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, December 2018

Silulami Mize

As the year comes to an end, the Cathedral parish has to say goodbye to Chantel Riddin, our most efficient and cheerful Administrator, who is moving to Uitenhage. We give thanks for her ministry among us, and pray for her in this move. We are blessed to have her successor at hand, in Lou-Anne Liebenberg, who is just moving a couple of steps from the office of the Parish Secretary to take over as Administrator in the new year. Congratulations to her, and also to Silulami (Sly) Mize, whose appointment as Verger has now been made permanent. We pray that the right person will be sent to us to be our next Parish Secretary. And we continue to pray for a Director of Music. The Parish Executive having reluctantly concluded that the requirements set by the Department of Labour for the appointment of an overseas candidate were simply impossible on grounds of cost, the post is being re-advertised in regional newspapers and online only.

The weather was appropriately ‘fair’ on 3 November for the St George’s Fair. A bumper crowd turned out on a lovely warm morning. Congratulations to Rodney Bridger, Rose Spannenberg, June Venn and the whole team on their hard work which resulted in raising a record-breaking sum of over R45,000! The Kids’ Zone in the Deanery Garden was a new and popular feature, complete with jumping castle. For more pictures, see our Gallery.

On Sunday 4 November the Cathedral remembered All Saints in the morning, and, in the evening, the feast of All Souls, at which the Choir sang the “Little Requiem” by Andrew-John Bethke. The following Sunday, 11 November, was a particularly special Remembrance Sunday, marking 100 years since the end of World War I. The a cappella group Saeculum Aureum presented a concert on 10 November in St Bartholomew’s Church to mark the occasion. This talented group of five singers is conducted by Glyn Lloyd-Jones, who was also responsible for many of the musical arrangements of an intriguing variety of songs, from cheerful marches like ‘A long way to Tipperary’ to moving laments. One of these was specially written by Simthembile Xeketwana to commemorate the tragic loss of life when the SS Mendi went down in 1917, and was sung to an Anglican psalm chant, the same ‘Troyte’s Chant’ which was used as the basis for the struggle song ‘Senzenani’. Other members of the Cathedral choir in the group were Jessica Smith and Charles Antrobus.

Asakhe Cuntsulana does not only train and conduct the Cathedral marimba players, and on 21 November he show-cased the groups he trains, AmaSango Career School, Eluxolweni, and Makhanda Marimba Band, as well as the St Michael’s Marimbas, in a Marimba Fest in the Cathedral. The standard of these groups was uniformly high, with their musicianship matched by their enthusiasm and infectious good cheer. We are indeed blessed to have Asakhe as part of the musical team at the Cathedral.

Residents of this city who had been complaining to one another about poor service delivery and waste of ratepayers money, came together in a remarkable show of solidarity in early November. After almost 21,000 signatures had been gathered on a petition requesting that the Makana Municipality be placed under Administration, a large crowd converged on the City Hall on Tuesday 6 November to deliver the petition. Young and old they came, rich and poor, and of every shade of skin colour and political persuasion. It came on to rain, but they stayed cheerfully waiting, dancing and singing to keep bodies warm and spirits high, even when soaking wet. The Speaker of the Municipality accepted the petition, which was also delivered to Bhisho direct, with a copy to Pretoria. Interestingly, the total number of people who voted in Makana during the last municipal election was just over 24,000 – not so very much more than the number who signed the petition. We pray for a speedy and effective response.

Cathy Meiklejohn’s father Robert Hill died on 18 November, and our sympathy and prayers go to her, to Eunice Ncwadi on the tragic death of her nephew Bobby, and too Theo Duxbury on the death of his grandmother. Anna Talbot, a former leader of the Connect Group, is mourning the death of her mother Janet, who was also a close friend of Revd Claire. We were shocked to hear that Sub-Dean Mzi Dyantyi, his wife Lilitha, together with Mzi’s sister and her children, were involved in a car accident near Komgha on 26 November. We pray for all involved, thanking God that Mzi and Lilitha were not seriously injured although the car was a write-off.

We welcome into our midst three new members of the Cathedral family who were baptised on 25 November, two baby girls Milanathi Gwetyana and Bulela Rhulani Joni, and Nathan Ngesi who lives at Eluxolweni. May God bless them and their families.

Congratulations to two of the Cathedral family who celebrated special birthdays recently. Roswitha Hobson turned 80, and Ann Stockwell 70. Ann and Peter’s daughter Clare came over from the UK for the celebrations, with her partner James. Roswitha’s daughter Saskia also came from England for the big birthday, which included a party for some 60 people.

Pat Terry

The PhD proposal of Theodore Duxbury (a Lay Minister, PCC member and CSM Core Team member) was passed in the Pharmacy Higher Degree Committee on 27th November. Everyone is inspired and excited by the work that is being done, collaborating between Community Engagement and Rhodes University Faculties. Pat Terry, Professor Emeritus, was honoured by Rhodes University with the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018. Our schoolboy organist, Bayanda Mthetho (15 years old), excelled himself in his Grade 8 piano exam, obtaining an amazing mark of 97%. Well done! One of the priests at the Cathedral, Luthando Madiba, who is the Media Officer of the Diocese, has now also been appointed as Chaplain to the Community of the Resurrection (CR) Sisters, and will be installed by the Bishop shortly. We pray for him in this new role.

Sister Naheng CR

The CR Sisters welcomed Associates and friends on 24 November. At the Eucharist celebrated by their Visitor, Bishop Paddy Glover, Sister Naheng made her Final Profession. She was supported by a warmly enthusiastic group of family and friends from as far afield as Lesotho, who led the singing of a couple of choruses in Sesotho. We give thanks to God for Sister Naheng, and pray for her in her journey of faith. Lunch followed the service, after which Margie Antrobus entertained the Sisters and visitors with an amusing account of her days as one of the last students to go through the Training College (TC). This was not a mere talk, but a theatrical performance complete with quick changes of costume, as Margie conjured up the various characters, both sisters and lay staff, who made such a vivid impression on her.

A retired architect from Cape Town, John Rennie, spoke to the University of the Third Age (U3A) on 22 November. In the 1980s he had been in charge of the major restoration of the Cathedral, and this was the subject of his fascinating talk. If it had not been for him and the team of contractors assembled, our spire might well have fallen down! We are most grateful for all those who worked on this project, and raised funds to make it possible.

The Junior Choristers of the Cathedral Choir sang at a service for the last time before their term ended, on 25 November. This was a glorious Nine Lessons and Carols. Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) had taught the choir a number of new carols, Bayanda Mthetho played the organ, and the chancel was packed with parishioners and friends. Click here for a recording of Bayanda playing part of Bach’s Prelude No 5 in G Major, BWV 557.

All the Cathedral Bible Study groups and the Meditation group came together for their end-of-year gathering at St Luke’s, which began with an informal Eucharist in the common room. St Bart’s priest Eric Kelly encouraged the various groups to design their own liturgies for the different parts of the service, and the result was moving and memorable, including visual aids as well as song. A highlight was an encouraging ‘epistle’ from St Paul to the saints in Grahamstown!

As we begin Advent and look forward to Christmas, we pray for those leaving town, that God will bless them in the next phase of their lives, and for students and families going on holiday, that they will rest well and have safe travels, as well as for the boys who are ‘going to the bush’. May we all have a blessed Christmas!

People and Places, November 2018

Cathedral students hosted a Spring Tea for Seniors on 20 October. The weather was bitterly cold, so it had to be served in the Hall, but the welcome was warm and the flowers colourful, including those on the hats of the guests. Revd Claire challenged the Seniors to a Bible quiz, guess the hymn tune, and Biblical Charades acted by the students. A great time was had by all.

On 7 October we welcomed a new member of the Cathedral family when Mizaan Marcus was baptised. She is the baby daughter of Melissa and Glenwill.

Dean Andrew attended the Provincial Standing Committee, (PSC) in Gauteng at the beginning of October. This decision-making body of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa meets annually except in years when there is a Provincial Synod. He reported that PSC worship services had included hymns from the new ‘Southern African Multilingual Hymn Collection’, which is now in print. This compilation was begun by A-J Bethke while he was Director of Music at our Cathedral, and on the staff of the College of Transfiguration, and completed since he left us. The book includes music, and translations into English for people who do not understand all the languages used, and provides a much wider selection of hymns than the temporary blue booklets we have been using in the Cathedral. It can be ordered from the Provincial Publications Department: publish@anglicanchurchsa.org.za.

Congratulations to new chorister Kuhle Pama, who has served a time of probation and was admitted and robed at Choral Evensong on 14 October. On the following Sunday evening, 21 October, the Choir presented their End of Year Concert, at which they sang a selection of the repertoire they have learned and sung throughout the year. Links to listen to extracts from some of the songs can be found on our Videos page. On that occasion the Choir said goodbye to two girls who were about to start writing their Matric, Sine Nqumba and the 2018 Head Chorister, Avile Sonyamba. Congratulations to Sine, who has been awarded Cultural Colours at VGHS.

The Rhodes University Chamber Choir held their final concert of the year in the Cathedral on 17 October, and invited other choirs to participate, including the Cathedral Choir, Kwantu Choir, Pro Carmine and Byrdsongs, all of which involve Cathedral musicians. Kwantu Choir, conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa, closed the year with a splendid concert at NELM on 27 October, which proved again that this choir well deserved its Silver award at the World Choir Games.

Maggy Clarke had a holiday in Cape Town, and visited among others Rod and Jenny Walsh, and AJ Bethke’s parents Tony and Erica, who are all in good health. Highlight of the visit was going to a performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’, which John Jackson was also able to attend This brought together choirs, soloists and orchestral players from Cape Town, Dresden in Germany and Johannesburg, and required three conductors! Beccy Stones, Maggy’s daughter, came with the Johannesburg Symphony Choir, and was able to join Maggy for three nights.

There was standing room only in the Cory Library at the launch on 25 October of ‘Faithful to the vision’,  by the Revd Dr Eric Kelly, the priest at St Bartholomew’s. Product of Eric’s PhD research, the book tells the history of the Grahamstown Training College (TC) founded by the Sisters of the Community of the Resurrection. Among teachers who trained at TC, Margie Antrobus and Beth Denton are quoted in the book.

The Walters family had a scare when Cath, wife of Paul and June’s son John, was admitted to hospital and had to have her appendix removed. We give thanks that the operation was a success. Fortunately they live here, and grandparents were on hand to assist with babysitting. Danielle Christian, baby daughter of Dane and Chanele, is in our prayers, having been admitted to hospital with a high fever and severe stomach problems. Dane has now joined the team of relief organists, for which we are most grateful.

We pray for Thami Tisani, on the death of her aunt, Nomalizo Mokgoko, for Siphokazi Njokweni whose nephew Zukile Ncita died, for Sine Nqumba on the death of her grandmother, and for Wendy Mfazwe on the death of her brother Sicelo Jack. Margaret Anema, who was resident at St Luke’s, died recently, and news reached us from Port Alfred of the death of Mary Murray, a former member of our Cathedral Choir. Prayers are asked for all their families.

The last Sunday of October was observed as the Cathedral’s Patronal Festival (transferred from Michaelmas, 29 September). The morning services were occasions of great joy, at which parishioners old and young came up to give testimonies about how God had blessed them during the year. The 9:30 service began with a procession led by Ayanda Dabengwa, Ikhona Mvaphantsi and the Children’s Church (Sunday School) carrying flags, and they returned later to present a musical item. The Choir sang, the marimbas played, harvest gifts (non-perishable items for the Grocery Baskets) were displayed before the altar, and parishioners brought up their pledges for the year to be presented at Communion.

During the service the Dean inducted the Revd Siphokazi Njokweni as the Chaplain of the Makana Choir School. He also inducted the new Head Chorister for 2019, Nzulu Nzwana, a Graeme College Grade 10 learner. His father is Canon Lawrence Nzwana, and it was good that his mother, Nosipho, was able to come over from Zwelitsha to be with him on this occasion. This was the last service attended by the College of the Transfiguration placement team for 2018, and prayers were said over them as they go on to the next chapter in their lives, either further study or ordination.

Marijke and Colin Lewis were in town that weekend, visiting from Wales. Marijke came to the Dedication Service and gave a testimony, and Colin joined the bell ringers in the evening.

May God bless all our students and school children as they write their final exams of the year!

People and Places, October 2018

Golden congratulations to Michael and Adrienne Whisson, who celebrated 50 years of marriage on 20 September!

We give thanks that the Good Shepherd School, where Revd Claire is Chaplain, now has a new Principal, Manie Cronje, and we pray for him, the staff and children.

Congratulations to Dr Wilbert Kadye, who has been promoted to Senior Lecturer at Rhodes. Three boys from Eluxolweni who are attending local high schools have recently achieved Gold Awards in the President’s Award programme. Warm congratulations to Sive Bavuma, Mandilakhe Ncwadi and Onelani Williams. We congratulate three Graeme boys who are members of the Cathedral choir, on being awarded half-colours for Choir: Xolisa Foley, Nzulu Nzwana and Bayanda Mthetho. Bayanda also received half-colours for Cultural Achievement – well done!

On 2 September the Makana Choir School held its AGM. The meeting was attended by 25 choristers, parents and parishioners, who also watched the video clip of ‘Slice of Light’ which featured the Makana Choir School. Congratulations to the newly elected Committee: David Gain (Chair), Virginia David-Engelbrecht (Treasurer), Maggy Clarke (Secretary), Cathy Meiklejohn (Fund-raiser) together with Kutlwano Kepadisa, Glyn Lloyd-Jones, Jessica Smith and Penny Whitford. The 2019 Head Chorister will become an ex officio member of the Committee when he/she is chosen.

Our previous Director of Music, A-J Bethke, has shared the exciting news that he is now officially a father. He and little Caleb travelled to Cape Town from their home in Durban for the court hearing on 21 September, at which the process of adoption was finalised. We rejoice with them, and pray for God’s blessing on their life together.

On Sunday 9 September we welcomed two brand-new Lay Ministers, both students: Theo Duxbury and Thandiwe Gabavana. May God bless them in their ministry!

Dr Nomathamsanqa Tisani, better known to us as Thami, had the honour of giving the annual DSC Oosthuizen Memorial Lecture at Rhodes University on 28 September. Her thought-provoking lecture was on ‘Lost opportunities and pervading hope in South African Higher Education’.

Lynette Marais has been suffering from shingles, as well as a pinched nerve in her neck – all very painful. We give thanks that her condition is beginning to improve, and pray for her complete recovery.

Kevin Riddin, father of our parish Administrator Chantel Riddin died on 22 September. We pray for  Chantel and her mother, and all the family. Please pray also for Rose Buchner and Jenny Reynolds on the death of their cousin Dudley Fletcher. Margaret Basson died recently in Cape Town. She was for a long time a faithful member of the Cathedral before she moved to the Western Cape some years ago. Her funeral took place here, and the Community of the Resurrection’s Chapel was full for the service on 22 September. We pray for her son Nick de Jager and her family and friends.

Peter and Ann Stockwell have returned from a most enjoyable five weeks with their children Clare and Andrew in the UK. Most of their time was spent at Clare’s home in Wimbledon, but they also visited Wales. Highlights included visits to St David’s Cathedral, and to the Royal Mint, where 90 million coins are turned out every week, in many currencies. Pat Terry recently returned from a visit to his son and grandson in Mauritius. Sally was there with him, and then travelled on to the UK to visit their daughter and enjoy the company of their baby granddaughter Scarlett. Lorraine Cassim is making extended visits to family in the UK, Johannesburg and Cape Town, and we wish her well on her travels.

Chris and Julia Mann, our Cathedral Artists-in-Residence, might now be described as our roving ambassadors. They are in the UK for two months, not only to visit Chris’s sister Jackie Shipster, who has been semi-paralysed for some years after a stroke, but also to take on tour some of their shows. They started their tour with a book launch of Chris’s ‘Epiphanies’, which was originally launched at Spiritfest some years ago, at Tyndale House, Cambridge. This is a Bible research institute with scholars from different countries. They were invited by the Reverend Dr Craig Bartholomew, head of their Ethics section, who is thinking about starting a Christian arts festival in Cambridgeshire.

Rhodes University’s annual Symphony Concert took place in the Monument Theatre on 22 September, with a repeat performance the following day at NMU in Port Elizabeth. The orchestra consisted of students and staff augmented by professional musicians from the region, including Shiloh Marsh and Gareth Walwyn. Among the vocalists who took part in this popular programme were Asakhe Cuntsulana and Anelisa Kelemi. Delibes’ ‘Flower Duet’ performed by Anelisa, with Emma Farquharson, was exquisitely beautiful. We can be so proud of these young musicians.

People and Places, September 2018

As we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Tata Nelson Mandela’s birth in July, many Rhodes students took part in “Trading Live” activities, sharing skills and activities within the community. Among them was Theo Duxbury, who with fellow Pharmacy students went to Fikizolo School to give health and nutrition advice to a group of Grade 7s. Sharing a completely different skill was Asakhe Cuntsulana, who among other music students welcomed children from Samuel Ntsika Primary School to the International Library of African Music (ILAM) for a concert and guided tour. As well as conducting the St Michael’s Marimbas at the Cathedral, Asakhe conducts the RUMBAND (Rhodes University Marimba Band) whose lively performance was enthusiastically received by the school children.

Not content with two marimba bands, Asakhe also teaches marimbas at Amasango School. Their band travelled to Johannesburg recently to take part in the Education Africa International Marimba and Steel Band Festival, and were placed third. This was a huge achievement, when the competitors came not only from South Africa but also from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Nigeria. Warm congratulations!

Sigqibo, Sinovuyo and Siyabulela with Luyanda Matiwane, the senior house father.

Congratulations also to the four boys from Eluxolweni who completed the GBS Mountain Drive Half Marathon on 25 August: Sinovuyo Bavuma, Siyabulela Yako, Stuart Qokose and especially to Sigqibo Mazungula who won a silver medal.

August, Women’s Month, started on a sombre note with news of the suicide of a Rhodes student, Khensani Maseko, who was allegedly raped by a fellow-student some months previously. We pray for her family, her friends, and all those who have suffered similarly and continue to suffer as a result of gender-based violence. The University suspended teaching for two days of mourning for Khensani.

Prayers are asked for Margo Brooks, on the death of her mother Joan Humphrey, for Eunice Ncwadi whose aunt Lucy Maselane Wakashe died on 2 September, and for Mpumie Magwa-Bobotyani, whose family has been hit by two unrelated murders. Her father Moses Bom died in April, and her nephew Sinethemba Zingatho in May. Pray also for her sister Nomathemba, Sinethemba’s mother, who is seriously ill.

Rachel Hunter’s broken nose was re-set in Stellenbosch, and her mother Claire went down to be with her. We give thanks for the success of this operation, and pray for her complete recovery. Pray also for Lynette Marais, who has shingles and a pinched nerve in her neck. We give thanks that Sub-Dean Mzi Dyantyi was unhurt when his car skidded off the road to King William’s Town in heavy rain on 10 August.

The Makana Choir School featured on TV on Sunday 5 August, as part of the religious programme ‘Slice of Light’, on SABC2. The insert, which was recorded by the Port Elizabeth-based company Sunshine Coast Productions some months earlier, featured interviews with interim choir director Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa), junior chorister Xolisa Foley and choir probationer Junaid Douglas, with background shots of the choir in robes, rehearsing. The programme is available on YouTube.

We were sad to say goodbye to our verger Timothy Stephen, whose cheerful smile has welcomed so many visitors to the Cathedral, but rejoice with him that he now has a full-time position at Fort England. In his place we welcome Silulami Mize, who has been appointed initially on a trial basis.

In honour of Women’s Day, Thursday 9 August, the Cathedral hosted women – and men – to a Champagne Breakfast in St George’s Hall. The venue looked lovely, and the food was delicious. Many thanks to Rose Spanneberg and Katie Appollis, and their team which included June Venn, Thami Tisani, Caroline Lane, Margie Antrobus and Euline Bartis – not forgetting Theo Duxbury, the enthusiastic and charming Master of Ceremonies. Not only was this a most enjoyable social occasion, but it was also a successful fundraiser, producing a handsome profit of R6619!

The monthly Quiet Afternoon on 11 August took place in the Chapter House, because the Monastery was not available. An unusually large group, including many students, came along and learned from Julia Mann Skeen about Anglican Prayer Beads, and put this into practice making their own sets of prayer beads.

For some time there has been anxiety about the state of the windows in the south wall of the Cathedral. Thanks to generous bequests from the late David Hodgson, Beth Dickerson and Eleanor Barker, these have now been repaired. On Sunday 19 August a plaque commemorating these bequests was dedicated, in the presence of David’s daughter and son-in-law. Sadly his widow Jeanette was unwell, and unable to attend, and we pray for her. A plaque was also dedicated recently near the High Altar in memory of Dennis and Ruth Burkinshaw, and in thanksgiving for their generous service over the years.

On 19 August the Cathedral also acknowledged the contributions of two of our Lay Ministers, who have each served in this capacity for over 50 years, Michael Whisson and Paul Walters. Paul has now stepped down from the regular roster, although he says he will still be available in emergencies. And on the same day we bade farewell to Cathy Euijen, a former Parish Councillor who was about to leave to teach in Abu Dabi. We give thanks to God for their devoted service. A week later was the last Sunday of Carlos Respieto’s second and final placement at the Cathedral. It has been a blessing to have him with us, and we pray for him as he completes his time at COTT and goes forward for ordination in his home diocese in Mozambique.

On 26 August we welcomed the Revd Dr Joe Pagano as our preacher. In addition we welcomed him and his wife, the Revd Dr Amy Richter, who are making the Cathedral their spiritual home for about a year. They come from the Diocese of Maryland in the United States, and are making a study of the theological education around Africa, beginning with the College of the Transfiguration.

Dean Andrew and Claire took the inside of a week off at the end of August to undertake a three day hike along the shores of the Wild Coast from Mdumbi to Bulungula with the Revd Dr Rachel Mash and her husband Prof Bob Mash. They drove to Mthatha, got a shuttle to Mdumbi, then hiked about 40km up and down the hills and beaches, in between the Transkei cattle, staying at backpackers and enjoying local food . The return trip to Mthatha was a few hours’ bumpy ride in the back of a bakkie in between their and  other people’s backpacks! A great time was had by all.

People and Places, August 2018

Warmest congratulations to our Choir Intern and interim Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) on a superb achievement by the choir he founded and conducts, the Kwantu Community Choir. The World Choir Games came to South Africa this year, and took place in Pretoria in July. Despite the high cost involved, Kepa managed to obtain sponsorship from among others, Henkel SA, Beer Properties Grahamstown, the Grahamstown Music Society, the National Arts Festival’s (NAF) Creative City and private individuals. At the Festival Eucharist on 8 July, when the choir was due to catch the bus for Pretoria that night, it was reported that the Kwantu Choir was R1000 short of its target. A retiring collection resulted in the target being met, and indeed exceeded.

The Choir which took part in the Games consisted of 18 members, some of them still at school. They included four current members of the Makana Choir School (and Cathedral Choir): Sine Nqumba, Bayanda Mthetho, Nzulu Nzwana and Xolisa Foley, and a further four former members: Anelisa Kelemi, Aphiwe Mame, Siyasanga Santi and Thandiwe Gabavana, as well as our Director of the St Michael’s Marimbas, Asakhe Cuntsulana.

They sang in a qualifying round on 10 July, which they passed with flying colours. After taking part in a number of concerts, they were awarded a Silver Diploma Level IX, narrowly missing Gold. For a video of them at the World Choir Games, click here. They celebrated their success, and thanked the local people who had supported them, by giving two concerts on 28 July, one in Nombulelo School, and the second in the National English Literary Museum. Those who attended were blown away by the superb singing. We are so proud of them!

We continue to wait and pray for the arrival of our Director of Music designate, Cameron Luke. Frustratingly, after much delay, his visa application was actually refused by the South African High Commission in London on the grounds that he lacked a certificate from the Department of Labour. This was despite the fact that the Parish had been informed that Labour is not the Department which deals with applicants in the Arts field, but rather the Department of Home Affairs. The Dean has approached a number of Ministers and other senior officials, and Cameron is appealing against the refusal of his visa.

News from Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery is that Br Roger Stewart has made his life-long profession, and they have two new novices Brs Joel Makame and Cebo Mkhize. They hope to be joined by Br Scott Borden from the New York mother-house if/ when he receives a visa. Holy Cross School is expanding, and to make space for it the Brothers have moved into what was the Guest House accommodation. Despite that, they will again be able to welcome a limited number of individual retreatants from 7 August.

Mother Zelma CR arrived back safely from the UK, together with Sue Hennessy who came for a visit. We give thanks for Sister Carol’s cataract operations, and pray they will make a great difference to her sight. Rachel Hunter managed to enjoy the remainder of her Australian holiday after the setback of her broken nose, and is back at Stellenbosch, but unfortunately she will still have to have an operation to straighten her nose after the swelling has subsided.

Carlos Respieto is spending a second period of pastoral practice at the Cathedral, and it is good to welcome him back.

Prayers are asked for the Antrobus family on the death of Geoff’s cousin Michael, and for the Gabavana family on the death of Babatjie Nobantu, and for Lorraine Cassim whose sister Margaret Plaatjies has died.

The weekend of 28 – 29 July saw the Archdeaconry of Grahamstown gathering for a Family Weekend. Proceedings ended with a splendid multi-lingual service in the Cathedral. During the service the Archdeacon of Grahamstown, Mzinzisi Dyantyi, licensed the Revd Mvuleni Mvula of St Clement’s Church as Rural Dean. We give thanks that Mzi is going to have this assistance in his Archdeaconry duties, and pray for Mvuleni as he takes up this important work.

Anyone using the Cory Room may have noticed an addition to the gallery of historic Cathedral pictures. This was painted by Star King, and shows the Lady Chapel at the time of its dedication in 1952. It came into the possession of Canon John Suggit, who recently donated it to the Cathedral.

Many thanks to the girls of St Mary’s DSG in Pretoria. This year they gave the blankets they knitted during Lent for distribution in Grahamstown/ Makhanda. Claire Nye Hunter is an old girl of the school, 1966 – 1973.

Chantel Riddin, Cathedral Administrator, giving out the warm knitted blankets to car guards.

 

People and Places, July 2018

Kwantu Choir

Although the Festival had not yet begun, early June saw a number of concerts in Grahamstown. The vocal group Byrdsongs, founded and conducted by Simon Tibbs, gave a concert in the Monument on 2 May. This talented group of singers includes John Jackson and Asakhe Cuntsulana. A week later Kwantu Choir, conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) gave an invited audience the opportunity to preview their Festival concert. By no means exclusive was the annual Big Hymn Sing, when true to form the Cathedral was packed to standing room only on 10 June. The junior and senior choirs of Kingswood College were joined by the Victoria Primary School and VGHS choirs, and the Chamber Choir of St Andrew’s and DSG, as well as Kwantu Choir and of course the Cathedral Choir, both of the last conducted by Kepa. Each choir contributed one item, and the popular hymns in which everyone joined, were led with a swing by the Kingswood College Concert Band. Each hymn was introduced by the Revd Tim Marshall, Kingswood Chaplain, with a few helpful words to explain the meaning and theology behind it.

During the winter vac Rachel Hunter had the opportunity to go to Australia. Attending a football match, she was the victim of a freak accident in the crowd, and suffered a broken nose! We pray for her, and for Mother Zelma CR, who was taken ill while in the UK visiting her friend Sue Hennessy, and had to be admitted to hospital. We pray also for the Dongwana family, on the death of Revd Lunga Dongwana’s mother..

It was good to see Lorraine Nicholson in church, on a visit from the UK and looking well. Aphiwe Mame has finished his journalism degree and is back in Grahamstown, at least for a while.

We give thanks that the Cathedral finances are on a firmer footing. The Churchwardens reported that pledges received since the end of 2017 are keeping more or less up to date with the amounts promised, and that there was an increase in the amount pledged. Well done, and let’s keep it up!

Congratulations to Tristyn Burger on being named as Pick n Pay Sports Hero of the Week. This Grade 7 girl captains the VP tennis and hockey teams, as well as being Deputy Head Girl. Congratulations also to Richard Antrobus, whose production received a Naledi award.

On 20 June, at 3 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, fire broke out at Eluxolweni. By the mercy of God, it was not in the middle of the night! As it was, a copy-book fire drill was held, with all the boys behaving perfectly, and all accounted for and uninjured. The fire was caused by an electrical fault in a geyser, and damage was confined to the ceiling and roof of the kitchen.

At the end of June the National Arts Festival began, and this year Spiritfest had a bumper programme, particularly in the area of music. The Cathedral was the venue for many of the events.

There were lively concerts by our own St Michael’s Marimbas under Asakhe Cuntsulana, by Kwantu Choir under Kepa, and by Fafa Hopkins (a.k.a. Chris Mann) who presented his song poems with graphics by Julia Skeen Mann.

 

Sadly the Cathedral was unable to welcome our Director of Music Designate, Cameron Luke, to give an organ recital as scheduled during Spiritfest, due to ongoing problems with his South African work visa. Many thanks to Fr Noël-Jean Creille from Port Alfred, who stepped in at almost no notice and gave a delightful concert.

The Spiritfest Winter School and Open Mic both took place in the Cathedral Coffee Shop, situated in the Chapter House. Much food for thought and interesting discussion in a congenial space, with coffee and cake too.

Bayanda Mthetho played the organ at the Choral Evensong, under the watchful eye of his teacher, Jovan Heynsen.

And above all there was wonderful worship of almighty God! The Cathedral Choir sang Choral Evensong on the first Friday evening, and on the first Sunday they were joined by the Kwantu Choir for the Festival Eucharist. The quiet candlelit plainsong service, Lucernarium, followed on the Wednesday evening. On the final Sunday, 8 July, a number of Cathedral members joined the ecumenical street parade from the Drostdy Arch to the city centre. At the 9:30 Festival Eucharist which followed we welcomed the Choir of Jesus College Cambridge, conducted by Richard Pinel, as well as local soprano soloist Emma Farquharson. The music of these singers was a foretaste of heaven!

One of the Spiritfest exhibitions this year was in the Cathedral, two sculptures by Niel Jonker of Archbishop Tutu and Fr (later Archbishop) Huddleston. These will remain there, at the back on your right as you enter the Cathedral, before being moved to be displayed further in the College of the Transfiguration. Do pay them a visit.

See more photos in the Spiritfest 2018 Gallery.

People and Places, June 2018

During May the Cathedral welcomed the Ven Eduardo Bukutu from Niassa Diocese in Mozambique. He was waiting to take up an appointment at home in Lichinga as the next Dean, and came to learn from Dean Andrew something of what the job involves. He preached on Ascension Day, and Trinity Sunday. We pray for God’s blessing on him in his new post.

A new team of College of the Transfiguration students joined us at the Cathedral for ministry experience. Welcome to Balungile Ngubo, Enrico Heuwel, Jonathan Bukutu (son of Dean-elect Eduardo), Koena Mphoshi, Luvuyo Mvaphantsi, Mlamuli Masondo, Tebogo Monyai, Tercia Meyer and Zipho Mbambo.

Four more Lay Ministers were licensed recently: Siyabulela Fobosi,  (left), and left to right Sylvester Appollis, Tendai Goto, and Ayanda Mpofu. We give thanks for their gift of ministry, and pray for them in this new area of service.

Congratulations to Richard Antrobus, son of Margie and Geoff, on receiving nominations for the Naledi Awards for his production ‘Cloud Catcher’.

Duma Myemane is rejoicing that her daughter Nobulani gave birth to a baby girl. Although Nobulani lives in Cape Town, she came to Grahamstown to give birth in Settlers’ Hospital.

Isabel Bridger died on 26 May, and her funeral took place in the Cathedral on 2 June. We pray for the family: her husband Ernest, and their children with their spouses: Rodney and Mandy; Donovan and Dean; Michelle and Ronaldo (Cathedral), Mark and Belinda (St Clement’s) Celeste in KZN, and all the grandchildren. We also pray for Nzulu Nzwana, one of our boy choristers, son of Canon Lawrence Nzwana, on the death of his grandmother.

The Cathedral Student Ministry has been busy. In response to a challenge to “fast that others may be fed” (go without one meal a week) they raised R340, which they gave to Kay Marx for the Grahamstown Feeding Scheme. And they organised an afternoon of fun and games on 12 May in St George’s Hall, for children of the Cathedral family, which was greatly enjoyed. For more photos, see our Gallery. The Student Service on 27 May had a theme of anointing and prayer for the exams. The next Student Service will be on 22 July. In the meantime we pray for all those writing exams at schools, colleges and at Rhodes.

On Friday 1 June there was fun for all the family at a Song and Dance evening held in St George’s Hall. Many thanks to the organisers, June Venn and Rose Spannenberg and the MC Theo Duxbury. For more photos, see our Gallery.

On 3 May a concert in the Nuns’ Chapel on Rhodes Campus featured students who are being trained as solo singers. Among these beautiful voices were Anelisa Kelemi of the Student Ministry team, our Acting Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa, and Asakhe Cuntsulana, who is usually too busy playing an instrument in the Cathedral (marimba, drum or flute) for us to hear how well he sings.

Further afield, on 3 June Chris Mann and his wife Julia Skeen provided half the programme at a sold-out afternoon of poetry and music in the historic Richmond House Museum in Port Alfred. Chris, thankfully much better now after his knee replacement, entertained the appreciative audience with his original song-poems under the title ‘Sweet is the fruit of the Prickly Pear’, while Julia’s graphics were projected on the wall above his head. Also thankfully much better is Peter Breetzke, who recently underwent cataract surgery, but was back at the organ at the 7:30 Eucharists after only one Sunday off.

The wedding of Prince Harry of Britain and Meghan Markle on 19 May had many of us clustered round TV sets, despite being so far from Windsor, England. It was a thrill to hear the choir of Windsor College Chapel sing two anthems which are also in the repertoire of our Cathedral choir. Indeed the very next day we heard them sing one of them at our Sung Eucharist on Pentecost Sunday, ‘If ye love me’ by Thomas Tallis.

As this month of June draws to a close we look forward to welcoming the colour, excitement and multiple talents that are on offer here in Grahamstown at the National Festival of the Arts. The Spiritfest programme is particularly rich in music this year, as well as lectures, book launches, exhibitions and of course wonderful worship. Check out the programme on the Spiritfest web page, or in the Festival brochure.

People and Places, May 2018

We welcome two more new Lay Ministers, admitted on Sunday 15 April. Kundai Jimu (left) and Anelisa Kelemi are both involved in the Cathedral Student Ministry. Until recently Anelisa was in the Cathedral Choir, which she had been a part of since she was at school, and she preceded Kutlwano Kepadisa as Choir Intern. The CSM has started an appeal to people to fast for one meal a week. The money saved will be collected at the Student Services for donation to a feeding scheme.

The Cathedral Choir was delighted to hear the news after Easter that two of their members, Jessica Smith and Glyn Lloyd-Jones, had announced their engagement! The last similar occasion was way back in 1990, when choir Director Christopher Cockburn and choir member Karin Mitford-Barberton became engaged. They were married the same year and so have celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. The Rhodes University Chamber Choir can also claim Jessica and Glyn’s romance as one of many which have flourished over the years. Warm congratulations, and may their lives together be richly blessed.

Congratulations also to Tristyn Burger, who has been appointed Deputy Head Girl of Victoria Primary School, and to chorister Siyolisa Sandi, also a VP pupil, on being selected to play netball at Provincial level, and receiving her sports half-colours.

Pat and Sally Terry are enjoying a well-deserved holiday in the UK, specially timed so that they could be present when their daughter Helen gave birth to their granddaughter Scarlett Olivia Livermore.

We continue to pray for the recovery of Chris Mann after his knee surgery, and for Ann Stockwell. After her broken hip she required a full hip replacement, and spent some time at Aurora in Port Elizabeth for rehabilitation. It is great to see her back in the congregation again, walking with just one stick. Happily British Airways have been sympathetic to Ann and Peter’s plight, and have granted them replacement tickets for their cancelled trip to the UK, which can be used at any time up until January next year. They are specially grateful also that Ann’s hip broke while they were still in Port Elizabeth rather than when they were overseas.

John Claughton, a former member of the Cathedral congregation who was living in Brookshaw Frail Care, died on 15 April. We give thanks for his life, and pray for the many friends who mourn him. Prayers are also asked for Claire Nye Hunter and Dean Andrew on the sudden death of their dear friend Chris Bush, and for Nceba January whose aunt died recently.

The CR Sisters held their Associates’ Day on 14 April. It was good to see Larry Collett and Rita Macrae. Larry Wilmot preached and celebrated at the Eucharist, and Maggy Clarke gave a talk on Brahms’ ‘German Requiem’ illustrated with recorded excerpts from the work.

Daphne Rink, mother-in-law of our former Dean Chich Hewitt, left Grahamstown at the end of April to join one of her daughters who lives in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. We wish her every blessing as she ‘down-sizes’ yet again, and moves from Somerset Place to a flat on her daughter’s property.

Dean Andrew and Claire Nye Hunter visited KwaZulu-Natal for the wedding of her godson on 28 April, and the following day had lunch with Marian and Wayne Jayes in their lovely seaside home in Tongaat. The other lunch guests were A-J Bethke and his little adopted son Caleb! A-J recently bought a flat in the same building in Durban where he had been renting, and moved a few floors higher, literally ‘going up in the world.’

News of A-J’s predecessors in charge of the Cathedral Music, Barbara and Wilf Stout in Scotland, is that they now have a grandson as well as a granddaughter. Their younger son Mick had to have surgery for colon cancer not long ago, but is bravely undergoing the necessary treatment and looking forward to marrying his very supportive fiancée in July.

Namso Nyamela sent Easter greetings and love to everyone at the Cathedral. She is working as a Junior Environmental Scientist at Jones and Wagener (J&W) Engineering and Environmental Consultants in Gauteng. She has recently moved into a granny flat in Centurion, not far from the office where she works, and has joined St Martin’s by the Field in Irene, Centurion. One of the things she likes best about J&W is that the staff meet for prayer at lunch time every Monday. To read all her news, click here.

Theuns Pauw (right) preached in the Cathedral.

The Freedom Day long weekend saw the beginning of the week-long Grahamstown for Jesus Mission, led by a team from African Enterprise. The Team Leader, Theuns Pauw, preached at the Cathedral on 29 April. On Workers’ Day, 1 May, the Cathedral family was well represented at the Mission’s March of Reconciliation from Fingo Village to Church Square. People of all colours, ages and denominations took part, some even on horseback, with a bagpiper and a banner leading the way. At the Police Station Mission organisers presented a certificate to the Grahamstown Police, in appreciation for their work and assure them of our prayers. Brigadier David Kanuka, who received the certificate, was deeply touched at this unusual recognition and support. The Police Band then led the March for the rest of their route to Church Square, where the Eluxolweni marimba band played, the Foxfires (AE youth volunteers) danced, and Mayor Nomhle Gaga attended the open-air evangelistic service addressed by African Enterprise’s Stephen Lungu. For more photos, go to our Gallery.

 

People and Places, April 2018

Carlos Respeito

A warm welcome to Carlos Respeito, a theological student from Mozambique, who is doing his seven-week parish placement at the Cathedral as part of his BTh degree. He is in his fourth year at the College of the Transfiguration.

Over the weekend of 3-4 March the Cathedral Student Ministry held their annual Camp at Assegaai Trails, with Revd Claire Nye Hunter and Mama Jane Bradshaw. Although a smaller group than hoped for, the 13 of who came had a wonderful time of “Faith, fun, fellowship, food and frolics!”. They got to know each other at a deeper level in between all the laughter, hiking, games, swimming, Bible quizzes and charades. On Sunday they had an outdoor informal Eucharist which included learning new songs of worship in different languages, and spending an extended time of meditation and reflection on their own. For more pictures, see our Gallery.

Our Annual Vestry Meeting took place on 11 March. Congratulations to our newly elected Churchwardens, Ronaldo Burger and Paul Walters, and Parish Councillors Jane Bradshaw, Rodney Bridger, Theo Duxbury, Siphiwe Ncaca and Lungile Pinxa. Sister Carol CR will continue to represent the Sisters. Thanks to those who stepped down after serving faithfully during the past year: Churchwarden Ian Meiklejohn, and Councillors Cathy Euijen, Patrick Pringle and Rose Spannenberg. One Resolution was taken at the Vestry meeting, in which concern was expressed about the state of Makana Municipality. On 28 March a delegation from the Cathedral met with the acting Municipal Manager, Mr Ted Pillay, and presented him with the Resolution. It covered issues of water, roads, sewerage, financial sustainability of the municipality and good governance; and expressed the support of the Cathedral Parish for all who are seeking to improve things. The Dean reported that it was a helpful, positive meeting. The full Resolution can be read here.

On 18 March four new Lay Ministers were licensed at the 7:30 service: Lithemba Busakwe, Lou-Anne Liebenberg, Dawn Long and Luvuyo Mvaphantsi. We give thanks for their devotion and pray for them in their ministry.

As a step in the direction of becoming a ‘green’ Cathedral, a third rain-water tank was installed at the Deanery in March, as well as a solar geyser.

We pray for the Palmer family on the death of Ann, and give thanks for her long life. Highly respected Catholic theologian and long-time Grahamstown resident, Professor Brian Gaybba, also died recently, and we pray for his widow Monika and the family.

Prayers are asked for Chris Mann, who is recovering from a knee replacement, and Jenny Walsh, Rod’s wife, in Cape Town, who has had a hip replacement. Ann and Peter Stockwell suffered a double blow when Ann fell and broke her hip on the eve of their departure on a long-awaited six-week trip to England to visit their children Andrew and Clare. At the time of writing Ann was still in hospital in Port Elizabeth, and of course the trip to the UK had to be cancelled. We give thanks that Peter Breetzke is recovering well from the after-effects of his broken wrist. He has resumed some carpentry, and we will soon be hearing him at the organ again.

Please pray for the Eluxolweni Home, which has been experiencing a financial crisis, that they may be enabled to continue their vital work with young boys who might otherwise be living on the streets.

We welcome back Patrick and Cathy Pringle’s daughter Janet, who returned to Grahamstown from Goa on 8 March.

Many youngsters who enjoy singing would think that being onstage with Sibongile Khumalo would be an impossible dream. For members of Grahamstown school choirs and the Kwantu Choir, among others, this dream came true at the performances of Masicule on 25 and 26 March. The Cathedral Choir was well represented, and Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) had the unforgettable experience of conducting the massed choir and Mama Sibongile herself in ‘U ae kae’. That and a number of other items on the programme were arranged by Gareth Walwyn, who directed the Masicule production team. As well as singing, Asakhe Cuntsulana accompanied one item on the drum, and Bayanda Mthetho another on the keyboard. The Monument Theatre was almost full on both evenings, and the crowd went wild for the stirring and magnificent music. Perhaps you think Sibongile Khumalo would be a hard act to follow – well, Xolisa Foley, a boy soprano from the Cathedral Choir and Kwantu Choir, did just that with Junaid Douglas as they sang solos with the massed choir in the final item of the concert. They acquitted themselves splendidly!

Passiontide and Easter together form the high point of the Church’s year, and at the Cathedral they were celebrated with beautiful worship and music. The Holy Week services were inspiring, with addresses on Good Friday by a variety of speakers including Revd Boitumelo Gaborone from Trinity Presbyterian Church and Revd Vuyokazi May from Commemoration Methodist Church. Thanks to the choir Juniors and Kepa for hours of extra practice which resulted in some exquisite singing at the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, from plainsong to African traditional. A small group of adult choristers sang at the Easter Vigil service, with the Exultet beautifully chanted by Kepa, and Markus Mostert on the organ. At the second Easter morning Eucharist we welcomed the Wind Band of D F Malan High School from Bellville, Cape Town, directed by Faan Malan, who made the hymns go with a swing. Thanks to Jovan Heynsen for playing the organ for that service. The band returned in the afternoon to give a concert of rousing music.

Congratulations to our Cathedral Rhodes Graduates: Rose Kadye (Doctorate), Lesley Bloy (Masters), Rosa Msweli, Noxolo Kheswa, Tendai Goto, Lydia Kudye, Ayanda Mpophu, Telya de Ricquebourg, Taku Chinogwenya, and Katryn Niewoudt. In addition Prof Peter Mtuze, Archdeacon of King William’s Town West, was awarded an honorary doctorate and Dr Vicentia Kgabe (Rector of the College of the Transfiguration) a post graduate diploma in Business. Well done everyone! For more pictures, see our Gallery.

 

People and Places, March 2018

This year people were quick to notice that Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day. Suggestions appeared on Facebook of customised Valentine cards, including: “Won’t you be my Valentine, you miserable offender” and “Remember you are dust but awfully lovable dust”! But our traditional evening of Shrove Tuesday pancakes on 13 February was an ideal occasion to spread a little love. The team led by Sally Terry outdid themselves, and the final sum raised for the Bishop’s Appeal for Training for Ministries was in the region of R6,900. Sally expressed thanks to the cooks, the fillers of pancakes, and all those parishioners whose donations in advance ensured that almost all the takings were profit. An amazing total of 750 pancakes were made, and those who sat down to eat enjoyed a delightful evening with friends.

A warm welcome to all new arrivals at the Cathedral, including new students. We hope you will feel very much at home. We welcome back Matthew Jennings, Cathy Euijen’s son, who has returned from a gap year and is beginning his studies at Rhodes. Also most welcome are all the returning students. Among those is Asakhe Cuntsulana, leader of our marimba band, and it is exciting to hear them in action again. The junior choristers are now to be heard again at alternate morning and evening services, conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa). The Choral Evensong on 11 February was a special commemoration of George Herbert, at which Prof Paul Walters gave an informative address about Herbert, and two hymn settings of his poems were sung. There were also anthems to George Herbert’s words by two of our past Music Directors: ‘Bitter-Sweet’ by Christopher Cockburn, and ‘The Call’ by A-J Bethke. At the Ash Wednesday evening Eucharist the choir sang the famous ‘Miserere’ by Allegri.

Markus Mostert

Our Director of Music designate, Cameron Luke, continues to keep in touch from the UK as he battles to obtain his essential visa to work here. He assures us that he really wants to be with us! In the meantime, it is a great joy that in answer to prayer Markus Mostert has joined us as temporary organist, and is able to play for almost all our services. The Dean ‘discovered’ him playing the organ for the Back to School service at Commem. His contribution is being enthusiastically received by the congregation – many thanks, Markus!

The Dean was recently taken up the Cathedral tower by Prof Richard Grant, to see the workings of the Cathedral clock. It was installed in the old tower in 1873, and re-installed after the present tower was built, in 1879. The clock is now operated using electricity, rather than a clockwork mechanism. People who have been involved in its maintenance include Richard Grant himself (for some 30 years), Wayne and Jonathan Jayes, and Ian Meiklejohn. The story of the clock can be read on the Cathedral website.

Thelma Neville

On 4 February Thelma Neville died in Brookshaw HomeoH, at the remarkable age of 101. Her funeral on 17 February was planned in advance by Claire Nye Hunter and Thelma herself, in meticulous detail down to the colour of Claire’s clerical shirt (it had to be pink.) It was a fitting send-off for this feisty journalist and devoted Cathedral parishioner. The one Tribute which Thelma allowed, was at her request by Nickie Turner, daughter of her old friend Richard Buckland. Claire preached the Sermon, apologising at the end that she had exceeded Thelma’s customary time-limit of 10 minutes! Both tribute and sermon can be read on our website.

Another notable character who died recently was Dean Andrew’s uncle, Clive Ryneveld, who died in Cape Town. Not many people manage to play rugby for England as well as cricket for South Africa. In addition he was a lawyer and a Member of Parliament, one of the group of United Party MPs who broke away, with Helen Suzman, to form the Progressive Party. Geoff Antrobus’ mother Sheila died on 31 January in Kenton-on-Sea. The Sub-Dean Mzinzisi Dyantyi’s aunt died, as well as an aunt of Nceba January, Ronaldo Burger’s uncle Ian Nelson, and Vernon Woods, a relative of Jeanette Hodgson. We give thanks for their lives, and pray for all their families. We also continue to pray for Isabel Bridger who has had a long spell in hospital, and is now recovering at home.

Revd Claire with Rosa

The Hunters and Bishop Moses

Dean Andrew and Claire travelled to Queenstown to attend the Consecration and Installation of Moses Madywabe, a former priest of this Diocese, as the second Bishop of Khahlamba, on 22 February. At the request of the Archbishop, Claire led the Bishop-elect’s five day retreat here at the CR Sisters’, and was the preacher at the consecration. They were happy to meet up with Rosa Msweli, last year’s chairperson of our Cathedral Student Ministry team, whose home is in Queenstown.

 

People and Places, February 2018

Best wishes for special blessings in 2018! In this edition of ‘People and Places’ we look back over December and January, the traditionally quiet period in the life of Grahamstown, when exams are over, and schools, COTT and Rhodes are on holiday.During 2017 the choir anthems were from time to time accompanied on the piano by a 14-year-old Graeme College boy, one of our choristers, Bayanda Mthetho. He only started learning the piano when he was eleven, but he has already passed Grade 7. In 2016 he began organ lessons with AJ Bethke, but these unfortunately had to stop when AJ left after Easter. Later last year the committee of the Makana Choir School put out an appeal on the Cathedral website for someone to sponsor Bayanda to have organ lessons with Jovan Heynsen, a music specialist on the staff of St Andrew’s College and DSG. To everyone’s great delight an anonymous donor responded, and offered to pay for six months’ organ lessons. And then, to add to the joy, the family of the donor offered to match the sum, so Bayanda’s organ lessons are covered for the whole of 2018! Read a message from the family here. Anyone who attended the Midnight Mass or the Christmas morning Eucharist at the Cathedral, will have heard Bayanda playing the organ.

The junior members of the choir were on holiday, but evening services continued in December, with a Taizé service on the first Sunday, followed by a Lucernarium, and then a second Carol Service for which Stephen Holder played the accompaniment. The children’s Crib Service on Christmas Eve is growing in popularity. People from other congregations, and out of town visitors, brought their children to enjoy the fun of dressing up as Nativity characters and hear the story (as written by Canon Claire) beautifully narrated by sisters Tyreece and Tristyn Burger. Adults whose children were not present still came along! Thanks to Nicola Hunter there was another delightful ad hoc orchestra to accompany the carols: piano, flute, clarinet, oboe, cello and three violins. The flautist was Dorothy Holder, a welcome visitor from Cape Town.

Other visitors earlier in December were Rod and Jenny Walsh, also from Cape Town. Rod, a retired but very active priest, looked after the Cathedral on more than one occasion when Dean Andrew Hunter was away studying for his Masters in 2011. Aphiwe Mame has made a welcome but brief reappearance in the Cathedral Choir during the vacation, before he returns to UCT to begin his Honours in Journalism.

Waiting for Graduation in Durham, England.

After Christmas Paul and June Walters travelled to the UK to attend the graduation of their son Charles with his Masters in Theology from Durham University. The ceremony was held in the ancient and beautiful Cathedral. Charles told them that he found the Durham people specially warm, but the same could not be said for the temperature: it was 5° when they were queuing from 8 – 9:30 a.m. to enter the Cathedral!

Shocking news from the Jayes family in Tongaat, KZN, is that Wayne, Marian and Jonathan were held up at gunpoint in their home on 9 January, tied up and robbed. Marian’s car was stolen, but was later recovered. We give thanks that they survived this ordeal, and pray for their recovery after this traumatic incident. Lou-Anne and Lyndon Liebenberg were involved in a car accident in December. We give thanks that they escaped without serious injury. Peter Breetzke was less fortunate when he fell just before Christmas and broke his wrist quite badly. He expects the plaster to be taken off at the end of January, after which he will need physiotherapy before he can drive again. Prayers are asked for his complete recovery. We pray for Dean Andrew, whose uncle Michael Gainsborough died in the UK in December, and for our Music Director-designate, Cameron Luke, on the death of his father in January.

We are grateful for the assistance of a number of musicians who have played for Cathedral services while we await Cameron’s arrival. Recently we have had John Jackson playing the piano, Penny Whitford on piano with Claire Nye Hunter on violin – and on 21 January it was a treat to hear Christopher Cockburn on the organ again! A former Director of Music at the Cathedral, he left 15 years ago to take up a lecturing post in the music department of UKZN.

Congratulations to Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) and his choir Kwantu. They have received sponsorship which will enable them to take part in the World Choir Games in Pretoria in July. They thank their friends, supporters and families for their assistance with fund raising, their thoughts and prayers. We wish them well as they begin the process of preparation. Congratulations to Onwaba and Abongile Dongwana on their return from circumcision school, and on their success in Matric. Onwaba will be going to Rhodes, and Abongile to UCT to study commerce. Other matriculants included Cwayita Bam, who will be starting at NMMU this year to study law, and Graeme College boys from the Cathedral choir Sixolile Lamani and Sivu Ngqiyaza. Hlumela Maqwili, who is now in Matric at DSG, has been chosen as one of this year’s Prefects. Congratulations and best wishes to them all in their further studies.

Clergy involved in the Back to School service: Canon Claire, Dean Andrew, Revd Boitumelo Gaborone (preacher, Trinity Presbyterian), Vuyokazi May (Commemoration Methodist), Revd Tim Marshall (Kingswood Chaplain) with Paul Guthrie, Kingswood Senior School Headmaster.

Last year the Cathedral Student Ministry said farewell to a number of graduating students. These included Chairperson, Rosa Msweli (also Children’s Church teacher), Noxolo Kheswa (Honours), Teyla de Ricquebourg (B Pharm) ,Odi Lehasa, Theo Duxbury and Lesley Bloy (Masters Degrees). They will all be greatly missed. The good news is that Theo will be back at Rhodes this year to continue with a PhD in Pharmacy. Namso Nyamela is soon to complete her Masters, and has started working in Gauteng.

The annual ecumenical Back to School Service took place in a packed Commemoration Methodist Church on Sunday 28 January. The youngsters were entertained and inspired by the sermon from Revd Boitumelo Gaborone of Trinity Presbyterian Church. Among the choirs which sang were the Cathedral Choir Juniors together with Kingswood College Choir, conducted by Kepa.

The following story is an illustration of the truth that when we pray, sometimes God says, Yes, sometimes No – and sometimes “Wait, I have something better for you!” Since leaving us after Easter, AJ Bethke has been living with his parents in Cape Town. His research fellowship ran until the end of October. In the meantime he applied for a number of posts both in South Africa and overseas without any immediate results, and kept praying for the right way forward to open up for him. Unemployed from the beginning of November, he signed up for a course in teaching English as a foreign language, and began to volunteer at a local Home for babies. Then, suddenly in December, doors began to open in amazing ways. AJ was offered TWO posts at South African universities, the second of which he accepted: Lecturing in Music Theory at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, based in Durban, to start on 15 January. But a more astonishing and wonderful gift was in store for him – he had the opportunity to fulfil his dearest wish and adopt a little one from the babies’ home where he was volunteering. Little Caleb was born on 20 April 2016, and had been “looking for a home since he was born”. AJ says “He has been in a wonderful environment at the safe house with loving house parents and nursing staff.” On 20 December Caleb moved into the Bethke home, and quickly settled in. AJ’s mother Erica drove up with him and Caleb to Durban over the weekend of 13 – 14 January, and they spent one night in Grahamstown with Maggy Clarke. They had to hurry off the following morning, but just managed to greet a few people at the Cathedral before the 8:30 service. AJ is a radiantly happy new father, and Caleb obviously adores him. We rejoice with them, and pray for them in the future.