People and Places 2015
Canon Nancy Charton, who died on 10 November at the age of 95, was a Sunday School teacher at this Cathedral. After her ordination as Deacon this was where she served a curacy before being appointed, unusually, as “Deacon-in-Charge” of St Bartholomew Grahamstown, because at that stage women were not ordained as priests in this province of the Anglican Communion. When the joyful day came that the Diocese and Province had passed the necessary legislation in their Synods, Nancy was the very first woman to be ordained priest, by Bishop David Russell, in September 1992. With a distinguished career as a lecturer and Associate Professor of Politics behind her, and already being 72 years of age, Nancy nevertheless went on to have a lively ministry of more than twenty years, at first at St Bart’s, and then in Graaff Reinet in the Diocese of George, where she died. Lucid to the last, having suffered a stroke she made sure that her son contacted Michael Whisson, to ask him to speak at her funeral. This Michael duly did, and the Diocese of Grahamstown was also represented by Dean Andrew Hunter. A week later Bishop Ebenezer celebrated and preached at a Requiem Mass for her in Grahamstown Cathedral, at which the DSG Junior Choir sang, and a number of women who were in the Black Sash with Nancy in the struggle days, attended wearing their sashes.
Pat Oosthuizen, a long-time member of the Cathedral congregation, died in November, and we pray for her daughter Karen. A special service of prayer for the people of Paris was held on Sunday evening, 15 November, after the shocking attack by IS. A Frenchwoman resident in Grahamstown, Carole Vicent, spoke movingly about her feelings. We pray for all those affected by terrorism, the bereaved, the maimed, in that and so many other recent attacks in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Ruth Brandt, who served successively as Diocesan Secretary in the Dioceses of Grahamstown, Khahlamba and Port Elizabeth, has recently moved into St Luke’s. Prayers are asked for her, as her state of health is not at all good.
We give thanks that Andrew Meiklejohn escaped serious injury when he was in a car accident recently.
Congratulations to Cathy Euijen and her team of Grade 6’s at Kingswood, who took part in the Sasol Forever Environmental Quiz recently. Cathy’s group came third, no mean feat considering there were 1000 teams participating.
The Community of the Resurrection Associates met on 21 November to celebrate Mother Cecile’s Day with a Communion service, a luncheon and a talk by Paul Walters on CS Lewis. It was good to see Rita Macrae and Larry Collett, former Cathedral parishioners who travelled up for the occasion, looking fit and well.
All good wishes to those Matrics and students who have completed their studies in Grahamstown, and said farewell to the Cathedral congregation. In particular our prayers go with Namso Nyamela, who has finished her Honours year. She has been a member of the choir ever since she was at VG, a server, and helped to train young servers, and more recently joined the Lay Ministers’ team. Her ministry here has been greatly appreciated, and we pray for her as she moves on to the next phase of her life.
As the school term was about to end, the full Cathedral choir with junior members sang for the last time in 2015 on 22 November, leading the worship at an evening service of Lessons and Carols with a distinctly South African flavour – plus Caribbean touches! But the church’s year, and Advent, began the following week, and the adult choir continues to sing. A-J Bethke has a series of interesting and thought-provoking services lined up for Sunday evenings in Advent: first an Advent Devotion, then a Taizé service, then a Lucernarium, and finally a Carol Service on 20 December. For an antidote to the commercial clamour which accompanies the run-up to Christmas, look no further!
October 2015 was a disturbing month, in Grahamstown as well as in other university towns around South Africa. Leaders of faith communities, among them our Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, were firm in their support of the campaign to make university education affordable to all students, while at the same time calling on protesters to refrain from violence and destructive action. Students at COTT joined the protest in solidarity with Rhodes and East Cape Midlands College students.
Here in Grahamstown the fee protest coincided with an unconnected outbreak of xenophobia. This was especially sad in a city which had previously prided itself on its welcoming attitude towards foreigners, but it was encouraging to hear the calls from students, religious and business leaders, for people to open their hearts and give generously to those who had been forced to flee their homes and shops. Many voices were raised in the neighbourhoods served by foreign-owned shops, expressing regret at their closure. We pray that these hard-working people may be welcomed back and allowed to live their lives in peace.
The Dean of Grahamstown has for many years carried the extra burden of being Archdeacon of Grahamstown. We rejoice that Dean Andrew is being relieved of this duty, and warmly congratulate Sub-Dean Mzi Dyantyi on his appointment as Archdeacon of Grahamstown. At the same time we congratulate Cynthia Webbstock, the Bishop’s Personal Assistant, on being appointed Archdeacon of Albany, to succeed Robin Murray. We pray for them both as they take up these important additional duties.
Congratulations to the Chair of ANSOC, Simphiwe Gumede, on being this year’s recipient of the Rhodes University Student Leadership Award. Well done!
Once again Cathedral parishioners carried off a number of awards at the annual Grahamstown Flower Show. Ann Stockwell’s roses were among the prize-winners, as were Marian Jayes’ herbs and flowering shrubs. The Hartzenberg sisters also scored with their roses. Special congratulations to Sally Terry, who won awards with lettuce, herbs, arum lilies, and roses, and deservedly walked away with second prize overall in the show. St Philip’s Church again received first prize for a community garden with their overflowing boxes of “Spring Harvest”.
This year’s St George’s Fair, on 31 October was blessed with perfect weather, no rain but not too hot. The hard-working team led so capably by Marian Jayes is to be congratulated on an event which gave people a great deal of joy, as well as raising a sum in excess of R34,900!
The short film about Amasango Career School, which was shown at the Festival in 2014, has now been expanded into an hour-long feature, in which there are a number of interviews with Jane Bradshaw. This film was shown twice on SABC2 in October.
We give thanks that June Walters is making a good recovery after her recent operation.
Sally Ashby, wife a former Dean of Grahamstown Godfrey Ashby, died of pancreatic cancer on 7 October, in Exeter, England. Many of her family were able to be with her in the time leading up to her death. Prayers are asked for Bishop Godfrey and the family.
The funeral of David Hodgson was held in a packed St Andrew’s College Chapel, most appropriately for someone who was not only a past pupil, but a member of staff for many years. He was treasurer of the Old Andrean Association for 51 years, and attended meetings until very recently, even though he was in a wheelchair. We continue to pray for Jeanette and the family.
On 18 October the Cathedral welcomed back Roderick Walsh as our preacher and celebrant, together with his wife Jenny. Rod and Jenny had lived in Grahamstown when they were studying, and a few years ago came here to look after the Cathedral parish for some weeks while Dean Andrew was overseas working on his Masters degree. Peter Silva, a former Chaplain of DSG, and his wife Penny, a former churchwarden of this Cathedral, also visited South Africa in October, and worshipped at the Cathedral. Penny is still working part-time for the Oxford English Dictionary in Oxford, England. She last visited here after the death of her mother, Peggy McCoy, three years ago, but Peter had not been back to South Africa for fifteen years. Wilf Stout joined his wife Barbara here for a few weeks. They spent time sorting out the contents of their Grahamstown house, but as they are not selling it, we hope to see them again in the not too distant future. During their visit they added their special voices to the Cathedral Choir on more than one occasion.
The Rhodes Chamber Choir gave their last concert of the year in the Rhodes Chapel on 15 October, once again thrilling the audience with their polished and lively performance of a variety of works, ancient and modern, from around the world. Congratulations to A-J Bethke, who conducts this choir as well as the Cathedral Choir, which only two weeks later gave a concert of sacred music “Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs” on Friday 30 October. That was the beginning of an intensive weekend of music for the Cathedral choristers, as the following day they recorded a CD which we hope will be available shortly, and on the Sunday sang A-J’s beautiful “Little Requiem” at a moving evening Mass for All Souls’ Day. The recording and editing of the CD was done by Peggy McCoy’s son David.
Matrics and students are writing exams at the moment, and on 1 November we said farewell to the College of the Transfiguration students who had assisted so devotedly at the Cathedral throughout 2015. Bruce Wooley had already been made deacon before he finished his studies, and he returns to the Diocese of Natal. Marlon Porter goes to the Diocese of False Bay, Theo Tshazi to Mthatha Diocese, Olebile Galebotswe to the Diocese of Botswana, Zinzile Mdululwa to Mbashe Diocese and Deon Manuel to the Diocese of George. We wish them all God’s blessing as they write their final exams, and then begin their ministry as deacons.
The Patronal Feast of the Cathedral, St Michael and All Angels, was celebrated on Sunday 27 September with services of thanksgiving, and an opportunity for parishioners to give thanks publicly. A new “Chamber Eucharist” by AJ Bethke received its premiere at the 09:30 service. Scored for choir, string quartet, oboe and percussion, this Mass was written as a “spiritual and musical response” to the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa. It uses a number of languages and musical styles from various cultures. The Gloria is in English using both Celtic and Sotho styles, the Kyrie combines Shona and Xhosa traditions; the Credo (Baptismal Creed) is in Latin with short phrases in San; the Sanctus is in Afrikaans, the Benedictus in Latin and Tswana, and although the Agnus Dei is sung in English, its first and last sections are in Sotho style and the middle section is an adaptation of a tune used in the Zionist Church. Warm congratulations to AJ on this splendid work!
And now, hot off the press, a new book by AJ has appeared: “Celebrating the Seasons; Themes and Symbols of the Christian Year”. Not only is this a great achievement for AJ, but it is certain to be a useful resource for anyone involved in the planning of worship, or indeed anyone who wishes “to deepen their understanding of the church’s liturgical worship, especially of the Eucharist, and its intimate connection with their personal life, and that of the world…” I quote John Suggit, who will be remembered by older members of the congregation as a former Warden of St Paul’s College and then a Professor of Theology at Rhodes. He retired as long ago as 1992, but is still living near Cape Town and still himself writing and publishing.
At the Archdeaconry Confirmation on 6 September, six members of the Cathedral family were among those confirmed by Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali: Kaylyn Bartis, Waldo Marcus, Noluthando Ncaca, Muchemwa Sinkala, Khanye Tokota, and Brittany Jonklaas who is Head Chorister in the Cathedral Choir. We pray for them and wish them well in their continued journey of faith.
On 13 September Chris Walwyn served at the Cathedral altar for the last time before he and Marian move to Bathurst. Chris started as an altar server no less than 56 years ago, as a boat boy! We thank God for his continuous record of service since then, in a number of parishes. On the same day Nceba January, who is the Finance Officer of the Diocese of Grahamstown, was licensed as a Lay Minister. Please pray for him in this ministry.
David Hodgson died on 3 October. He was a faithful and well-beloved member of the Cathedral for many years. Please pray for Jeanette his wife, and all the family. Prayers are also asked for a number of our members who have been bereaved: Chris Walwyn on the death of his aunt Nan Sheppard, Theo Tshazi, one of our COTT student team, on the death of his father Mputhumi, Jane Bradshaw whose cousin Philip Amm died suddenly of a heart attack, and Elizabeth Effiong on the death of her mother in Ibadan, Nigeria. Special prayers also for Pasha Alden, who works at the Library for the Blind and has sung in the Cathedral Choir, on the death of her husband Michael.
We welcome back Barbara Stout on a few weeks’ visit to Grahamstown, shortly to be joined by her husband Wilf.
Maggy Clarke travelled to Cape Town to meet up with her daughter Beccy Stones and her three children from Johannesburg, to have a week’s holiday and support the eldest child (aged 12) who was playing his violin in the Hubert van der Spuy competition for junior school musicians. He acquitted himself well. Another achievement was that the whole family party walked up Table Mountain one morning, coming down in the cable car. The six-year-old was discovered in the afternoon “playing going up Table Mountain” – running up and down the eight flights of stairs of their timeshare apartment!
After two fruitful years as a YASC volunteer at the Cathedral, Paul Daniels II had to return to the United States in August. On Sunday 16 August he was given a rousing farewell at the 09:30 service, at which the choir sang two traditional African American spiritual songs, and Paul himself preached one of his challenging sermons. Afterwards the whole congregation and choir repaired to St George’s Hall, which was brightly decorated with South African and US flags, and where the refreshments included popcorn, for speeches, songs and a presentation. Paul’s ministry has been appreciated by young and old alike and he will be missed. We pray for him as he sets out on the next step in his journey.
We welcome Christopher Matya, who succeeds Eunice Ncwadi as Cathedral Verger. He brings experience to the job, having been Verger here back in the time of Roy Barker. And warm thanks to Lunga Dongwana, who despite his involvements as Head Server and a Lay Minister, is now teaching the Xhosa language Junior Church class which takes place in St George’s Hall.
News from Barbara and Wilf Stout is that their daughter-in-law has given birth to their first grandchild, a daughter Nerissa Rose. At the end of the year the Stouts will be leaving Arusha, Tanzania, to retire to Furnace in Scotland, which is not far from where Nerissa and her family live.
Claire Nye Hunter made a visit to Cape Town, to surprise her brother on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Charles Antrobus arrived back from a most enjoyable stay in Canada with his sister Shirley Horan and family, in time to be part of a Rhodes University Chamber Choir concert on 27 August. AJ Bethke continues to raise the already excellent standard of this choir, which gave a performance consisting almost entirely of South African music. They were about to leave on a concert tour visiting various Garden Route towns. Andrew Tracey was among the entertainers at a lunch-hour concert in the ILAM amphitheatre, and had the audience tapping their feet to his song about “Lovely Polyrhythm”
Prayers are asked for Jeanette Eve, who has had surgery and is recuperating at home. Thelma Neville had a fall and cracked her pelvis, which resulted in her having to be in a wheel chair. David Hodgson is undergoing tests to try to find out the reason for his repeated falls. Please pray for Joy Tandy, on the death of her sister Pam Askew, and for Chris Walwyn whose aunt Nan Sheppard has died.
June Venn ran a cake sale on Sunday 30 August, after each of the morning services. Congratulations to her and all those who baked, on raising over R1000.
Geoff Antrobus, Chair of the Good Shepherd School Trust, reports that the school has received an exciting gift of computer equipment from the Calabar Foundation. Not only that, but the Foundation is paying the salary of a facilitator to teach the children and teachers how to use the equipment. The sight of the little people queuing up for their turn to go in and use the computers is delightful. We thank God for the generosity which has made this possible.
Warm congratulations to AJ Bethke, who has been granted a post-doctoral fellowship at UNISA to study for two years. This means he will be leaving the College of the Transfiguration, but to the delight of all concerned, he will be staying here, and continuing as Director of Music of the Cathedral.
The National Arts Festival ran from 2-12 July, and it was a joy to welcome visitors from all over the country, old friends and new, and family members. Richard Antrobus came from Cape Town to perform, this time on the Main Festival programme. He was involved in three productions: a reprise of “Being Norm”, “Dreams”, and “Suggestion Box”. This last saw Richard encased in a small transparent box in an open space on the Village Green or the Drostdy Lawn, accepting challenges from members of the public around him to mime subjects of their choice. As he could stand in the box, but there was no room to lie full-length, it was particularly impressive to see him achieve a hand-stand!
Canon Bob Clarke’s widow Maggy and all their descendents were present at the service of Choral Evensong on the first Friday of the Festival, at which the Lady Chapel altarpiece, given in his memory, was dedicated: Beccy Stones and her three children from Johannesburg, and Helen Averbuch with her husband and two children from Port Alfred. Also present from the Keiskamma Arts Project in Hamburg were the designer of the tapestry, all the embroiderers, and even the young woman who was the model for the Virgin Mary in the picture. The Cathedral choir under AJ Bethke sang mainly South African music, much of it composed by AJ himself.
AJ, who hosted his parents and other relatives during the Festival, was kept busy. He gave two organ recitals, and conducted the Rhodes Chamber Choir in two concerts, as well as the Cathedral Choir at the Evensong, and smaller groups which sang at the Festival Eucharist and at the candlelit Lucernarium. The St Michael’s Marimbas under Penny Whitford gave two concerts, and tours of the bell tower conducted by Catherine Letcher and other bell ringers proved so popular that on the last day an extra tour had to be laid on.
The preacher at the first Festival Eucharist was Dr Vicentia Kgabe, Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, and at the second Rob Penrith, Chaplain of the Diocesan School for Girls.
Four lovely paintings by the late Alexandria artist Deon Lemmer were on display in the Cathedral during the Festival. Most unfortunately the equipment bought to display a video on the South Wall created by local artist Paul Greenway was not set up satisfactorily in time for the Festival. Apologies to all who had hoped to see “Psalm 19”.
This year the involvement of other Grahamstown churches in Spiritfest widened. As previously the Presbyterians hosted Gospel Africa. The Baptist Church provided a base for the Operation Mobilisation artists who were exhibiting and witnessing in the Cory Room. The Spiritfest Winter School lectures were arranged by the Jesuit Institute, and moved to St Patrick’s Church. This made it possible for the Chapter House to be used as a Coffee Shop, which was open all the time the Cathedral was open to the public, and was especially appreciated after the 9.30 Sunday services. The Open Mic session in the Chapter House was a friendly occasion, with the guests seated at decorated tables, some of them sipping tea and nibbling cake. The numerous participants were young and old, and came from near and far, many bringing original poetry which they were keen to offer. Emcee Claire Hunter, who had been dubious whether the event should be repeated given the small attendance last year, was overjoyed with the response.
Prayers are asked for Mluleki Mize, the Priest-in-Charge of St Philip’s Grahamstown, whose wife Vuyiswa died suddenly on 30 July. We pray also for Dinah Flani, the Cathedral office cleaner, on the death of her sister Gladys Kalilana.
Millicent Armitage went to Gauteng to have a knee replacement operation, which was successful. We pray for her as she copes with the pain and gets up on her feet again, and for Roger Embling who has also undergone a knee replacement. Gareth Walwyn had an eye operation with almost instant miraculous results, correcting his eyesight so radically that he has been able to discard the spectacles he has worn for many years.
Di and Brian Harvey have a new granddaughter born in Cape Town, and went to meet her. We rejoice with Kerry Jane Gutridge on the occasion of her 60th birthday on 13 July, and pray for her health. The Festival was not yet over when Charles Antrobus flew off to Canada, to enjoy a holiday with his sister Shirley Horan and her husband Mark and three sons. Sister Carol and Mother Zelma have been in England, visiting Associates and Oblates of the Community of the Resurrection, and making individual retreats. Their visits overlapped just long enough for them both to be present at the annual CR festival service at St Peter’s Bourne in London on 11 July.
Ndzonzelelo Yili’s three months at the Cathedral came to an end, and we bade farewell to him on 26 July. Due to sickness and a family bereavement he had not been able to take part in as many of the Cathedral services as had been hoped, so he may return at a later stage.
The Big Hymn Sing, now an annual event organised by the music staff at Kingswood College, took place in the Cathedral on the evening of Sunday 26 July. Apart from the Cathedral Choir, the choirs involved were all from local schools: Kingswood Junior and Senior, Victoria Primary, DSG and St Andrew’s College. The hymns were accompanied by the Kingswood Concert Band, and the Cathedral was packed to capacity.
If the priest says at the beginning of the Eucharist “Tenzi ngaave nemi”, how do you respond? If your home language is Shona, one of the main languages of Zimbabwe, you will know that the answer is “Ngaave newewo”. (“The Lord be with you” – “and also with you”.) For a few weeks the Cathedral used these and other Shona liturgical responses at our 9.30 services, led by Percy Chinganga from the College of the Transfiguration. It was only when Claire Nye Hunter invited all Shona speakers present to come up to the front that we realised that over a dozen of us are indeed Shona speakers. In previous months the responses had been in various South African languages. We want to make everyone feel at home!
We are delighted to welcome back Canon Cynthia Webbstock, who was raised in Grahamstown, and served a curacy at the Cathedral. After incumbencies in the United States and East London, she is now fulfilling multiple tasks in the Diocese as the Bishop’s Personal Assistant, and a researcher for the Diocesan Development Trust, among others. She has recently moved back to Grahamstown and is making the Cathedral her spiritual base. If we don’t see her every Sunday it is most likely because she is also looking after the vacant parish of St Peter Peddie.
After a shorter absence we welcome back Peter and Ann Stockwell, who enjoyed a visit to their children in the UK. This included seeing the Chelsea Flower Show, and Peter taking part in a “Moonwalk” in London. This night-time fund-raising event for breast cancer involved all participants of both sexes wearing visible bras! Peter also had the opportunity to visit Paris with Clare and Andrew, and the Isle of Wight. It is good to know that Canon James Hoyle, who has been undergoing cancer treatment, is in the UK at present visiting his son Clifton and other family.
Subsequent to the Vestry Meeting, the Parish Council added to their number ex-officio the Student Group representative Titi Marobe, and Lazola Kati representing ANSOC. It is good that these young people should have an opportunity to participate in the important work of the Council, and we hope they make the most of it.
Congratulations to Wayne and Marian Jayes, on their 25th wedding anniversary. Di and Brian Harvey have a new granddaughter born in Cape Town, and went to meet her.
The management of Eluxolweni Home were alarmed to realise at the end of May that due to the failure of Government grants to be paid on time, funds were rapidly running out. Creditors were queuing up to be paid, and Jane Bradshaw had to tell the staff that on the next pay-day they would only receive R1000 each. Arrangements were made to transfer money from one account to another, ready for these payments to be made. Then, to everyone’s astonishment, it turned out that the sum available in that other account was much greater than they had expected, and the staff could be paid after all. An anonymous donor had been quietly putting large sums of money into the account! Jane told this story at the morning Eucharist on 28 June, giving praise to God for this happy outcome. Prayers are asked that the grants may be paid regularly to avoid this happening again.
A request for prayer came from Andrew Race, who was confirmed by the late Bishop Kenneth Oram in our Cathedral back in 1978. He is now resident in the Diocese of Derby in the UK, and is to be ordained Deacon on 5 July.
Prayers are asked for Deacon Siphokazi Njokweni and her family, on the tragic death of her cousin Magdalene, shot dead in Tsolo. Please pray also for Samkela and Olwethu Maqanda, on the death of their mother Ntombizodwa, for Thelma Neville on the death of her sister Gwendolyn Vincent, and John Murray whose sister Margaret Vinnecombe has died. Jeanette Hodgson had a fall and broke a number of bones, and we pray for her recovery.
As I finish this blog, Grahamstown is gearing up for the National Arts Festival, and that includes all of us involved in Spiritfest. Operation Mobilisation is here again, witnessing through the visual arts in the Cory Room, and representatives of the Jesuit Institute will arrive at the weekend with lectures and other events to take place in St Patrick’s Church. And, as ever, there’s a lot happening in the Cathedral: worship, music and art. Do support Spiritfest if you are in town this Festival, and tell your friends!
The recent xenophobic attacks in some parts of South Africa (mercifully, not in Grahamstown) made the Pentecost story seem especially relevant, when the preaching of the Apostles was heard and understood by visitors to Jerusalem from all over the known world in their own languages. To demonstrate the inclusiveness of the Christian message, on Pentecost Sunday, 24 May, which fell the day before Africa Day, the joyful procession at the Cathedral’s 9.30 service was joined by young people bearing the flags of many nations. The congregation was encouraged to wear red, or dress in national dress.
On 10 May newcomers who had recently joined the Cathedral received a special welcome in the form of tea at the Deanery after church. This was greatly enjoyed by all. A permanent deacon from St Augustine’s Grahamstown, Ndzondelelo Yili, has been seconded to the Cathedral team for three months from May. We welcome him and his wife Vuyiswa.
Congratulations to the Cathedral Mothers’ Union, on their successful Bazaar which raised over R2,100.
Prayers are asked for a number of Cathedral members who have been bereaved in recent weeks: Eunice Ncwadi and her family, on the death of her great-niece Nompendulo Magquntulu; Theo Tshazi on the death of his mother, and Ndzondelelo Yili on the death of his nephew Mbulelo. Claire Nye Hunter’s cousin Ant Fielding died in East London on 11 May. Many will remember Brother Andrew Colquhoun OHC. He was one of the founding Benedictine Brothers who started the Monastery at Hillandale, Mariya uMama weThemba, and lived there for about 13 years. He died in Kingston, New York, on 6 May at the age of 77, after a long battle with lung disease.
Gloria Sikampula was the mother of Lilitha, Sub-Dean Mzi Dyantyi’s wife. She was also the sister of Bishop Ebenezer’s wife Noncedo. She was taken ill at home in Mthatha early in May with severe diabetes complications, and Mzi and Lilitha fetched her, and had her admitted to Settlers’ Hospital to be close to them and the Bishopsbourne family. Sadly her condition did not improve, and she died on 21 May. We pray for all the family at this time.
And on the previous day Sister Dorianne CR went home to her Lord after a long – 100-year – life devoted to his service. We give thanks for her life and all that she did during more than 60 years in the Community. She served at a number of missions in Zimbabwe, and in Zambia, London and Johannesburg as well as in Grahamstown. A life-long learner, she may have held the record as the oldest person to have passed exams through TEE. In her nineties she decided it was time she wrote up her memoirs in a series of three articles. She insisted on doing this on the Community computer, with instructions and assistance from Mother Zelma!
The Rhodes Chamber Choir gave a concert on 28 May in the Rhodes Chapel. Under the direction of A-J Bethke, the choir’s already high standard just keeps on going up. They sang in at least seven languages, which unusually did not include Latin. The concert featured the South African premiere of A-J’s own composition “In the tender compassion of God”, which had received a warm reception on its world premiere at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music recently. Jessica Smith, Charles Antrobus and Glyn Lloyd-Jones continue to sing in the Chamber Choir as well as the Cathedral Choir, and Anelisa Kelemi, who until she matriculated the end of last year was a junior chorister at the Cathedral, has now joined the Rhodes choir and is also being trained by A-J to be a conductor.
Special prayers are asked for a member of the Cathedral choir, Celia Jameson, known to many Grahamstown people as a “beloved physician”. She herself had to undergo a major operation for stomach cancer in Port Elizabeth. The specialists are hopeful that all the malignancy was removed, but she now has to have chemotherapy.
On 31 May we said goodbye to Odule Odanayo, who has been teaching the Children’s Church at the Cathedral for some time. We thank God for her faithful ministry to these precious little people, and ask for blessings on her as she returns home to her husband and children, having finished her studies at Rhodes.
The National Arts Festival is rushing up on us! Do visit the Spiritfest 2015 page on this website and see what is on offer, at the Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic churches as well as the Cathedral and other venues.
On Good Friday at the Three Hours’ Service a number of clergy and lay ministers took the parts of various witnesses to the crucifixion, and described the event through the eyes of their characters: Simon of Cyrene, a friend of Judas, the two men who were crucified with Jesus, Mary Magdalene, John the beloved disciple and the centurion. When Claire Nye Hunter spoke as Mary Magdalene, there was not a dry eye in the church, and we all came away feeling yes, “we were there”.
A former Dean, Anthony Mdletshe, visited Grahamstown as a guest of the College of the Transfiguration in Holy Week. He went on to be Suffragan Bishop of Grahamstown and then Bishop of Zululand, and is now retired and living in Pretoria. He came to a service at the Cathedral, and it was good to see him looking well and active.
Congratulations to those Cathedral students who received degrees at the recent Graduation ceremonies at Rhodes, and to Amy Mann, daughter of Chris and Julia, who has now qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Her brother Luke recently had the opportunity to visit Gallipoli in Turkey, scene of a bloody battle a century ago in World War I.
It has been announced that the Revd Nobuntu Mageza has been appointed Personal Assistant to the Archbishop of Cape Town. She and Archbishop Thabo know each other well, as she was his secretary for a couple of years while he was Bishop of Grahamstown. While studying at the College of the Transfiguration last year she was placed at this Cathedral for pastoral experience. We congratulate her and wish her well.
We welcome two new members of the Cathedral family, who were baptised on Sunday 19 April, Danilee Arends and Madison Conroy, and pray for them.
Prayers are asked for Eunice Ncwadi and her family, on the death of her great-niece Nompendulo Magquntulu.
The Cathedral “Seniors” enjoyed a post-Easter tea on 15 April in the Hall. Claire Nye Hunter had devised a quiz with mainly Biblical questions, and the people seated at the various tables competed as teams. Beth Dickerson was the only one on her table who knew that the Epistle to the Galatians is the one in which the Fruits of the Spirit is listed, and she was particularly pleased to hear that her table had come out top in the quiz.
On the previous Sunday Beth had celebrated her 87th birthday. As she had not been in the best of health recently, she reluctantly decided to abandon her idea of throwing a big party, but could not resist organising a series of lunch parties for family and friends on that Sunday and in the days that followed. As it turned out, those were her farewell parties, as on the Friday that followed her health took an alarming turn, and she died in Settlers’ Hospital in the small hours of Wednesday 22 April. The founding Professor of Rhodes Drama Department, Beth was for many decades a faithful and enthusiastic member of the Cathedral congregation, whose gifts were always available to her Lord and her church. Older members will remember her productions of the Carols by Candlelight nativity scenes, and the moving play-readings of scenes from Dorothy Sayers’ “Man Born to be King” at a number of Good Friday three-hour services. Even in her eighties when her sight was almost completely gone, she would collaborate with Jeanette Eve in teaching young members of the congregation how to read lessons audibly and with understanding. These youngsters can be proud to have had the same coach as Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who was among the theological students at St Paul’s College to be taught by Beth how to project their voices in the pulpit. At Beth’s well-attended funeral on 30 April, Andrew Tracey read out the Fruits of the Spirit, from Galatians.
People and Places, April 2015
The Annual Vestry meeting was held on 15 March, and we welcome the newly elected churchwardens and parish councillors, and pray for them: churchwardens Jane Bradshaw and Wayne Jayes, alternate churchwarden Paul Walters; councillors: Claire Cordell, Paul Daniels II, Lunga Dongwana, Cathy Euijen, David Greybe, Duma Myemane and Patrick Pringle. They were admitted to their offices on 22 March, and at the same service our two new lay ministers received their licences, Thelma Maloko and Namso Nyamela.
After some months of filling the post of Parish Secretary on a “temporary” (but most efficient) basis, Chris Walwyn was among those who applied for this vacant position, and his appointment was announced at the Vestry Meeting. We give thanks, and pray that he will have a long and happy sojourn in the Parish Office.
At the beginning of March we were introduced to the College of the Transfiguration placement team for 2015: Bruce Woolley, Qabuka (Theo) Tshazi, Marlon Porter, Zinzile Mdululwa and Deon Manuel. We welcome them and their families as they share in the ministry here and gain practical experience. Congratulations to the members of last year’s module who graduated at the ceremony on 18 March: Naomi Alexander and Matthew Wright received the Certificate in Anglican Ministry, and those who passed the Diploma of Theology were Bertha Gowera, Ronald Dias, Nobuntu Mageza (with Distinction) and Shaun Cozette, who not only achieved a Distinction but also won awards both as Most Improved student and for Academic Excellence in the Diploma.
A very warm welcome to Ann Greybe, who has now arrived from Scotland to join her husband David here on a permanent basis. Other newcomers to the Cathedral include John Murray, who has moved to Grahamstown from George, and Lorraine Cassim, a long-time Associate of the CR Sisters, who has taken the decision to move from Port Elizabeth to live with the Community. A joyful occasion at the CR was the celebration of Sister Dorianne’s 100th birthday on 14 March. Seventy or more friends of all ages came to celebrate, some from as far afield as the UK. The party took place in the St Peter’s common-room on the morning of the big day. Sister Dorianne was happy to see them all, and to read all the many cards and messages which arrived for her.
More visitors from the UK over the same weekend were Christopher Helyer from Dartmouth, and one of the young volunteers for the Mayenziwe Project, Joseph Partridge. They were in the country to help with the construction of school classrooms in the King William’s Town area, and were able to join the Cathedral Choir for the morning Eucharist on the day of our Vestry Meeting.
Brother John OHC spent some time in hospital in Cape Town recently, for an operation on his brain which hopefully will cure his epilepsy. The surgeon who operated on him is a world leader in this relatively new procedure, and we pray that it will be a success. Pasha Alden had an operation on 17 February, and we pray for her complete recovery. Patrick and Cathy Pringle give thanks that their daughter Janet was spared serious injury in the accident which saw her car written off. Fiona Coyne spent more than a week in Settlers’ Hospital with pneumonia, and prayers are asked for her and her husband Basil.
We pray for Uminathi Anthony, one of the young tenors in our choir, whose father Theo died quite suddenly, and for Eunice Ncwadi our Verger, whose sister-in-law Irene Gawe Ncwadi has died. Prayers also for Jane Bradshaw on the death of her cousin George Barbour, and for our former Director of Music, Barbara Stout, whose father died in the UK in February.
Congratulations to Tyreece Burger on being chosen as Head Girl of Victoria Primary School for 2015. Her photo appeared in Grocotts, and in the same issue the front-page picture featured Ongamela Peter and Nikilitha Gabavana, two of the young violinists of VP who played in a concert on 6 March. This was to raise funds to take the violin group to Cape Town for workshops, and a performance with the Buffalo Suzuki Strings from New York. And congratulations to Andrew Meiklejohn on being selected for the Rhodes first rowing team, and awarded full University colours.
Readers of the Sunday Times should look out for the by-line of Asha Speckman, a former Grahamstonian, Rhodes journalism student and Cathedral server. On 15 March an interview appeared in the Business Times which Asha had conducted with Mimi Mahlasela, who plays the part of Aggie Ngwenya on the soapie 7de Laan.
A former Cathedral Director of Music, Christopher Cockburn, has been honoured by the Royal School of Church Music by being made an Associate of the RSCM. The citation calls him a “leading organist”, mentions his academic posts and composing, and that he “has spent many years training both choristers and young organists and has dedicated much of his working life to the causes of the RSCM and church music.” Congratulations to Christopher, and also to our current Director of Music, Andrew-John Bethke. One of his compositions, “In the tender compassion of our God”, has been chosen to be featured in the London Festival of Contemporary Church Musicin May, where it will be performed for the first time. Well done!
In the week before Palm Sunday the choirs of St Andrew’s College, DSG and the Cathedral combined to perform an “Easter Cantata” in the Cathedral, accompanied by organ and small orchestra. This was actually a service of nine readings and various musical items, taking us on a journey from Palm Sunday through Passiontide to Easter. This collaboration with our Anglican schools was something special, and the Cathedral was packed on both evenings.
Dean Andrew Hunter and his daughters Rachel and Nicola all took part in the Cape Town Cycle Tour on 8 March. Because of the huge fire which had only recently been extinguished in the Cape Peninsula, the tour was shortened to 47 km, less than half its normal length. The girls were probably relieved not to have to cycle the whole route as they were riding a borrowed tandem bike. Their “practice” on this machine was a mere quarter of an hour, just long enough to decide that they did better with Rachel in front and Nicola behind! As usual they sought sponsorship from friends and parishioners for the Bumble Bee Fund (for children with disabilities) and were delighted to raise more than R4000.
A warm welcome to all students, whether returning after the long vacation, or new to this city and the Cathedral. That includes students of the College of the Transfiguration (COTT), and their families, as well as the new COTT Rector, Vicentia Kgabe. May their time here be blessed.
Many Cathedral people went away for Christmas, not a luxury available to the clergy, but after Christmas Dean Andrew went for an extremely brief visit to New Zealand, to attend his nephew’s wedding near Christchurch on the South Island. The wedding was a lovely occasion, at a seaside resort.
When the Rhodes Chamber Choir performed in Orientation Week in the Monument, Charles Antrobus sang a solo before the largest audience of his life – in isiXhosa.
Nuns never seem to look old, so it was a surprise to realise that Sister Carol CR was celebrating her 80th birthday. Her brother and sister-in-law came to visit her from Harare for the occasion.
We welcome two new Lay Ministers, both post-graduate students: Thelma Maloto and Namso Nyamela. Namso is also a server, and has rejoined the choir this year.
Many people have been praying for Claire Nye Hunter’s brother David Nye in Cape Town, whose continuing serious illness baffled the experts. Although it was never defined, we are delighted to hear that he is now well on the road to recovery.
Jeanette Hodgson has been in and out of hospital with heart trouble, and Angie Marriner has to have a major operation. Prayers are asked for them, and also for James Hoyle, retired priest at Christ Church, whose cancer has returned.
On the evening of Shrove Tuesday, 17 February, news broke of the death of Paddy Tandy, less than three weeks after he had been diagnosed with cancer of the liver. We give thanks that during that short time his son was able to visit him from Johannesburg, and they could talk together. Prayers are asked for his wife Joy and all the family.
The customary pancake evening on Shrove Tuesday at St George’s Hall was a great success, as ever. Even with eight gas burners roaring away, the succession of pancake-cooks could hardly keep up with demand! Some people took away piles of pancakes, others sat down and enjoyed them with salads at the tables. When the mixture ran out, and the takings were counted and expenses deducted, the Bishop’s Appeal was richer by in the region of R4,500! Well done to Sally Terry and the team of parishioners, adults and school-girls.
Warm wishes for blessings this Lent, and joy at Eastertide.
Here we are, well into 2015. Warm wishes to all Grahamstown Cathedral members and friends for this new year. Means of communication in this 21st century just keep on multiplying, and for a variety of reasons it has been decided to reduce the number of printed issues of The Spire produced each year. At the same time we can take advantage of the wonders of the Internet to maintain the monthly instalments of “People and Places.” So welcome to the new P & P, whether you read it on the Cathedral web page, or in low-tech form pinned up on a notice board. Please keep the news coming.
Many Cathedral people went away for Christmas. Perhaps the most exotic destination was Goa, India, where Cathy and Patrick Pringle joined their daughter Janet for a family Christmas followed by fascinating sight-seeing further afield on the sub-continent. But at the same time there were visitors here, including Margie and Geoff Antrobus’s daughter Helen Pfister and her family, from New Zealand, and Dorothy Holder who visited from Cape Town before Christmas.
Four members of the Cathedral Choir spent a week over the new year attending a Summer School organised by the Royal School of Church Music in Cape Town. David Foulkes, Aphiwe Mame, Sesona Bay and Maggy Clarke greatly enjoyed the fellowship, fun and high quality musical training. The excellent visiting conductor from the USA was none other than Garmon Ashby, who spent his childhood in Grahamstown. After 13 years teaching at Bishop’s (Diocesan College) in Cape Town, he left in 2000 to further his training as a church musician at Yale, and stayed on to work first in Tucson, Arizona, and now in Houston, Texas.
Congratulations to Claire Nye Hunter on the 20th anniversary of her ordination as a priest. Peter and Elizabeth Breetzke welcome a new grandson, Levi, born to their daughter Jane in Cape Town.
On 14 December the Mothers’ Union of the Cathedral admitted two new members: Zukhanye Mtuze and Noluthando Ncaca. We give thanks for the growth in the MU and pray for their work. At the same service three little Matyumzas, grandchildren of Joyce, were baptised: Luzuko, Thandile and Liyabona, along with one adult, Debbie Myburg. We welcome them into the Lord’s family! Three days later Debbie was married in the Cathedral to Corné Labuschagne, who had renewed his baptism vows when Debbie was baptised. All good wishes for every blessing on them in their life together.
Rodney Bridger gives thanks that his father, Ernest Bridger, is recovering well after a gall-stone operation. Beth Dickerson was rushed to hospital in Port Elizabeth before Christmas with blood clots on her lungs. We give thanks that she survived this alarming experience and was discharged within a week. Audrey Holmes spent two weeks in Settlers’ Hospital but is now back at St Luke’s. Also out of hospital and back home are Jeanette Hodgson, and Thembeka Peter, Monwabisi’s mother. We give thanks for the improvement in their health and pray for their complete recovery. Special prayers have been asked at this time for Claire Nye Hunter’s brother David Nye in Cape Town, whose continuing serious illness has baffled the experts. Pray that tests will reveal the cause and point the way to a cure. Pray also for Lunga Dongwana and the family on the death of his uncle, Lulamile Dongwana.
Congratulations to Jonathan Jayes on his outstanding Matric results. He achieved six A symbols in the IEB exams, and is going to further his studies at UCT. Back after a most enjoyable gap year teaching in the UK, Rachel Hunter has now started at Stellenbosch University.
Jessica Smith having finished her teaching qualification at Rhodes at the end of last year, has been appointed at Victoria Girls’ High School, and has moved into accommodation on the school campus. Paul and June Walters’ son William is also embarking on a teaching career, moving to Kimberley. We wish them well. William’s brother John and his wife Cath have returned from the Far East and John has been appointed to teach at St Andrew’s College. It is good to see Mike Skipper, who is back on the staff of DSG and also teaching at St Andrew’s and Prep, after many years in the UK. The choir were happy to welcome him back into his place in the bass row. His wife Sue will be following him later in the year.