Makhanda

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, May 2022

Our prayers throughout April were given extra urgency by the news of the war in Ukraine, with the destruction of homes, and civilians killed or forced to flee. And then, so much nearer to home, there were the horrific floods in KwaZulu-Natal, sweeping away people and possessions, turning lives upside down. How much we needed the Good News of the resurrection, and how relevant is our call to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world!

Preparations for Holy Week began with the making of Palm Crosses in the Chapter House on Friday 8 April. Although for the second year running, rain prevented us having an outdoor Palm Sunday Procession, the Sung Eucharist on Palm Sunday morning was beautiful, with the Cathedral Choir conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa. On our YouTube channel you can listen to them singing ‘A Palm Sunday Antiphon’ by David Morgan.

When Judas Iscariot left the Last Supper, “it was night”. In the Cathedral we experienced the darkness, when the lights went out in the middle of our Maundy Thursday service (courtesy of Eskom!) But the beautiful service went on, and the singing, with Peter Black playing the piano instead of the organ. The Senior Iimvumi and Choral Scholars were directed by Kutlwano Kepadisa. On our YouTube channel you can hear them singing ‘Ubi  Caritas‘ by Duruflé, and ‘Tantum Ergo’ by F Laloux. At the Good Friday mid-day liturgy the Choir sang ‘Adoramus te, Christe’, the Antiphon for Good Friday, music by Eric Barnum, adapted by the University of Johannesburg Choir, and also ‘Lerato Jesu’, which appears in A-J Bethke’s collection of Southern African Hymns.

“Very early in the morning on the first day of the week”, Easter Sunday, 17 April, the congregation and choir gathered with Ebenezer Ntlali the Bishop of Grahamstown for the lighting of the New Fire. After processing into the Cathedral, the Exultet was sung by the Precentor and Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa. What a glorious service we had, as we gave thanks to God for the resurrection of our Lord! At the early service the choir was composed of Choral Scholars (students), Iimvumi (full choristers) and Probationers, many of whom attend Oatlands Primary School. At the 9:30 service for the first time Standard 4 Probationers from Good Shepherd School took their places in the choir stalls, an exciting moment for them after weeks of training at their school under Kepa’s guidance.

 

We give thanks for this revival of the Cathedral Choir, and the way that the flame was kept burning during the darkest days of Covid by Kepa and a handful of Iimvumi. It is an indication of the calibre of these young people that Siyolise Sandi, one of the Head Choristers, reached the final stages of the Miss Teen SA competition. Congratulations to her on this achievement, which involved a great deal more than just being “a pretty face”! 

Kepa, and Bayanda Mthetho, were among only four Rhodes piano students selected to attend a prestigious International Piano Symposium at Stellenbosch University at the beginning of April, an experience which they greatly valued.

Among graduates who deserve our congratulations is Hayley Jackson, daughter of John and Gail, on the award of her PhD in Bio-Chemistry at Stellenbosch University. For those who remember her talent on the violin it is good to hear that she still plays, and is a member of the University Orchestra. Cwayita Bam, one of our servers, who is among the children raised by the Bishop, graduated with her BA in Law from NMMU. Our Dean’s wife Lilitha Dyantyi graduated with her MA in Chemistry (Cum Laude) on 30 April, in absentia. Well done, everyone! And our Deanery couple, Mzi and Lilitha, are also thanking God for the blessing of nine years of marriage, and especially for their children. 

 

On the way round Robben Island!

News of our former student leader, lay minister, and Churchwarden Theo Duxbury, is that after only a few months as Hospital Pharmacist at Bedford Community Hospital, he has been appointed (is that ‘head-hunted?) to be the Quality Assurance Pharmacist for the GEMS Network Programme at Universal Healthcare, based in Johannesburg. We congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion, and ask God’s blessing on him as he moves to his new home and work. And news just in is that our previous Dean, Andrew Hunter, celebrated Freedom Day by paddling round Robben Island! This proves that he continues to be at the peak of fitness.

Janine Jegels has left the Cathedral office, and has found new employment. She wrote a letter to parishioners appreciating the privilege of working with Deans Andrew Hunter and Mzi Dyantyi, as well as Revd Claire and Sub-Dean Melany, and saying that she would cherish the memories of the love and care she received from the Cathedral family. We thank God for her service to the Cathedral, and ask the Lord’s blessing on her in her life going forward.

The Bishop has been obliged to be out of his Diocese recently, and when that happens the Dean as the next priest in seniority has to step in and do even more ‘extra-parochial’ duties. Among these during April have been attending meetings of the Diocesan Management and Trusts Boards, chairing a meeting of the Diocesan staff in the Bishop’s absence, attending a funeral in Libode, preaching and presiding at the unveiling of a tombstone, and taking a nuptial mass in East London.

Please pray for Canon Ezra Tisani on the death of his brother-in-law in Gqeberha, and for Hilton Adonis, whose nephew Morné died suddenly in the Western Cape on Easter Day.

Roswitha Hobson has had a hip replacement. Prayers are asked for her rapid recovery and return to mobility. Barbara Stout has so far recovered well from the replacement of her right hip and knee in Cape Town. She and Wilf spent three weeks staying there with a former member of the Cathedral Choir, Susan Abraham, and left to fly home to Scotland on 28 April.

The Terry and Livermore families in Maidstone, Kent

The Community of the Resurrection held an Associates Day on 30 April, for the first time since lock-down in 2020. The Revd Lawrie Wilmot celebrated and spoke at the Eucharist, and Bev Ramstad and Leonie Goosen gave a delightful illustrated talk on a trip they took together to China in 2019.

After two years of very little overseas travel, it was with special delight that families could get together again across the continents over Easter. Paul and June Walters were joined here by their son Charles from England, together with his wife Cath, and daughters Rachel and Karen. And Pat and Sally Terry travelled to Maidstone in Kent, UK, where they had a wonderful reunion with their son David, daughter Helen and in-laws, and all the grandchildren. Ann Stockwell’s sister and brother-in-law came for a visit from the UK, and they went with Peter and Ann for a short holiday in delightful surroundings on a farm near Colesberg. Even within South African it has not been easy to get together, and Penny and Clive Whitford especially valued the chance to join their three children, plus spouses and all their ten grandchildren, for Easter in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg. A special time despite the wet weather which made camping a challenge!  We give thanks for our families and these opportunities to meet in person, and pray that the next wave of Covid will not cause a major disruption in our lives. We can do our bit by being vaccinated, and ready to protect ourselves, and those around us.


People and Places, April 2022

It was a great joy on Shrove Tuesday, 1 March, to be able to gather again at St George’s Hall for pancakes. Last year they had to be collected from Sally Terry’s house due to Covid restrictions, but this time they were cooked in the Deanery garages, which was a good idea as it was a hot day. As soon as they were ready, young volunteers rushed piles of pancakes up to the Hall to be filled and sold. One of the most skilled pancake cooks was Kaylyn Bartis, whose 21st birthday it was that day. Not only did she spend her special day slaving in a hot garage/ kitchen, but, using a four-burner gas stove, she perfected the art of cooking three pancakes at once! Congratulations to her and warm thanks to Sally and the whole team, and to all who made donations. The sum raised for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal amounted to R5,900. Well done! (More pictures on our Gallery page.)

Kaylyn Bartis

On Ash Wednesday we became aware that our choir is once again growing. No fewer than 18 Probationers were present, all of them Grade 6 and 7 pupils from Oatlands Primary. You can listen to them leading the Penitential Litany, arranged by Garry Diagle, as the procession entered the Cathedral. The Precentor was our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa, and the refrain “Hold us in your mercy” was sung by the Choir and congregation. 

Special congratulations go to Kutlwano Kepadisa on his successful application to the Cultural Producers Programme, under which 25 selected young South African cultural producers will receive training. This programme, presented by Business and Arts South Africa NPC (BASA), Common Purpose South Africa (CPSA) and Manchester International Festival (MIF), and supported by the British Council Creative Economy Programme, is to take place part-time, mainly online, from the beginning of March to the end of July this year. It is a well-deserved recognition of Kepa’s talents, and will serve to equip him with valuable skills.

Congratulations also to Sister Carol CR, who recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of her religious Vows! And she is not sitting still, as she has only just come back from a two-week visit to her sister-in-law in Zimbabwe. She is indeed an inspiration to us all. We give thanks for Sister Carol and wish God’s further blessings on her.

Luyanda Fete

The College of the Transfiguration held its Graduation ceremony on 22 March, and we congratulate our Deacon Luyanda Fete on receiving his Diploma in Theology. And congratulations also to Lunga and Yolisa Dongwana’s son Abongile (one of the twins) on receiving his post-graduate Diploma in Accounting from UCT.

On Sunday 20 March we welcomed the two College of the Transfiguration third-year students who will be working with us this year, Jeremy Smith from Cape Town (left) and Mvuso Mngeyane from the Diocese of Mzimvubu. Jeremy’s home parish is St Thomas’s Rondebosch, where his Rector is Claire Nye Hunter, our former Chancellor of the Cathedral. We hope that they will be happy at the Cathedral, and that God will richly bless their ministry with us.

As the Covid-19 statistics in this country have become more encouraging, with fewer infections month by month, it was good to have restrictions eased, with masks no longer mandatory out of doors, and larger numbers permitted to be present inside buildings. Among concerts which have been able to take place recently was one to celebrate the birthday of J S Bach (coincidentally Human Rights Day, 21 March). This took place in Kingswood Chapel, and featured our Organ Scholar Jon Hughes as well as a recorder ensemble which included Jess and Glyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Tandy’s daughter Priscilla Glover, and Peter Breetzke.

The Masicule concerts returned, to everyone’s delight, although attendance in the Monument Theatre had to be restricted to 50% of its capacity, which meant many hopeful concert-goers had to be turned away. With the DSG-St Andrew’s College Chamber Choir, Rhodes Chamber Choir, Kwantu Choir and the Cathedral Choir all under his baton, it was little wonder that Kepa played a major part in this very special Makhanda annual event. He can now boast that he has conducted the legendary soprano soloist Sibongile Mngoma! Bayanda Mthetho was again the official accompanist.

Ruth Brandt

Ruth Brandt died on 2 March in Somerset Place Frail Care. She was the Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Grahamstown for eight years from 1997, after which she was ordained priest and moved to Queenstown, later becoming Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth. Her Memorial Service was held in the Grahamstown Baptist Church on 19 March. Due to short notice, Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali was unable to attend, but he sent a message, which was read on behalf of himself and the Diocese by the Sub-Dean, Canon Melany Adonis. We give thanks for Ruth’s life of service, and pray for her family. We pray also for Elsa Blackbeard, a regular worshipper at our online services although she lives in Australia, on the death of her partner Angelo Passione.

Rev Claire Nye Hunter with Dot Holder, Barbara and Wilf Stout

Good news about former Director of Music Barbara Stout is that she and her husband Wilf were seen at St Thomas’s Rondebosch, Claire Nye Hunter’s church, a few Sundays ago. By the end of March Barbara was sufficiently recovered from her hip operation to have a knee replacement, on the same leg! We pray that this operation will also be a success. She and Wilf will remain in South Africa until April.

Some people assume that “Dean” is just a fancy title for the Rector of a parish where the main place of worship is a Cathedral. There is a great deal more to it than that! The Dean is also the Senior Priest of the Diocese after the Bishop, and this involves a great variety of duties. As an example, during the month of March our Dean, Mzinzisi Dyantyi, preached and presided at the opening service for the Bishop Elect of Mbashe in East London; preached and officiated at the unveiling of the tombstone of a priest’s wife in King William’s Town; attended a meeting of the St Andrew’s College Council (virtually); attended two separate Consecrations of Bishops in Ncgobo and Mthatha; preached and presided at COTT; attended the COTT graduation; attended the Diocesan MU Lady Day service in East London, and blessed a house in Kidd’s Beach. And all that on top of the “normal” duties within the Cathedral parish of interviews, visits, marriage preparation, funerals, Sunday and weekday services, etc, etc! We need to keep our Dean, and indeed all our clergy, in our daily prayers.

On 29 March the Cathedral hosted our Anglican Church schools, DSG and St Andrew’s College, for their ‘Easter Celebration’ service, which was a journey in readings and music through the story of Christ’s passion and resurrection. Congratulations to Asakhe Cuntsulana, now in charge of marimbas at those schools, on the achievements of the marimba group and the St Andrew’s College Choir, and to Kepa on the lovely singing of the DSG-St Andrew’s College Chamber Choir. This was a wonderful introduction to the season of the Passion, and for those who missed it, a recording is going to be made available online by the schools. May we all have a blessed Passiontide and Easter. 

 

People and Places, March 2022

The first Sunday in February saw representatives of the schools of Makhanda gather at the Cathedral for the annual Back to School service. This service had to be a virtual one last year due to Covid-19, so we felt specially blessed to be together again. The singing was led by the Chamber Choir of the Diocesan School for Girls and St Andrew’s College, one of several choirs which are conducted by our Cathedral Director of Music, Kutlwano Kepadisa. If you click on the links you can hear the choir singing ‘Ad Astra per Aspera’ by Jacob Naverud, and the choir and congregation singing ‘Ukholo lwami Ndonyuka nalo’. In her sermon the DSG Chaplain Rachel Ssekimpi issued a challenge to use freedom of choice wisely.

There are so many wonderful hymns and spiritual songs that have been composed on this continent, that it would be a shame not to use them regularly in our worship. Kepa feels passionately about this, and he recently had an opportunity to share his passion when he was invited to teach African Christian hymns and songs at a DSG Sacristans’ Camp, and also at a Retreat for Heads of Anglican Church Schools. 

News of the choir is exciting. After auditioning interested children in Grades 6 and 7 at Oatlands Primary, Kepa was able to offer the chance to no fewer than 20 of them to join the choir as Probationers. Their duties will include attending all choir practices, and singing in term time at the 9:30 Eucharist three times a month, as well as at Evensong on one Sunday a month. Those who fulfil these and the other duties expected of them for at least six months, may be considered for admission as full choristers. Not only that, but younger children (upwards of a dozen Grade 4’s) from Good Shepherd School are to receive musical training, with a view to forming a separate choir. We may be able to hear them for the first time on Easter Day! Follow these links to hear the choir, including the Oatlands Probationers, singing ‘Open the eyes of my heart’, and leading the congregation in movements from A-J Bethke’s Multi-Lingual Cathedral Setting, the ‘Nkosi yiba nenceba’ (Kyrie) and ‘Heilig, heilig’ (Sanctus).  

In the previous issue of ‘People and Places’ we wished Bayanda Mthetho and Xolisa Foley well on their matriculation, adding that they were off to Cape Town to further their studies. However, things don’t always work out as planned. No doubt Bayanda is sad that he did not get into his first choice of university course at UCT. But great is the rejoicing at the Cathedral that instead he has registered for a BMus at Rhodes, so we will still be able to hear his wonderful skills on the organ and piano! And Xolisa, who last year was Head Chorister, is also still in town, and still in the Choir. While we are thankful that we have not lost his talents, we hold him in prayer for guidance as to the next step.

Asakhe Cuntsulana

Asakhe Cuntsulana took over the Cathedral marimba group from Penny Whitford in 2017, and trained these young musicians to a high standard. They have taken part in Cathedral services regularly, especially Sung Eucharists, and their performances on Spiritfest during the National Arts Festival drew enthusiastic crowds. Now Asakhe has been appointed as an Intern at DSG and St Andrew’s, and we wish God’s blessing on him in this next phase of his career. Asakhe’s many musical talents include voice, piano and the beautiful Ugandan instrument, the adungu. He was even heard playing this in Syracuse, New York, recently, when the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies and the Newhouse School of Public Communication made a Zoom connection via life-size 190 cm AV portals. Grocotts Mail described Asakhe’s performance as “mesmerizing”. 

Carlos Respeito

Many will remember the Mozambican ordinand Carlos Respieto. He spent two periods working at the Cathedral in 2018, while he was in the final year of his BTh at the College of the Transfiguration. He was ordained shortly after leaving here at the end of that year. It has just been announced that he has been appointed Provincial Secretary of the new Portuguese-speaking Anglican Province which has been formed, which covers Mozambique and Angola. This is a tremendous honour, and we congratulate Carlos and pray for him in this great responsibility.

On 22 February Jeanette Hodgson, who stayed in Somerset Place Frail Care, suffered a stroke, and she died there in the early hours of Sunday 27 February, with her daughter Dr Fiona Meihuizen at her side. Jeanette was a long-standing member of the parish, and a stalwart of the Anglican Women’s Fellowship. We give thanks for her life of service and pray for her family.

Barbara Stout, who with her husband Wilf founded the Makana Choir School in 2008, and who had retired with him to Scotland, is in South Africa at present. She and Wilf are spending time in the Western Cape while she recovers from a hip operation which took place in Constantiaberg Mediclinic in mid-February. She is beginning physiotherapy this week, and we wish her a speedy recovery and freedom from pain – and perhaps a chance to visit Makhanda?

In ‘People and Places’ two months ago we noted that the Shell oil company had been interdicted from undertaking seismic blasting off the Wild Coast. Recently the company asked leave to appeal against this interdict, but we give thanks that leave was refused.

As February 2022 ends it is impossible to ignore something which is taking place at the other end of the world. Unthinkably, a large nation, Russia, has invaded a smaller neighbouring country, Ukraine. In Europe itself refugees are streaming across borders, as they do so often in other continents, including, as we well know, our own. We join with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Christians across the globe in fervent prayer for peace, and echo the call for Ash Wednesday (2 March) to be observed as a global day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine, for Russia and for peace.

 

People and Places, February 2022

A warm welcome to any who have recently arrived in Makhanda and are joining the Cathedral family, and particularly to any new students. And welcome back to those who have been away over the vacation. We hope that you will find special blessings here!

Xolisa Foley (left) and Bayanda Mthetho

If you came here looking for a good education for yourself or your children, the latest Matric results once again proved that you have come to the right place. The nine public sector high schools in Makhanda, whether fee-paying or no-fee, have all posted record results. Whether you look at the pass numbers, the percentage of passes, or the numbers of Bachelor passes, 2021 was a record-breaking year for every single school. Congratulations to them all, and to our Church schools, and to the remarkable Gadra Matric School, which sends more students to Rhodes University each year than any other school in the country. And all this despite the huge difficulties posed by the pandemic! Among the matriculants who have achieved specially good results and will be going on to university are some from the Cathedral: from Graeme College our 2021 Head Chorister Xolisa Foley, and Junior Organ Scholar Bayanda Mthetho, both of whom are heading to Cape Town to further their studies, and from Nombulelo one of our servers, Athayanda Dlayedwa, who is planning to study Pharmacy at Rhodes. We congratulate them, give thanks for their achievements and wish them well in the future.

At the 9:30 Eucharist on Sunday 16 January we said goodbye to Xolisa and Bayanda. Special prayers were said over them, and the Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa presented them with Bibles on behalf of the Makana Choir School.

Jeanette Eve

That Sunday was also the occasion on which we said farewell to Jeanette Eve, who has been a valued member of the Cathedral congregation for some 40 years. She was a Lay Minister, involved in the Anglican Women’s Fellowship, the making of the Cathedral kneelers, the twinning of the Cathedral with St James’ Cathedral Toronto, the Faith and Literature Group, and the Cathedral Arts Group (out of which grew Spiritfest), to mention a few. And it was she who brought up to date the Cathedral Guide originally written by the Revd Charles Gould, for its republication by the Cory Library in 2011. Her departure to live in Somerset West, to be near her daughter Catherine, had been planned for some time, but had to be postponed because of her fall and hip operation. When she left she was presented with a booklet containing a number of tributes, appreciations and messages from parishioners and friends.

Hands-on Grandpa: John Jackson with Callum

John and Gail Jackson are rejoicing in the arrival of a third grandchild, Callum Davy, born to Lindsay and Jono. Lindsay had a difficult pregnancy, and she and Jono were obliged to spend the last month away from home, in Gqeberha. In the meanwhile, John and Gail looked after Callum’s older siblings Liam and Ella, which John assures us was “fun”!

There have been a number of bereavements in the congregation. Rosalie Breitenbach died on 13 January, and we pray for her children: Andrew and his wife Erika, Catherine and her husband David, and the grandchildren. Penny Whitford’s sister Helen Wilson died in Johannesburg. A consolation for this sad occasion was that Penny and Clive, who went to Gauteng for the funeral, were able to gather with their entire family for the first time in some years. A particular tragedy was the death of eight members of Mama Kwezi Gabavana’s extended family, who perished in a taxi accident when travelling to Cape Town. We pray for these families, and for Mzwanele Bikitsha, whose cousin died recently, that they may be comforted, and that their dear ones may rest in peace.

David Whisson, son of Michael and Adrienne, has been visiting his parents from the UK. Adrienne was confined to a wheelchair while waiting for a hip replacement. This took place in January, and we rejoice that she is now able to walk again with assistance, and is free from pain. We pray for her continued healing.

Theo Duxbury, who was in the leadership of our Student Ministry for several years, and who has been doing community service in Bedford after completing his pharmacy studies, has now received a permanent appointment as Hospital Pharmacist at Bedford Community Hospital. Warm congratulations!

Director of Music Kepa has passed his final Piano exam at Rhodes, but still has one credit to get in order to complete his degree. He has decided to postpone that until 2023, and during this year he will be concentrating on his choir work. His absence from the Cathedral for a couple of weeks in January did not mean he was on holiday, but rather he was in his annual two-week Retreat in Worcester in the Boland, a chance to recharge his batteries.  The photos show that he did not spend all his time in silence or in solitude, but was also able to reconnect with our former Dean, Andrew Hunter, his wife Claire and daughters Rachel and Nicola.

Andrew and Claire were both able to take post-Christmas leave at the same time, and enjoy first Great Brak River, and then the delights of the Cape Peninsula on their doorstep. Andrew is at last getting some relief from the months of misery caused by shingles, although he still needs to take pain-killers. And from Durban comes the news that AJ Bethke’s little boy Caleb, who was a toddler when they last visited here, has started in Grade 0, which he greatly enjoys. AJ is looking forward to teaching classes in person again at UKZN.

Good news on the very last day of January was that the Covid regulations had been relaxed again, to allow every child to attend school, every day. We give thanks for this, one of many blessings we used to take for granted. We are privileged, too, that vaccines are easily available and at no cost, to protect us and those around against Covid. So it was a shock to this writer to arrive at Settlers Hospital when due for a “booster jab”, and find that there was not one single other person waiting to be vaccinated! Please, everyone, take advantage of what is offered here. And may God grant us health, strength and peace.

 

People and Places, January 2022

As 2021 drew to a close, we were thankful that services for Advent and Christmas were able to go ahead as planned, despite the new and more infectious Omicron variant of Covid-19. On the first Sunday evening in December there was a Taizé service, followed the next week by a contemplative service, both organised by our Director of Music Kutlwano Kepadisa. Our Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was held on Sunday 19 December. It was well attended, and Kepa is to be congratulated on the programme he was able to produce with a choir which finally numbered only seven, due to a variety of challenges. The seven included Senior Organ Scholar Jon Hughes and Junior Organ Scholar Bayanda Mthetho, who also took turns at the accompaniment, and Kepa himself!

Bayanda has now finished his Matric, and so has the 2021 Head Chorister Xolisa Foley. We wish them well as they go on to their university studies. Sadly for the Cathedral, Bayanda has set his heart on going to UCT! The contribution of these two young men to the choir has been enormous over the years. Anyone who has a copy of the CD recorded in 2015 by the Cathedral Choir under A-J Bethke, will be able to hear their young voices as trebles, singing the solo part in the last piece in the recording, S S Wesley’s ‘Blessed be the God and Father’.

A year ago the Crib Service had been an online occasion, due to concerns about the effect of the then current Delta variant of Covid-19. So this year it was a special joy to be able to open the Cathedral doors to children again for the traditional ‘Instant Nativity Play’, with an orchestra in suitably festive garb. The service, like most of our services, was also live-streamed. The Rotary Carols by Candlelight was presented online this year, with participation from the Deanery children, and can still be accessed via our Facebook page. The midnight to 4 a.m. Covid-19 curfew was lifted on 30 December, too late for us to hold a Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. The Bishop of Grahamstown, Ebenezer Ntlali, took part in the Carol Service, and preached and celebrated at the Christmas Eucharist at 8:30 a.m. on 25 December, when we welcomed Peter Black as our guest organist.

Dean Mzinzisi was a guest preacher at one of the churches of the Albany Archdeaconry, St James Southwell, on 5 December, for the celebration of their 150th Anniversary. This pretty and historic church is right out in the country, but well cared for and loved by its little congregation.

It was a particularly joyful occasion on 18 December when two parishioners, Meghan von Wildemann and Philip Cloete, were married in the Cathedral by Dean Mzi Dyantyi. We wish God’s richest blessings on their life together.

Paul & June Walters, 18 December 1971

Exactly fifty years earlier, June and Paul Walters were married by June’s father Philip Russell, later Archbishop of Cape Town, in St Cuthbert’s Church Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha). June was led up the aisle by her 15-year-old brother Christopher. We rejoice with them, giving thanks to God for their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Ann and Peter Stockwell had not been able to attend the marriage of their daughter Clare in the UK in April 2021, but when South Africa was taken off the UK’s “Red List” in December, Clare and her husband James promptly bought tickets and flew to visit her parents. What a delightful reunion that was!

Jeanette Eve suffered a set-back in her plans to move to Cape Town when she fell and broke a hip. She had to be admitted to hospital in Gqeberha, for a partial hip replacement. We give thanks that her daughter Catherine was able to come up and be with her, and pray for her recovery. Prayers are also asked for Kay and Rudi Marx’s son Gunther and his wife Kelly, who were held up and robbed at gunpoint in their Gqeberha home on 14 December. 

Sarah James, who has been in our prayers since her surgery to correct scoliosis over a year ago, has now been able to start post-surgery rehab. We give thanks that she is now doing exercises to strengthen her core and upper back, with a view to stabilising and protecting her spine.  

An answer to prayer came on 28 December, when Judge Gerald Bloem ordered Shell to stop their seismic blasting off the Wild Coast. The group which asked the Makhanda High Court for an interdict to halt the blasting included local communities and fisher folk, as well as environmental organizations. They brought an impressive array of up-to-date scientific evidence to back their request, and it was this which led Judge Bloem to make his ruling. We give thanks for this victory for our local marine life, and for those who live on our coast and depend on it for their livelihood.

We pray for Cathy Meiklejohn, whose mother Elaine Hill died in KwaZulu-Natal, and also for the family of Philip Court, a former member of the 7:30 congregation who was house-bound for a long time, and died here recently.

Bishop Tutu (then General Secretary of the SACC) in 1978 with Bob and Maggy Clarke’s daughter Helen in Pietermaritzburg

The Most Revd Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986-1996, died on 26 December at the age of 90. Reviled by the apartheid government, adored by congregants and freedom fighters alike, this “Rabble rouser for peace” as his biographer John Allen described him, was above all a man of God, and a man of prayer. Impressed by the Dalai Lama’s spending five hours in meditation every morning, Archbishop Tutu himself was in the habit of getting up at 4 a.m., and spending three or four hours in prayer every day. His contribution to our country’s transition to democracy is incalculable, and it is no exaggeration to call him, as many have done, a “global icon”. But he is remembered also as a man of joy, full of fun, with a laugh often described as a “cackle” which was irresistibly infectious, and a fund of hilarious stories.

In the week following the death of Archbishop Tutu, numerous memorial services were held in Cathedrals and parishes all over the ACSA. The service in this Diocese took place in St John’s East London. His funeral was on 1 January in St George’s Cathedral Cape Town, and was a “Category One” State Funeral, but at the same time an Anglican Requiem Mass. The excellent sermon by the former Bishop of Natal, Michael Nuttall, who was also formerly Dean of Grahamstown, can be read here.  Choosing Micah 6:8 as his text, Bishop Michael pointed out that ‘the Arch’ had lived his life in obedience to the Lord’s commands “ to pursue justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly.” In this New Year which can be pronounced ‘Twenty Tutu’, may we be inspired to follow his example, and may God bless us all.