitt.

On 23 June we were delighted to welcome Brother Claudio from the Taizé Community in France, who was visiting South Africa in preparation for a nationwide youth event later in the year. He attended our morning Sung Eucharist, as well as a Taizé service in the evening, at which he enriched the chants with some additional words and harmonies. On the following day he spoke at a gathering of youth, to invite them to come to the “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth” in Cape Town in September.

We had a foretaste of the Festival at the 9:30 Eucharist on 23 June. Not only did the Kwantu Choir sing, but young violinist Neo Motsatse made a guest appearance, before her concerts on the main Festival. As the National Arts Festival begins, we pray for all those attending and participating, and particularly for the many from churches around the town who are involved in Spiritfest. May they witness to the glory of God through the arts!

People and Places, June 2019

At Diocesan Synod: Dean Andrew, Tandiwe Gabavana, Bishop Ebenezer, Theo Duxury, Revd Claire

South Africans went to the polls on 8 May, to elect members of Parliament and of the Provincial Legislatures. Because our electoral system depends on party lists rather than constituencies, although voters were faced with a choice of a record 48 political parties, they had no opportunity to pick and choose between the individuals on any party’s list. We give thanks for a peaceful election, and pray for those elected. The ANC, which retained the majority in the Eastern Cape Province, announced that their candidate for Premier is Oscar Mabuyane. We pray for him as he takes on this new role.

Warm congratulations to chorister and organ scholar Bayanda Mthetho, who came top at the recent East London Eisteddfod, playing the piano. He also received a Special Mention award for achieving a score between 90-100%. Well done!

Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa), well known to us as a choir conductor, made his debut as a solo pianist on 17 May, as one of the performers in “A Piano Celebration” presented by the pianists of Rhodes University. His nerves beforehand did not show at all in his polished performance of Greig’s ‘An den Frühling’ (To the Spring).

Soon after Cameron Luke arrived as Director of Music, he began to recruit for the choir, and also for the bell ringers. An invitation to members of the congregation to come up the bell tower after a service resulted in 19 people crowding into the ringing chamber, of whom four were already bell ringers (one visiting from New Zealand – Mary Clare Tracey Craigen). Training has now begun for potential ringers. New adult members have also joined the choir, and the standard of singing and organ playing is a source of delight. On 12 May we welcomed the a capella group Saeculum Aureum to lead a Choral Evensong, and two weeks later the Cathedral Choir sang Choral Evensong under Cameron’s direction. This was followed shortly by the splendid Ascension Sung Eucharist on the evening of 30 May.

Saeculum Aureum

 

 

Idowu Akinloye, the Nigerian priest on the Cathedral staff who is reading for his PhD, went to Gaborone, Botswana, to give a paper at a conference on Law and Religion in Africa. In his paper he looked at the proliferation of places of worship in Nigeria, and the effect on the environment in that country, as well as attempts which have been made to regulate places of worship. He offered some recommendations to both religious institutions and policymakers, on how to ensure protection of the environment without necessarily limiting the right to religious freedom.

The CR Sisters held their Associates’ Day on 4 May, and welcomed the new Bishop of Port Elizabeth, Eddie Daniels, as both preacher and speaker. His talk in the afternoon focussed on a visit which he and his wife Nicky made recently to the Holy Land.

On 26 May a group of children who had all received instruction were admitted to Holy Communion: Anathi, Uvile and Ovayo Mvaphantsi, Sambesiwe Dyantyi, Cairis Appollis, Esona Pantshwa, Buhle Bam, Sally Kadye, Yarren Marcus, Esona Balele, Alive Nkole, Siphelele and Philani Noqayi, Simnikiwe Faltein, Travis and Tarres Fourie, Thrushen and Tarendra Naidoo and Jayden Conroy. Certificates for participation were presented to Madison Conroy and Sammy Dyantyi. At the same service, Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali baptised Ava Sauls, Alive Nkole, Liyabona Lele, Esona Balele, Siphelele and Philani Noqayi, Simnikiwe Faltein, Aphelele Tala, Levi Goddard and Buhle Andisiwe. We welcome them, and wish God’s blessing upon them.

Many thanks to Leela Pienaar, who has made beautiful new covers for the offertory plates.

David Peter, a familiar figure around the Parish Office, died in May after a long period of ill health. He was usually to be seen sitting outside the Bishop’s Office door, or making himself useful washing cars or carrying boxes. He was one of those who received a monthly hamper of food from our ‘Hungry Basket’ offerings. We give thanks for his life and pray for those who mourn him.

Cynthia Webbstock, Rector of St Paul’s Port Alfred and Archdeacon of our neighbouring Archdeaconry of Albany, was admitted to hospital in an emergency on 13 May, with a serious colon infection. We give thanks that after a couple of weeks in hospital, she has been able to return home to Port Alfred, where her sister is staying for a while to look after her, and we pray for her complete recovery.

Archdeacon Cynthia had to miss the Synod of the Diocese of Grahamstown, which took place at St Alban’s East London from 15 – 18 May. The Cathedral was represented by the full-time clergy, and lay representatives Theodore Duxbury and Tandiwe Gabavana. It seems a pity that this parish was the only one to send members of the parish youth structures as their reps. By all reports it was a good Synod. Although the question of changing the name of the Diocese to ‘Makhanda’ in line with the renaming of the city was discussed, action was postponed for reasons of cost and legal implications.

Makhanda was in the national news during May. The Gift of the Givers regretfully had to withdraw from their intervention in the city. This was because the municipality had not by that stage reimbursed the NGO out of funds coming from central government, as the Gift of the Givers had been led to expect they would. We give thanks that a way has now been found out of this impasse, and pray for a resolution to the dire problems of service delivery in Makhanda, especially concerning water.

Our prayers are with Geoff Antrobus, as he goes into retreat at the beginning of June to prepare for his ordination as both Deacon and Priest on the 8th in East London. He is to be licensed to serve at the churches of Sidbury, Highlands and Alicedale.

People and Places, May 2019

On Good Friday, 19 April, we had the joy of welcoming our new Director of Music, Cameron Luke, who has finally arrived from the UK! It was exactly two years since we bade farewell to AJ Bethke. Although Cameron’s appointment was announced at the time of AJ’s departure, the process of his obtaining a visa to work here was tortuous, and there were times when some of us gave up hope altogether. We thank God that Cameron himself never gave up, and eventually his persistence paid off, and he has been rewarded with a five-year visa, renewable. A well-qualified and experienced

Cameron at the Cathedral organ

church musician who has worked both in the UK and Norway, Cameron is passionate about the value of music as an integral part of worship, and is longing to see this Cathedral become a beacon of musical excellence. The bell ringers can also be delighted that he is a keen ringer, who would like to be part of a revival of bell ringing at the Cathedral. For more about Cameron, see the our music page. The Dean and Cathedral family are grateful to the team of volunteer organists and pianists who ensured that there was accompaniment at every service during the past two years: Markus Mostert, Peter Breetzke, John Jackson, Penny Whitford and others.

There was a special moment during the early morning vigil service on Easter Day, when after a long period of quiet, listening to Old Testament lessons and reciting psalms, the congregation was startled by a resounding chord from the organ, followed by a wonderful fanfare. There was no doubt, our new Organist had arrived, and his talents were being demonstrated in no uncertain fashion! Later that day, the Dean and Claire welcomed anyone who would like to, to come to the Deanery to “bring and braai”. This was an ideal opportunity for Cameron and parishioners to meet one another.

At the Good Friday three-hour devotion, members of the Cathedral family highlighted aspects of Christ’s passion through the eyes of various witnesses: The sister of the penitent thief (Claire Nye Hunter); Peter (Idowu Akinloye), John (John Jackson); Mary the Mother of Jesus (Ayanda Mpofu), Pilate (Theo Duxbury) and the Centurion (Andrew Hunter). Not in the photo was Mary Magdalene (Siphokazi Njokweni). Click on the names to read their text.

We warmly welcome Luvuyo Mvaphantsi, who has been placed at the Cathedral for pastoral experience, as part of his BTh (final year) degree. He and his family are not strangers to us, having been worshipping with us. Luvuyo is a Lay Minister, and his children are servers.

Congratulations to Dean Andrew Hunter on receiving his doctorate on 5 April 2019, at the Graduation ceremony of Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. The subject of his thesis was “Conflict resolution and campus protests at Rhodes University, 2015 – 2016”. Paul and June Walters, Geoff and Margie Antrobus, went down with Claire to support him at the Graduation, Paul and Geoff having been among the proof-readers of Andrew’s thesis.

June & Paul Walters, Claire & Andrew Hunter, Geoff & Margie Antrobus

Ayanda and Theo

Congratulations also to all Cathedral students, past and present, who received their degrees at the Rhodes Graduation this April. These included Ayanda Dabengwa, Theo Duxbury, Namso Nyamela, Ayabulela Matolweni, Anelisa Kelemi, Ogone Mokobe, Ikhona Mvaphantsi – and of course, the Revd Dr Percy Chinganga, who is on the staff of the Cathedral as well as the College of the Transfiguration. Well done, everyone! For more photos, see our Gallery.

The Cathedral Artists-in-Residence, Chris and Julia Mann, are at present ‘Artists-at-Large’, spending some months in Europe. As well as helping to look after Chris’s stroke-survivor sister, Jackie Shipster, in the UK, Chris attended an international poetry festival in Vicenza, Italy, at which he read a poem ‘A Pilgrimage to Italy’.

St Paul’s Melbourne

June Venn and Elizabeth Breetkze travelled to Australia together in April, although their destinations were different. Elizabeth visited her sister in Sydney, and travelled with her by road all the way to Canberra and Melbourne. She was impressed with Australia’s cleanliness, and good environmental policies, as well as the friendliness of everyone she met. Highlights included attending a show on a stage floating in Sydney Harbour (though the audience was on land), and visiting a beautifully laid out war museum in Canberra. June, after spending a couple of nights with Elizabeth’s sister, travelled on to Melbourne to spend time with a cousin and her family, whose apartment was within walking distance of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. June loved worshipping there, and felt completely at home at their services, so similar to ours. Both travellers enjoyed beautiful autumn weather, and at the end of three weeks flew home together.

Mike Kunz on a visit to the Cathedral parish in 2017

We give thanks for the life and work of Michael Künz, who died on 6 April. Michael worked in Growing the Church’s Media Department in Cape Town. He developed our Cathedral website, as well as websites for many dioceses, parishes and organisations in our Province, including the Diocese of Grahamstown. Prayers are asked for his family. After a battle with pancreatic cancer, Claire Hunter’s cousin, Anne-Christine Houriet, died in Switzerland on 26 April. The family are grateful for the prayers of many, and that she died peacefully in a loving and caring Hospice environment.

Very much in our prayers have been the people of Mozambique, hit by cyclone Kenneth before they had begun to recover from the devastation caused by the previous cyclone, only six weeks earlier. We remember also the flood-stricken areas in KwaZulu-Natal, with all the loss of life and homes, as well as those bereaved and injured in the Easter Day attacks in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. The fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, chilled all those around the world who value historic places of worship. We give thanks that despite all the destruction nobody was killed or seriously injured, and the walls and towers were saved – and even the organ.

On Freedom Day this year, 27 April, the destination for State President Cyril Ramaphosa was right here in Makhanda, where he spoke at the Miki Yili Stadium. Grocott’s Mail described as a “highlight of the day” the singing of the Kwantu Community Choir, conducted by none other than Kutlwano ‘Kepa’ Kepadisa. The President seemed to agree, as he danced and sang alongside them, and even took a turn at conducting. Kepa reported that he exclaimed “I really would love to join your choir.” Bayanda Mthetho was on the keyboard, and Asakhe Cuntsulana played the drum.

Photo credit: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

Stop press news! Just making it into April, Lumnene Ukhanyo Madiba arrived on the last day of the month, to the great joy of his parents Luthando and Lusanda, and Lulibo who is now a Big Sister! We pray God’s special blessings on this brand-new addition to the Cathedral family.

People and Places, April 2019

The month of March was a busy one at the Cathedral. The Mothers’ Union began the month with a fund-raiser in St George’s Hall, which was a great success.

Pearl Nzuza, Thami Latha and Jonathan Bukutu

The College of the Transfiguration has sent us three third-year students to join our ministry team in 2019, Pearl Nzuza and Thami Latha both from the Diocese of Natal, and Jonathan Bukutu, a deacon from Niassa Diocese in Mozambique. We welcomed them on 3 March, and at the same service five new Probationers joined the Choir.

Shrove Tuesday fell on 5 March, and the annual Pancake Pandemonium took place in St George’s Hall. Congratulations to Sally Terry and her team, who this year raised a record-breaking amount of over R7,000. On the following evening, there was a good attendance at the Ash Wednesday Eucharist, and Kepa’s Kwantu Choir joined the Cathedral Choir in singing the Miserere by Allegri. Kwantu returned to sing at a Sung Eucharist on 24 March, when the juniors choristers were on holiday.

 

 


March was a good month for congratulations: Two Cathedral young people were appointed Head Girls of their schools: Liyabona Nqumani of Victoria Girls High School, and Kaede Bridger of Victoria Primary. Prof Chris Mann, one of our Artists-in-Residence, was honoured for a lifetime of distinguished service to English. The gold medal was awarded to the poet by the English Academy of Southern Africa in collaboration with Rhodes University’s Department of Literary Studies, the Institute for the Study of English in Africa, and the National English Literary Museum. Percy Chinganga will be receiving his Doctorate from Rhodes at the coming Graduation, and Dean Andrew has been awarded his Doctorate from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. His thesis was on “Conflict resolution and campus protests at Rhodes University, 2015 – 2016” and he will be graduating on 5 April. Very well done to everyone!

Tandiwe Gabavana

On Sunday 10 March the Dean admitted Tandiwe Gabavana as our Youth Intern. The Youth Intern programme includes giving work experience, training in administrative skills, exposure to governance, personal growth and development, and discipleship. We give thanks for Tandiwe, and pray for her in this new role.

Lunga Dongwana

On 16 March there was an Ordination of Priests in the Cathedral, and one of our own was among the 19 men and women ordained, Lunga Dongwana. The service was magnificent, with a packed Cathedral and rousing music. By contrast the following afternoon Lunga celebrated the Eucharist for the very first time, at a quiet but manifestly holy service held in the sanctuary of the Cathedral. Christ Church incumbent Vic Graham gave a challenging and inspiring homily addressed specifically to Lunga, but applicable to all present. We pray for Lunga and his family as he begins this new phase of ministry among us.

We had a happy Vestry meeting on 17 March, and ask God’s blessing on our new Parish Council, giving thanks for a team which reflects the diversity of our Cathedral family. Ronaldo Burger is joined as Churchwarden by Lungile Penxa, and the other Councillors are Katie Appollis, Rodney Bridger, Theodore Duxbury, Siyabulela Fobosi and Ian Meiklejohn. In addition, Ayanda Dabengwa represents the Cathedral Student Ministry ex officio. They were installed as church officers on 24 March.

Installation of Church Officers

Heather Tracey fell on 9 March, breaking a hip, and spent some time in Mercantile Hospital in Port Elizabeth as she needed two operations, the second a full hip replacement. Please pray for her and Andrew. Our prayers are very much with the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi after the devastating cyclone and floods. Our Archbishop has appealed for donations. For details click here. There was the terrible massacre of Muslim worshippers by a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand. Another tragedy was the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane, with the death of all those on board. They included delegates, and one speaker, on the way to a conference on climate change in Nairobi, Kenya. We pray for all affected, including Dean Andrew and Claire’s friends Bob and Rachel Mash, who attended the conference. Sad news has reached us from Cape Town, where the husband of former Cathedral Choir member Sue Abraham, Trevor, died suddenly following an operation. We pray for Sue, and their family and friends. And prayers are asked for Siyabulela Bam, whose wife Nontando died, also suddenly. He was one of the COTT students attached to the Cathedral in 2017, and was recently ordained priest.

In March we said farewell to two of our senior members, who have moved to be closer to family members. Jenny Reynolds has relocated to Cape Town, and Florence Pswarayi to Harare, Zimbabwe. The closure of the St Luke’s Hospice at the CR Sisters means the end of an era, as the remaining residents all had to find new homes at the end of March. We pray especially for Cathedral parishioners Beth Denton and Ruth Brandt, now at Somerset Place, and for Audrey Holmes who has moved within the building to stay in St Peter’s. May God bless them all as they settle into their new surroundings. We give thanks for the wonderful work which took place at St Luke’s, and pray for the Sisters, and for the nursing staff of St Luke’s who now have to find new employment.

When Lent comes round, many of us choose some luxury to “give up”, such as alcohol or chocolate. Few of us would have considered giving up the “luxury” of water on tap, or electricity available at the flick of a switch. Yet now that we have been forced to do that, for a few hours a day, or a few days, how conscious we are that these are indeed luxuries, which we have too long taken for granted. And we are reminded that for the majority of the world’s citizens, and for huge numbers of people even in our own town, water does not come out of a tap inside the house, and electricity is not available at all. The Grahamstown Residents Association is encouraging people who do have water, to use as little of it as possible, so that people in other, higher, parts of the town may have some too. If we are fortunate enough to have one or more rain-water tanks, we can use some of God’s bountiful gift of rain, instead of drawing all our water from the town supply. In other words, we must do our best to share. May we take to heart the lessons of Lenten load-shedding, and may God bless us with more rain!

People and Places, March 2019

Nzwana Ndlwana conducting the Back to School choir

In February the rhythm of Cathedral life resumes in earnest. Students return, and the Marimba group, Junior Church and Student Services all get going, enriching our worship. It is particularly exciting to welcome new students, both at the morning services, and at the 6:30 pm Sunday student services. Several first year Rhodes students have joined Cathedral Student Ministry. The newly elected Chairperson of CSM is Theodore Duxbury. Revd Claire is going to be presenting a series (interactive Bible Study Sermons) on “Love”, entitled “Falling in love with Jesus is the best thing I’ve ever done”. The first Sunday in February saw the Cathedral hosting the annual ecumenical Back to School service, with a special Back to School choir conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa), which of course included the junior members of the Cathedral Choir. Canon Melany Adonis was the preacher.

Janine Jegels

The Cathedral Office welcomed a new Parish Secretary, Janine Jegels, who is working alongside her predecessor Lou-Anne Liebenberg, now Parish Administrator. We give thanks for her appointment and pray for her in this new role.

The plight of our town continues to be a cause of concern. Prayers are asked for our new Mayor Mzukisi Mphahlwa and his team as they grapple with water shortages, power cuts, and a municipal workers’ strike on top of the usual problems of potholes and stray livestock on the roads. The water emergency has a number of causes, among them inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, made worse by the continuing drought. The situation hit the national headlines, and to our great relief that splendid organisation Gift of the Givers rolled into town with a convoy of seven big trucks, all bearing water in 5 litre bottles to be distributed to those who had none at all. Not only that, but they kept up the deliveries, and kick-started a process of drilling bore-holes, which are already yielding water to augment that supplied by our sadly low dams. We give thanks for this initiative, and the speed with which this body comes to the rescue in emergencies in this country and around the world, and continue to pray for rain.

Level Four loadshedding by Eskom took the country (and even the State President) by surprise, but even before that we had a Sunday without electricity on 10 February, of which we were forewarned as it was for the purpose of maintenance. We were grateful to John Jackson, who volunteered to play the piano for all three services that day. This also had the result of giving our organists Peter Breetzke and Markus Mostert a day off. The third service of the day was a Choral Evensong which focussed on George Herbert, a poet priest who lived long before the days of electric light. The choir sang a setting of his poem ‘Come my way’ by AJ Bethke, and the hymns were all settings of other George Herbert poems. Paul Walters gave an inspiring homily about this poet whose works he knows so well, using the light of a seven-branch candelabra, an appropriately 17th-century touch.

Prayers are asked for Peter Terry, brother of Pat, for May de Vos’s granddaughter Trevin Kingsley and for Trent Hoskins, cousin of Lou-Anne Liebenberg. We also pray for the family of one of our choristers, Siyolisa Sandi, who were the victims of not one but two robberies on the weekend of 17 February. We give thanks for the miraculous healing of Gill Meyer’s grandson, James, in the UK. He was seriously ill with a mystery condition affecting his eyes. Medical experts are baffled and we are thankful to God!

A group of Grade 4 girls from DSG had the opportunity to go round the Cathedral, and even up the tower, on 21 February, when Basil Mills led them on a tour. Anyone interested in going up the tower should make a note that the Bell Tower Tours, which have proved so popular during the National Arts Festival, will be back on the Spiritfest programme this year.

On Sunday morning, 24 February, four Cathedral young people were admitted as members of the Diocesan Youth Guild: Kutlwano Kepadisa, Thandiwe Gabavana, Mandilakhe Ncwadi and Busisiwe Soxujwa. We give thanks for them, and pray for the Cathedral DYG Branch.

 

 

One of the highlights of the Makhanda/ Grahamstown year is Masicule. This year the two concerts took place on 24 and 25 February. Not only was the Monument Theatre almost completely full, but the stage was crammed with almost 700 singers, most of them from our local schools, town and township, private and public, all singing joyfully together. And the official conductor was none other than Kepa, while the official accompanist on keyboard was Bayanda Mthetho, our schoolboy organist! They both acquitted themselves brilliantly. The Cathedral family can be enormously proud of these talented young musicians. In 2018 Kepa was the recipient of the Masicule Gift, a generous cash contribution which went a long way towards paying for the Kwantu Community Choir’s travel to Pretoria for the World Choir Games. And this year it is Bayanda, now in Grade 10, who is receiving the Masicule Gift. This will enable him to receive piano tuition from Liz Campbell, who will be preparing him to take his Associate Diploma in piano. Naturally Kwantu Choir and the juniors of the Cathedral Choir were among the choirs featured, as well as Byrdsongs, and the list of soloists included Cathedral choristers Sixolile Mafani, Alizwa Tom, Lelethu Maboza and Hlomela Tyatya. Nzulu Nzwana, our Head Chorister, conducted one of the songs. What a privilege it was for these singers to be alongside the guest soloist, Vusi ‘the Voice’ Mhlasela, in this wonderful feast of song, and what a joy it was to see and hear this demonstration of what South Africa could and should be like.

 

People and Places, February 2019

A warm welcome to all those returning to Makhanda/ Grahamstown after their holidays, and to those arriving in the city for the first time.

Mary-Ellen Ashcroft reunited with friends

We welcomed a guest preacher on 2 December, the Revd Dr Mary-Ellen Ashcroft. From the USA, she is a long-time friend of Revd Dr Claire. On 9 December two new members were admitted to the Mothers’ Union of the Cathedral, Nomakwezi Gabavana, the Leader, and Thembi Myolwa.

On the Sunday before Christmas a small choir led the singing in an evening service of lessons (not all biblical) and unusual carols. The next day was Christmas Eve, when the Crib Service attracted parents, grandparents, and many children, who dressed as their favourite Nativity characters and performed an impromptu Nativity play, while a merry band of musicians – Nicola Hunter with family and friends – led the singing, this year conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa). Many visitors came to the Midnight Mass at which Bishop Ebenezer preached, and to the 8:30 Christmas morning service.

On 26 December a 45-minute radio programme entitled ‘The Bells of St Macartans’ was broadcast on the Irish radio stations Shannonside FM and Northern Sound FM. This was mainly concerned with three Irish Cathedrals dedicated to St Macartan, but also included a segment relating to this Cathedral. The connection was that the Dean of Grahamstown at the time when our first eight bells were installed, Frederick Williams, had grown up in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, within sound of the bells of St Macartan’s Cathedral. Those bells are hung in a circle, and Dean Williams wished to have similar circle of bells in the Cathedral in Grahamstown. The radio programme was produced and presented by Noel Murphy, who visited Grahamstown in May 2018. To listen to a podcast of the programme, which includes the sound of the St Michael’s Marimbas, click here.

The Deanery family welcomed home their student daughters for the vacation. Both have now returned to Stellenbosch. Rachel has completed her BA, but is going to spend 2018 adding Xhosa and Afrikaans to her credits, and taking a correspondence course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Nicola enjoyed getting down and dirty in a veterinary practice during her vac. Having successfully completed three years of Medicine, she has decided to revert to her original choice of Veterinary Science! Unfortunately she missed the application deadline for Pretoria this year so will spend 2019 in Stellenbosch doing Animal Science in the hopes of transferring to Onderstepoort in 2020.

Glyn Lloyd-Jones was at home with his parents in Kokstad for the holidays, during which time they experienced six break-ins. On one occasion, Glyn was attacked. Thankfully they are all right, though very shaken. The community has rallied round and has made it possible for a security guard to be on duty watching their house. We pray for their ongoing safety and protection.

Our former Director of Music, AJ Bethke, spent Christmas in Cape Town with his parents, along with his little son Caleb (now 2¾). On 6 January Caleb was baptised in Thornton Methodist Church by his grandfather the Revd Tony Bethke, a very special moment.

Our marimba leader Asakhe Cuntsulana’s talents are not only musical. He has now published online a book of poetry: Ikhwezi Eliqaqambileyo. To order a copy, click on the picture of the book.

We rejoice with Lorraine Mullins on the birth of a grandson, and congratulate Millicent Armitage on her 93rd birthday. Millie and her daughter Gill have been much concerned with the mysterious illness of Gill’s baby grandson James Caloni in the UK. We continue to pray for his healing. Jane Bradshaw had an unpleasant experience at the end of a lovely holiday. In Cape Town airport she slipped on some steps and injured a tendon in her ankle quite seriously. Regulations at the airport denied her the use of a wheelchair – because she had not booked it in advance! We thank God that she is well on the way to recovery. Prayers are asked for Siyolisa Sandi, a chorister whose uncle has died.

Exciting news is that thanks to renewed generosity by the donors who sponsored him last years, Bayanda Mthetho, our Grade 10 organist, has his organ lessons sponsored for the whole of 2019! Congratulations to another of our choristers, Kuhle Pama, who has been elected as a Prefect at Mary Waters School. We also congratulate Liyabona Nqumani, on being chosen as Head Girl of VG for 2019, and a number of our choristers who have received Colours at Graeme College: Xolisa Foley, Nzulu Nzwana and Bayanda Mthetho for Choir, with Bayanda also receiving Cultural Colours.

Congratulations to all those who passed Matric. Victoria Girls High was one of the schools which achieved a 100% pass rate. Among the successful students were two former members of the Makana Choir School, Sine Nqumba who is going to study at NMU, and Avile Sonyamba who hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps in the SAPS. Onwaba Mafuya is going to UWC, and Tyla Fourie to UCT. From DSG, Hlumela Maqwili is also heading to UCT, and her mother Zoleka is looking forward to a three-month sabbatical during which she will concentrate on her studies.

We give thanks for the safe return of Mandilakhe Ncwadi from initiation school, and pray for God’s blessings on him in his adult life.

Lorraine Cassim has returned after an extended holiday to visit family and friends in the UK, where she has a daughter and a son, as well as the Western Cape and Port Elizabeth. Highlights of her time overseas included seeing the ‘Nutcracker’ ballet in Birmingham, and in Cape Town a visit to Robben Island and the Two Oceans Oceanarium. Maggy Clarke joined her daughter Beccy Stones and family for a week camping in Mozambique. The highlight was a boat trip to go snorkelling around a coral reef, where the fish were spectacular. In January Beth Denton enjoyed a visit from her son and daughter-in-law from the USA.

On 20 January the Dean awarded citations to three long-standing volunteers at the Cathedral who had recently stepped down from their duties, Andrew Tracey (left), Penny Whitford and Clive Whitford.  Read the citations here: Andrew TraceyPenny WhitfordClive Whitford.  Congratulations and many heartfelt thanks to these wonderful people who have given so much in the service of the Lord!

With amazement and delight the Dean has now announced that Cameron Luke, who was previously appointed as the Cathedral Director of Music, is able to come after all and take up the post. We look forward to his arrival in February, and pray for him and the choir as he takes up his duties.

The drought in this city as well as elsewhere in the country is reaching crisis proportions, and often results in disastrous fires. Lynette Marais was in Pringle Bay at the time of the fire in that area. Told to evacuate their homes, the residents of that village then found that the only road out was impassable because of the fire! We thank God that they, and Lynette, were able to return home safely. Closer to home, the Antrobus family farm dam ran dry, and they had to fetch water in a tank from Dog Dam to keep their cattle alive. The month of January ended with a well-attended ecumenical lunch-time prayer service in the Cathedral on Wednesday the 30th. We asked God not only for rain, but for repentance, healing and unity, and also for blessings on all those in the municipality and further afield whose job is to ensure that we continue to receive water in our pipes; and for us all, that we may value and conserve this vital resource. And as this article was completed on 31 January – it was raining. May God be praised!

People and Places from previous years