People and Places 2016
The Rhodes term ended with exams taking place in less than ideal circumstances, as the #feesmustfall protests continue to roll around the country. Regular prayer meetings have continued to be held here, and we give thanks that the exams did take place, with most students opting to write in November rather than taking up the offer of deferring their exams to January. We said farewell to a number of students, and wish them God’s richest blessings in the next phase of their lives.
Congratulations to Jeanette Hodgson and Heather Tracey, who both celebrated their 80th birthdays on the same day, 6 November. Congratulations also to Sylvester and Christeice Appollis on the birth of Arabella, a granddaughter for Katie! And to Jane Bradshaw who welcomes a new grandson.
Jane has been suffering from the after-effects of an injury to her shin, and we pray for her complete recovery. Prayers are also asked for Celia Jameson, who has undergone another operation. Sadly she has now given up her practice. Chris Walwyn and Clive Whitford have both had operations, and we pray for them as they recuperate.
At a ceremony at St Augustine’s Church Grahamstown on 6 November a number of women were admitted as members of the Mothers’ Union by Mzi Dyantyi our Sub-Dean and Archdeacon. From the Cathedral these included his wife Lilitha, as well as Khayakazi Balekini and Lungiswa Sandi.
In November we had to say a sad goodbye to Marian and Wayne Jayes, who have returned to live in the house they own on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Over the seven years they lived in Grahamstown their contribution to the life of the Cathedral has been immense, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to them. Wayne has been a Churchwarden and Treasurer, and managed the Cathedral website and Facebook page among many other things, and Marian’s involvements have included being Treasurer of the Makana Choir School and convening the St George’s Fair over the last four years. While he was at school, their son Jonathan was a server among other involvements. He has now just completed his second year at UCT. May God bless them in the next phase of their ministry.
When Christmas approaches choirs tune up, and there is a feast of choral events, both services and concerts. Some singers take part in three or four different choirs, like Charles Antrobus! Before November was even over or Advent begun, carol concerts had been given by the University Madrigal Singers (an Advent concert in Rhodes Chapel), and the Pro Carmine Choir in Christ Church. Both involved adults from the Cathedral Choir. Because the Junior Choristers of Makana Choir School are not available in the school holidays, before they left the Cathedral hosted a Festival of Carols on 20 November, at which the carols sung included some composed by AJ Bethke. One of them also featured additional words specially written by Pat Terry. Other local composers whose work was aired were the junior choristers, who composed a carol for the occasion, and sang it conducted by Anelisa Kelemi. Indivile Vili, one of our new choristers, also wrote a work which was sung at the morning Sung Eucharist on 6 November. We give thanks for the creativity of Cathedral people of all ages.
The Community of the Resurrection of Our Lord hosted their Fellowship Day in honour of the birth date of their founder, Mother Cecile, on 19 November. It was good to be with friends from near and far including Larry Collett and Rita Macrae. English visitor Sue Hennessy gave a fascinating talk on a walking trip she and a friend took through the foothills of the Himalayas. The pictures she projected were really beautiful, but for most of us listening the journey sounded too uncomfortable!
Warm congratulations to Nceba January, on being accepted to study for his Master’s degree. And to Dean Andrew, who is now back at work having spent his three-month Sabbatical preparing the proposal for his PhD. This has been accepted by NMMU, so he can start work in earnest on his thesis. His subject of study centres around Conflict and Transformation, with the #feesmustfall campaign at Rhodes as his case study.
All best wishes for a blessed and wonder-filled Christmas!
Congratulations to Marian Jayes and all the many people involved in the St George’s Fair. Despite drizzly weather, parishioners and public came together to enjoy everything on offer from pancakes to knitwear, from cabbages to cakes and white elephants to face-painting – and much more! Over R26,000 was raised. Well done!
Grahamstown Cathedral was privileged to be on the itinerary of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, during his visit to South Africa. His current title (as a member of the UK’s House of Lords) is “Baron Williams of Oystermouth”. A special service of Choral Evensong took place on a Tuesday evening, 25 October, at which the distinguished visitor preached. His address, which started with him quoting a recent headline: “Why is everyone so angry?” was brilliant and topical, addressing the feelings at the root of the student unrest at Rhodes and elsewhere in South Africa. He spoke entirely off the cuff, which resulted in disappointment for members of the congregation who requested a copy of his sermon. Members of the Cathedral Choir were encouraged to hear him say to them at the door “You are a good choir” – high praise indeed from one who has heard so many great choirs, and a Welshman to boot.
That was just the beginning of a memorable musical week. Next came the Cathedral Choir’s annual concert, this year entitled “A Light to Lighten all Nations”, and then there was the moving evening Sung Eucharist for All Souls on 30 October, which included AJ Bethke’s beautiful “Little Requiem”.
Four new choristers were admitted to the choir and vested in their robes at Cathedral services during October, having served their period of probation. Congratulations to Indivile Vili (VG), Liyema Bobotyani (VP), and Liqhame Beja and Lelami Ngoqo (Graeme College). We give thanks for their talents and dedication, and pray for blessings on them as they sing to the glory of the Lord.
The finances of Eluxolweni, home to the former street children who attend the Cathedral, have been under severe pressure recently. Jane Bradshaw testified at the morning service on Sunday 30 October that the situation had become so bad that one month the staff were only able to receive one third of their salaries, and the next month none at all. At that point in answer to fervent prayers, there appeared within three days three very large donations, one from a private donor in England in response to a phone call from Jane of R90,000, and another of £2,500. Bubbling with excitement at the way the Lord had provided, Jane explained that these sums would ensure that Eluxolweni’s debts would be paid, and their expenses covered, right up to the end of January.
Congratulations to Yoliswa Dongwana and the marimba band of Amasango Career School on winning the Arts Exhibition Competition, an annual provincial event hosted by the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape. The band competed with other groups at the first cluster level which took place in the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage area in August, and the finals took place in the Orient Theatre in East London on 23 September. This is the second time in three years that this band, started by Penny Whitford, came first in this competition.
The Rhodes University Chamber Choir, conducted like the Cathedral Choir by AJ Bethke, greatly enjoyed their visit to Cape Town for the semi-finals of “Varsity Sing”, the KykNet competition. The choirs which progressed from this round to the finals were NMMU and Stellenbosch, and Stellenbosch emerged the eventual winner, but it was a credit to RUCC that they did so well against choirs which were generally twice their size.
One of our Cathedral student group, Anna Talbot, has been named Student Volunteer of the Year by Rhodes University Community Engagement. Congratulations to her on this recognition of her hard work and dedication in starting and running a Cub Pack at St Mary’s School. Her citation mentioned her ability to liaise with school staff, the national scout movement and the RUCE office, and the fact that she had trained volunteers to take over in 2017.
On 30 October we said farewell to our eight College of the Transfiguration students, who had done their pastoral practice for 2016 at the Cathedral. Some are continuing their studies, others returning to their Dioceses for ordination. We wish them well in their ministry ahead.
Chris Mann and Julia Skeen gave a repeat performance in the Cathedral of “Anxiety and Grace” which combines Chris’s words and music with Julia’s visual art. This work was offered during the 2016 Festival, and has been “on tour” in KwaZulu-Natal.
Prayers and sympathy to Peter Breetzke, whose brother Raymond died suddenly of a heart attack in Cape Town last month.
We pray for our parish secretary Chris Walwyn, undergoing surgery at the beginning of November. While Chris is on sick leave, we are grateful to parishioner Lou-Anne Liebenberg for volunteering to assist in the office. Chris has announced that he will be retiring as parish secretary at the end of the year. His contribution in the office has been enormously appreciated.
Prayers and good wishes go to all students and matrics writing their exams under trying circumstances at this time.
Sunday 25 September saw the launch of the Christians@Rhodes Mission “Break the Mould”, with a service held in the Cathedral. During the week, various lunch time and evening talks were given by a variety of speakers from different churches and Christian organisations. Claire Nye Hunter led an evening seminar entitled “Was St. Paul a sexist?” – an impression that might be gained from his writings such as “Women be silent”, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man”, “Wives submit to your husbands”, “Women cover your heads when prophesying” etc. Focusing on the text “Women be silent”, she led the students in a guided exercise following recognised principles of interpretation and discovering the principle that Paul was teaching. Judging by the comments and feedback, it was a liberating, eye opening and well received message!
The universities of this country have been the subject of much earnest prayer at this time of unrest over very high student fees, which make the cost of tertiary education almost impossible for the vast majority of students. Both Dean Andrew and Claire have been (and continue to be) a prayerful, pastoral and peacekeeping presence on Rhodes campus. Pray that a peaceful and constructive way forward will be found.
On 4 September we welcomed Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali for a splendid Archdeaconry Confirmation, at which Lou-Anne and her son Lyndon Liebenberg, and Cebolenkosi Mkhize, were also received into membership of the Anglican Church. Members of the Cathedral family confirmed were: Sive Bavuma, Rutendo Chisina, Tyla Fourie, Zenande Landu, Zukisa Manana, Siphokazi Matini, Tebogo Matshana, Mandilakhe Ncwadi, Anele Nonyathi, Saki Sigqubo, Nkosinathi Sododo, Zanele Twaku, and Onelani Williams. Takundanashe (Taku) Chinogwenya was unwell and so missed the service, but fortunately was able to be confirmed at DSG on 10 October. Another member of the Cathedral family who was confirmed at DSG that day was Hlumela Kondile, daughter of Zoleka Maqwili. Our prayers for them all as they take this next step in their Christian journey.
An even larger event took place in Grahamstown over the weekend of 27-28 August, when representatives from all over the Diocese gathered in Joza for the annual Diocesan Family Weekend. The committee which organised this was chaired by our Sub-Dean and Archdeacon, Mzi Dyantyi. Congratulations to him and his team on the success of this weekend of fun, fellowship and fund-raising, which culminated in a huge service in the Joza Indoor Sports Centre and raised a record-breaking sum.
Individuals and families can also feel at home in the Cathedral celebrating their personal milestones. Dr Gilimamba Mahlati and Dr Vuyokazi Mahlati have been married for thirty years, and they decided to make our Cathedral the setting for a wonderful service of thanksgiving and renewal of marriage vows on 10 September. We wish them every blessing in their continued life together.
The Amasango Career School joins the Cathedral in being the recipient of a Coventry Cross of Nails. During the second World War the ancient cathedral in Coventry, England, was bombed, and so severely damaged that it was never rebuilt, but instead a new cathedral was erected next door to the ruin. Some of the medieval nails from the destroyed cathedral were used to make a cross, which has become the symbol of the Community of the Cross of Nails, a network of church organisations which share a common commitment to work and pray for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Many churches all over the world belong to this network and display replicas of the Cross of Nails. Ours is in the Lady Chapel on the right of the altar. More recently the Cross of Nails community founded ICONS (International Cross of Nails Schools), an organisation to provide resources for youngsters to explore issues of justice, peace and reconciliation. The Amasango Cross of Nails was presented to the school on 12 August by Sarah Hills, Coventry Cathedral’s Canon for Reconciliation Ministry, who was visiting South Africa.
Marian Walwyn, former Churchwarden at the Cathedral and married to our parish secretary Chris, was delighted to be honoured by Oatlands School. She taught there for 14 years, until her retirement in 2008. For the first time the school decided to establish four Houses, and they are named after the school’s first four headmistresses: Mesdames Newby, Baines, Lloyd – and Walwyn! Walwyn House colour is red. Marian is said to be “extremely chuffed and not a little humbled” at this well-deserved honour. Prayers are asked for Chris, who is to undergo an operation in November.
Congratulations to Cwayita Bam, part of the Bishop’s family, who has been elected Head Day-girl at DSG for 2017. Lutho Zono, the Kingswood Head Girl and former Cathedral chorister who was mentioned in last month’s People and Places as assisting the Student Core Group at the Seniors’ Tea, was honoured by being the recipient of the school’s prestigious Neil Aggett award for outstanding community engagement. She received this on the occasion of the annual Neil Aggett lecture, this year given by the outgoing Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela.
Patrick and Cathy Pringle recently enjoyed a visit of their daughter Janet, from India, and spent some time travelling with her and visiting the family farm. Maggy Clarke went to Cape Town to join her daughter Beccy Stones and family, to attend the national rounds of the Hubert van der Spuy competition for junior school instrumentalists, in which her grandson Alexander played his violin. Although he did not get through to the final, it was a good chance to hear the wonderful playing of the finalists, and to enjoy the beach at Table View with the grandchildren.
Claire Nye Hunter, together with others from our Diocese, joined 1500 Anglicans from across the Province at the “Anglicans Ablaze” Conference held in Cape Town from 5-8 October. The keynote speakers all gave very challenging and contextually relevant talks within the broader theme of “Intentional Discipleship”.
AJ Bethke took 17 of the junior choristers to Hogsback over the weekend of 30 September to 2 October. He was ably assisted by Sally Terry and Anelisa Kelemi. They had fun, did a lot of singing, and led the music at the morning service in St Patrick’s Church on the Sunday. The last time this camp was held was in 2014, and it is hoped it will continue to be held every two years.
On 4 and 11 August AJ Bethke and the Rhodes University Chamber Choir appeared on TV (Kyknet), singing in the Eastern Cape heat of the “Varsity Sing” competition. At the end of the second programme their supporters were overjoyed to hear that they had gone through to the next round. (To hear one of their songs, click here.) “Reality” TV being what it is, the programmes had actually been recorded weeks in advance, and the choir members were all sworn to keep their success a secret! The following evening there was a chance for Grahamstown to hear the RUCC in the flesh, when they repeated their moving anti-rape programme “Light from Darkness”. Their beautiful singing was matched with poems and testimonies. We wished them well as they set out at the end of August for their annual Choir Tour, which this time took them to Namibia.
Congratulations to the marimba band of Amasango Career School, on coming first in the marimba section of the schools’ arts competition held recently in Uitenhage. This qualifies them to go through to the Provincial competition in East London. Congratulations also to Ilse de Vos, now in Matric at VG, on obtaining a Silver in the English Olympiad. Bayanda Mthetho, one of our junior choristers, was a member of the Graeme College Grade 7 team, which won the Eastern Cape semi-finals of the Astroquiz competition on 22 July. Not only that, but he also reached the final round of the Grd 7 district Mental Maths competition. Kaede Bridger and Tristyn Burger each won the ‘best speaker’ award for their respective grades in a competition between VG and Graeme College. Congratulations to them, and to their proud parents Rodney and Mandy Bridger, and Ronaldo and Michelle Burger. Much hard work was rewarded when Nceba January received his B Com. Honours from Regent Business School in Durban. Well done!
The Seniors’ Tea held on 13 August was for the first time organised by the Cathedral Student Ministry team, with contributions of food from members of the parish. The Core Team of students plus friends were kindly and efficient waitrons. Among the ”friends” was Lutho Zono, who was a member of the Cathedral choir when she was in junior school. She is now in Matric at Kingswood. There was even live entertainment: Kutlwano Kepala and Anelisa Kelemi (both RUCC members) sang a duet, and Anelisa followed up with a solo, a song in Xhosa about a bird. Right on cue a pigeon which had strayed into the Hall flew up to perch on a beam, and coo an accompaniment. The seniors were encouraged to keep their brains active with a two-part quiz. First they were tested on their knowledge of the Anglican Prayer Book services by the students, and then Claire Nye Hunter brought out her recorder and piped snatches from hymn tunes. The tricky part was the teams had to recall the first lines of the hymns, when they might only be given a few bars from the chorus.
Thelma Neville very much regretted that severe pain from a pinched nerve in her back prevented her attending the tea, but she kindly sent a cake in honour of her 100th birthday, which was cut on her behalf by Millie Armitage.
Jeanette Hodgson gives thanks for a successful operation to deal with a haematoma, which happily has cured her numbness. Paul Pillay is recovering well from back surgery. Marian Jayes travelled to KwaZulu-Natal to be with her mother, who was having an operation on her foot. Richard Brooks has also had an operation, and is back at work. He has now stepped down as Chancellor of the Diocese of Grahamstown, after many years of faithful voluntary service as one of the diocesan lawyers.
Our prayers are with the Mvula family, after the death of Wellington Mvula, for many years a faithful member of the 07:30 congregation. We give thanks for his life and witness. Our sympathies go also to Mama Noncedo Ntlali and family following the death of her cousin, Jola Ndlame.
Margie and Geoff Antrobus went to Cape Town to be with their son Richard and daughter-in-law Megan at the time of the birth of their daughter Emily Jade on 29 August. Congratulations and best wishes to all the family.
A highlight of July for the Cathedral family fell on the 22nd, when Thelma Neville turned 100. Congratulations poured in. The Bishop visited her on the day, the Archbishop sent messages, and Her Majesty the Queen did not forget her. On the following day Thelma enjoyed a splendid celebration at the Monument for about 60 guests, and fulfilled her ambition to dance at her 100th birthday party! We give thanks for the life and witness of this feisty journalist, and send her congratulations and best wishes.
The second half of the Festival saw the Cathedral hosting a Lucernarium on the Wednesday evening. This lovely candlelit service, which featured on Spiritfest for the first time last year, drew a larger group of worshippers this year, to the extent that the candles ran out. Penny Whitford’s group of young marimba players gave two concerts, and the tours of the bell tower continued to be popular. On the final Sunday of the Festival the choir of the Diocesan School for Girls led the singing, and the preacher was the Revd Gary Griffiths-Smith, Chaplain of St Andrew’s College. Meanwhile Spiritfest was also going on at Commemoration Methodist Church, which hosted an organ recital, choral concert, and a special Festival Service with their Bishop, Andile Mbete as preacher. The Spiritfest Winter School took place in St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. Chris and Julia Mann presented a programme there entitled “Anxiety and Grace”, and AJ Bethke launched his book “Celebrating the Seasons”, selling all the copies he had available. Some of the book sales took place in the Cathedral, where Cathy Pringle and friends ran a most successful stall selling books, cards and other items. An Open Mic session took place in the Chapter House (“Cathedral Coffee Shop”) with Grahamstown poet Harry Owen as MC. Those who visited the Cory Room could enjoy the work of a number of Christian artists at the “40 Stones” exhibition, which was dominated by a huge loom. Visitors were invited to contribute to the art work by weaving in colourful strips of cloth and braid. It was explained that the loom represented a person’s life, and the inter-weaving by different people the way we all affect one another and contribute to the pattern. Grocott’s Mail and other publications gave Spiritfest excellent coverage, and Peter Stockwell had a photo published in the Cape
Argus with his by-line.
Among the Festival guests, Mary-Clare Tracey Craigen with her husband Ian and three daughters came all the way from New Zealand. The happy Tracey family reunion combined celebrations of Andrew’s recent 80th birthday, Andrew and Heather’s 50th wedding anniversary, and Ian and Mary-Clare’s 25th wedding anniversary. Both Rachel and Nicola Hunter came home from Stellenbosch for the vacation, and the Festival. They were at home when the beloved family dog “Scruffy” died at a ripe old age (16½!) and the family were able to console one another. Visitors to the Festival were not all on holiday. Richard Antrobus came with his wife Megan, not only to visit his parents Margie and Geoff, but also as a performer with the return of his popular mime show “Suggestion Box”.
John Murray missed the Festival because the wonderful opportunity came up of going on a pilgrimage to Ireland and the Scottish island of Iona. This included a memorable visit to the Corrymeela Community in Ireland, a centre of reconciliation in the midst of that island with its painfully divided past.
After the Festival was over AJ Bethke travelled to two successive conferences, one in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the second (with no break in between) in California. Jet-lag apart, these were a great success. He was no sooner back in Grahamstown than he was involved in the Big Hymn Sing, which took place for the third time in the Cathedral, on 24 July. Both the Cathedral Choir and the Rhodes Choir took part, alongside the senior and junior choirs of VG, Graeme College and Kingswood College. Anelisa Kelemi, a former junior chorister who is now studying at Rhodes and assisting as an intern with the Cathedral Choir, conducted them in their individual piece, “Indodana”, in front of a packed Cathedral. Fans of AJ and the Rhodes Choir can catch them during the season of “Varsity Sing”, a new competition for university choirs, which is airing on Kyknet on Thursdays at 8.30 pm between July and the beginning of October.
Prayers are asked for Lorraine Mullins, who has been in hospital, and for Jeanette Hodgson.
Chantel Tesnar has succeeded Anet Peter as Cathedral Office Administrator, and we welcome her to the parish office.
The Cathedral Student Services during August are focussing on “Women’s Month”, with a special sermon series: (1) “Will I ever be good enough? God’s perspective on self esteem”; (2) “Celebrating our diversity as the people of God”; (3) “Where was God when Tamar was raped?” (4) “Patriarchy and Paul – was Paul a sexist?” It is wonderful to see students inviting their friends and taking ownership of this ministry.
We wish Dean Andrew Hunter every blessing during his sabbatical from August to October. At the beginning of the year he registered at NNMU for a PhD, and he will use his sabbatical to immerse himself in his research on “Conflict resolution” .
The National Arts Festival began on 30 June, and with it Spiritfest, which had its official opening that day in the “Cathedral Coffee Shop” (otherwise known as the Chapter House).
This year Spiritfest had two Honoured Guests, Penny Whitford and AJ Bethke. Both these musicians have made an invaluable contribution to the artistic and spiritual life of the town, the Cathedral as a whole and Spiritfest in particular. Sadly, both are stepping down. Penny is retiring after over ten years training and directing the St Michael’s Marimbas, and AJ has given notice that he will be moving on after Easter next year. Their Citations can be read here. Many congratulations to them on this well-deserved award.
Another award was given at the Choral Evensong on the first Friday evening of the Festival. Dean Andrew Hunter has inaugurated the Dean’s Award, to acknowledge any individual, not necessarily a member of the Cathedral or the Anglican Church, who has made a significant contribution to the life of the community. The recipient for 2016, and the first ever to receive the Award, was the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, for his ethical, values-based leadership during tumultuous times in the life of the university and community (full text of Citation here.) The Choral Evensong featured the Cathedral Choir, both adults and juniors, conducted by Andrew-John Bethke, and the music reflected the work of South African composers and hymn-writers. Among the composers was Owen Franklin, a retired Anglican priest now living in Johannesburg, who was present in the congregation, as well as AJ himself.
On the following morning AJ’s work was showcased at a concert in the Cathedral with the Gate Quartet, (which includes Hayley Jackson), and a select choir, about half of whom were adult members of the Cathedral Choir. They sang AJ’s “Chamber Eucharist” as a concert piece, followed by his First String Quartet which had been premiered the previous month. And on the Sunday morning the Chamber Eucharist was repeated in the context for which it was written, during the 09:30 service. Both of these lovely works draw on many different musical traditions from Africa and beyond. At his organ recital on the first Friday of the Festival, AJ gave us “three Frenchman and a Brit.”
Bayanda Mthetho, one of the junior choristers, played the piano in the Junior section of the National Grahamstown Music Competition. He is among a number of Cathedral Choir juniors who receive a grant from our Choir School to pay for instrumental training.
As winter chill began to bite, Duma Myemane was one of three local women who felt deeply concerned about children who had to go to school without jackets. Through their campaign, “Tag a child Winter”, 60 pupils from six local primary schools received cosy wind-breakers.
Eleanor Barker, a devoted member of the Cathedral congregation over many years, who has been resident in Brookshaw Home, died in June. We give thanks for her life. She was an accomplished needlewoman, and a tapestry by her hangs in the Cory Room.
Andrew Tracey and Peter Breetzke have both had operations recently. We give thanks that they are doing well. Jeanette Eve was about to celebrate her birthday when she had to be rushed to hospital, but she recovered in time to be able to go to KwaZulu Natal as planned to stay with her daughter. Rose Buchner had a nasty fall, but is on the mend. We pray for Malixole, husband of Nompumelelo Magwa-Bobotyani, who has been in hospital. Bishop Ebenezer went to Gauteng for surgery to his jaw to implant tooth replacements, and we pray for the success of this operation.
Gill Meyer’s daughter was married recently in the St Andrew’s College Chapel. We congratulate the happy couple and pray for blessings on their life together.
After eighteen years at Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery, Brother John Forbis OHC is returning home to the United States. He was among the pioneering first three Brothers to come to Hillandale, along with the then Prior Timothy Jolley and the late Brother Andrew Colquhoun. We wish him every blessing in the next phase of his ministry.
On Pentecost Sunday, 15 May, the Cathedral celebrated the “Church’s Birthday”. Canon Bill Domeris, the Chancellor of the Diocese, was the preacher. Later that day the Bishop and Mama Noncedo, and Archdeaconry clergy, together with members of the parish, joined the Hunter family in a celebration lunch to congratulate Claire on the award of her PhD.
The previous week the Hunters hosted the Revd Lori and Bill Boehning from the USA. Lori, who studied with Claire at Fuller Theological Seminary in California, is a Presbyterian minister who is taking a sabbatical in South Africa, to explore some of the changes that have taken place in this country since 1994.
On Trinity Sunday, 22 May, the Dean and Luthando Madiba baptised adult candidates and a number of boys from Eluxolweni: Azole Kewuti, Lihle Nogemane, Anele Nonyathe, Vuyisa Pondoyi, Sigqibo Saki, Leroy Trollip, Zanele Twaku and John van Heerden. We welcome them into the family of the Church of God, and the Cathedral family in particular.
The Cathedral parish welcomes a group of College of the Transfiguration students who have come to assist and gain ministerial experience. They are: Aphiwe Flatela, Nobuhle Hlatshwayo, Lindokuhle Khanyile, the Revd Freeman Khomo, Thamsanqa Makwasa, Sipokazi Matini, Lethwa Ndwandwe, Sibonginkosi Sibeko and Nomkhosi Zulu.
Theo Tshazi, who was on our COTT module last year, suffered a tragic loss when shortly after his marriage to Zikhona Tshazi, they and others were involved in a horrific car accident. Zikhona, Theo’s sister and the driver who was a Lay Minister, all died. Theo was treated in hospital, but has been discharged. We ask God’s blessing and comfort on him at this terrible time. We pray for Ross Marriner on the death of his mother, and for Thabisa Yili on the death of her brother, as well as Mzi Dyantyi whose aunt has died, and the Bishop’s family following the sudden death of his nephew. Siphokazi Njokweni is mourning her niece Lindeka, and we pray for her as well as Lindeka’s two children who will be coming to live here with Siphokazi.
Clive Whitford has been suffering quite severe back pain. Although he has been controlling this with painkillers, we pray that the doctors will find a way to deal with the cause. Beth Denton underwent plastic surgery to deal with a troublesome scar on her forehead, and we give thanks that she is making a good recovery.
The Synod of the Diocese of Grahamstown took place in May at St Alban’s East London, and the Cathedral was represented by the clergy plus elected representatives Wayne Jayes and Rose Spannenberg. Geoff Antrobus attended his last Synod as a Trustee of the Diocese, a position he has held for 25 years.
Congratulations to AJ Bethke on the premiere of his first String Quartet on 26 May. The performance of this work by the newly formed local GATE Quartet, which includes John and Gail Jackson’s daughter Hayley, was warmly received by an enthusiastic audience. Anyone who missed this performance must make a note that the Bethke 1st Quartet will be played again in the Festival on 2 July.
Ashton Coltman, who until recently was a member of the Cathedral choir, was privileged to be one of five Grahamstown matric pupils selected to take part in the Model International Criminal Court trials in Krzyzowa, Poland. A number of current members of the Cathedral Choir from Graeme College came back with awards from the Port Rex Lions Eisteddfod in East London. Congratulations to: Lelethu Cekiso, Sange Loliwe, Kamva Ntapu, Hlumelo Kulati, Sixolile Lamani and Xolisa Foley.
Congratulations and good wishes for every blessing to Rachel Hunter on her 21st birthday. Her parents Andrew and Claire went down to the Western Cape for the celebrations on the last weekend in May.
Warm congratulations to our senior assistant priest, Claire Nye Hunter, who graduated with a PhD in Theology from the South African Theological Seminary (SATS) in Johannesburg on 23 April. Within minutes of her arrival at the Graduation ceremony she discovered that she was only the second woman in the 20-year history of SATS to graduate with a PhD in Theology, and the first one ever to attend the graduation ceremony, as the other woman was from the USA. She was treated like a celebrity! The subject of her thesis on the Gospel of St John was “Reframing, transforming and deepening faith: John’s pastoral response to a Community in Crisis”. Those who attended Claire’s Lent course on “Jewels from John” earlier this year, would recognize some of the text of her thesis. Dr Bill Domeris, former Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, was her supervisor. And congratulations to another graduate adding to her store of degrees and diplomas: Nompumelelo Magwa-Bobotyani, who received her M. Soc. Sci. in Anthropology from the University of Fort Hare.
Further congratulations go to Advocate Richard Brooks, a member of the Cathedral family who is also the Grahamstown Diocesan Chancellor, on being appointed a Judge of the Mthatha High Court.
Also back from a visit to New Zealand are Geoff and Margie Antrobus, who have been with their daughter Helen Pfister and her family in Auckland. They took the opportunity to tour the amazing North Island, from glaciers to hot springs. And with flights via the Far East they were even able to include a brief tour of Hong Kong.
The Community of the Resurrection welcomed their Oblates and Associates on 9 April. This was the first such meeting since Isaias Chachine took over as their Chaplain. Paddy Glover, the former Bishop of the Free State who is now retired to Knysna, is the CR’s Episcopal Visitor. He attended with his wife Kirsty, and was the celebrant and preacher. At the meeting in the afternoon Cathy Pringle gave a fascinating talk about her life’s work as an audiologist and speech therapist. This was followed by a presentation of slides showing the visit by Mother Zelma CR and her English friend Sue Hennessy to New Zealand. Sue was there in person to talk about the pictures and describe their journey, which took them to both North and South Islands.
Special congratulations and good wishes to Peter and Ann Stockwell, on their 45th wedding anniversary.
Penny and Clive Whitford have now achieved their long-planned move to Somerset Place, and we wish them every joy in their new home, which has a lovely view and a promising garden – but they are happy it is smaller than the one they left behind. Also settling in to a lovely new home with view and garden are Marian and Chris Walwyn. Now that they live down the road in Bathurst, they attend St John’s Church there, but happily for us Chris continues to commute to his post as Cathedral Parish Secretary.
The “Main Street Singers” who gave a lunch-hour concert in the Cathedral on 13 April, are a school choir from Los Altos California. They included Grahamstown on the itinerary of the 31-year-old choir’s first ever African tour at the invitation of Graeme College, and Graeme choirs shared the programme with them. All the members of the Graeme a cappella group, and many of the Graeme choir, also belong to the Cathedral choir. The visiting choristers look and sound professional, and it was an inspiration to watch their happy faces as they enjoyed their singing, and note that every single one of them watched the conductor all the time!
It was good to welcome back Barbara and Wilf Stout, who visited Grahamstown towards the end of April. They are happily settled in Scotland, not too far from their son who lives in Glasgow with his wife and baby daughter. During their visit the Stouts sang with the Cathedral choir at Evensong, and were reunited with some tall tenors and basses who they remembered well as tiny trebles.
We give thanks for the Mothers’ Union’s beautiful new banner, which now hangs in the Lady Chapel on a bracket adorned with the MU monogram. It looks good displayed next to the historic old banner, and unlike the old one which is fragile now, it can be proudly borne in procession.
The Cathedral’s Annual Vestry meeting was held on 13 March. We congratulate the new Churchwardens, Ian Meiklejohn and Ronaldo
Burger. They join Paul Walters, who continues as Alternate Churchwarden. Prayers are asked for them, and for the newly elected Parish Councillors: Jane Bradshaw, Rodney Bridger, Lunga Dongwana, Cathy Euijen, Wayne Jayes, Patrick Pringle and Rose Spannenberg.
Roger and Ros Embling are giving thanks for the arrival of their first grandchild, Benjamin David, born to their daughter Katherine and her husband Peter John Steyn on 19 February. Jenny Reynolds has a new grandson born in Australia, and on 12 March Paul and June Walters greeted another grandson, Thomas James, born to their son John and his wife Cath who live here in Grahamstown.Shortly after the Rhodes term began, the Cathedral Student Ministry team organised a Camp at Assegaai Trails on the first weekend of March. Claire Nye Hunter reported that 25 people enjoyed a weekend of “Fun, Fellowship, Friendship and Food”. She was grateful to the Cathedral family for their loving and generous support, which included sponsoring five students (all expenses and more), and providing home-baked muffins and delicious food. Activities included swimming, volleyball, soccer, table tennis, “30 Seconds”, a gentle hike, singing and a braai. Some were up until 4am! The weekend ended with an informal outdoor Communion service.
Peter and Ann Stockwell enjoyed a visit from their son Andrew, who is based in London.
We ask prayers for Ros Embling, who fell and broke her wrist, and for Heather Tracey who required stitches to her arm after a minor car accident.Not many people wait four years for a birthday present, but Daphne Rink’s 80th birthday gift from her daughter Gill and her husband Chich Hewitt was well worth the wait – the three of them went to India! Daphne was away from Grahamstown for over three months, as she went first to Johannesburg to attend her sister’s 80th birthday celebrations. Chich and Gill came over from the UK for the occasion, and Daphne flew back with them, into the throes of an exceptionally wet (although also exceptionally mild) English winter. She visited her son there, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Chich, Gill and Daphne spent the first two weeks of February in India, dividing their time between the famous “Golden Triangle” (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) and Kerala in the south of the country. They travelled by air, and in privately hired cars with knowledgeable drivers, and stayed in comfortable hotels. Among Daphne’s highlights were visiting a tea plantation in the hills of Kerala, riding on an elephant, and taking an overnight cruise on a houseboat. She leaned that 18% of the population in the south is Christian, and visited one of the oldest Christian churches in India, and an equally ancient synagogue. Her verdict on the trip: “It was wonderful!”
Ronaldo Burger’s father Ronnie died on 3 March. News has reached us of the death of George van der Merwe, who was a parish priest and Archdeacon in East London, and more recently Chaplain to Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali here in Grahamstown. June Venn is mourning the death of her brother Spencer, and attended his funeral in Harare. Siphokazi Njokweni is helping her family to cope with the murder of a relative in Tsolo. We pray for them all, and for Luthando and Lusanda Madiba on the death of Lusanda’s uncle Roy Mthwa.
The “Easter Cantata” took place in the week before Palm Sunday. This collaboration between the choirs of the Anglican schools and the Cathedral is a musical journey through the story of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, with readings on this occasion taken from the Gospel of St Luke. There were some hundred young choristers from DSG and St Andrew’s College on the stage in the Cathedral, with more from DSG Junior School and of course the Cathedral Choir as well. The event took place on two successive evenings, and the Cathedral was packed to capacity.
On Good Friday we were led through the seven last words of Jesus from the cross by various members of the clergy and lay ministry team of the Cathedral. “Very early in the morning” on Easter Day the choir and congregation gathered on Church Square to see the Easter fire lit, while the servers were careful to ensure that the Bishop’s robes were kept well away from the flames.
Grad Weekend followed a week after Easter. Members of the Cathedral family graduating included Titi Morobi and Theo Duxbury (B Pharm), Namso Nyamelo (BSc Hons), Odifentse Lehasa (B Comm Hons in IT with distinction), Stacey Conroy (PGCE), and Monwabisi Peter and Marian Walwyn (B Ed Hons). Monwabisi had to hurry around and get up on the stage for a second time, as he also received his Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education. Dr Andrew-John Bethke attended all six graduation
ceremonies to conduct the Chamber Choir, and added to his qualifications a Masters in Composition. Congratulations to everyone!
Easter is early this year, which meant that Lent began even before Valentine’s Day. On Shrove Tuesday, 9 February, the Cathedral’s traditional pancake evening took place in St George’s Hall. A team of pancake makers were kept busy on the stage, while another team of VG girls put in fillings and served the pancakes to the eager public. Amazingly, over 740 pancakes were sold, and the profit for the Bishop’s appeal was a staggering R5,700! Congratulations to everyone.
During Lent we have had the benefit of two courses, one at the Meditation Group on “The Art of Prayer”, and the other led by Claire Nye Hunter on “Jewels from John”. This was based on her PhD thesis, and sought to explore St John’s “unique and extraordinary Gospel.”
Student ministry has got off to a good start, with twelve students joining the Core Team (the student equivalent of Parish Council) working together with the Revd Claire as their chaplain. Attendance has already reached 30 students, which is an improvement on last year. They are doing a teaching series in the evenings this term, based on St Paul’s challenge to “Be transformed by the renewal of your minds” (Romans 12:1-2). The topics are: Freedom: all things are possible but not everything is beneficial; Focus: run with a purpose; Faith that can move mountains; Finish: Never, never, never give up!
We welcome our new verger, Melikhaya Jacobs, and hope that he will be happy working at the Cathedral.
Mother Zelma has recently been to New Zealand, and Margie and Geoff Antrobus will be heading in the same direction early in March to visit their elder daughter Helen Pfister and her family.
Our prayers are asked for Joy Tandy who fell and injured her back, and for Jenny Reynolds who has not been well. Thelma Neville has suffered a cracked ankle. Jackie Shipster, Chris Mann’s sister in the UK, recently had a stroke. Julia was able to fly to her side at short notice, and Chris has thankfully been able to sort out his UK visa and follow her.
News of Gavin Staudé in Somerset West is that he had a heart attack while exercising at the gym where he works out regularly. His heart actually stopped, but due to the presence of mind and good first aid skills of some of his fellows at the gym, his life was saved and he was taken to hospital, where he had a stent fitted. He is now recovering at home. Our prayers are with him and his wife Issy.
We pray for Margaret Speckman, on the death of her mother Martha Peters, and for Canon Bill Domeris, the Chancellor of the Cathedral who is a former Warden of the College of the Transfiguration, whose wife Shona died recently. They have been living in Cove Rock, near East London, since his retirement from the College.
Congratulations to another former Rector of the College, Luke Pato, who has just been chosen as the next Bishop of Namibia.
We pray for God’s richest blessings as we approach the special season of Passiontide and Easter.
This January the Cathedral welcomes the Revd Luthando Madiba, and his wife Lusanda. Luthando has been appointed as the diocesan Media Officer and Editor of the diocesan magazine Umbuliso, to succeed Maggy Clarke who has retired, and he will be attached to the Cathedral. He trained at COTT from 2010-12, and comes to us from the Diocese of Mthatha, where he was most recently Rector of Ascension Church Ncembu, Ugie. He and Lusanda, who works at Rhodes, were married on 11 December 2015. Congratulations and every blessing on the happy pair! The Revd Claire Nye Hunter is now a full-time member of the Cathedral team, having been part-time for the past six years while lecturing part-time at COTT and completing her thesis.
Christmas brought a number of welcome visitors to family in Grahamstown. Niels and Charis Vandereyken were delighted to host both their mothers for a visit, which ended before Christmas as they wanted to be back in Belgium with their husbands for the festival. Brian Stone came up from Port Elizabeth, and AJ Bethke’s parents, Erica and Anthony, were able to attend all the Christmas services at which their son played. Among these was the second service of Lessons and Carols, on 20 December. A special moment during that service was the singing of a carol written by AJ’s grandfather, “If you listen, you’ll hear”. The congregation joined in the chorus each time, but the verses were sung by AJ with his parents. In the new year, Geoff and Margie Antrobus were thrilled to have a visit from their daughter Shirley Horan from Vancouver, Canada, together with her youngest son, 18-month old Keith.
The Cathedral Choir’s second CD, “Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs” was released just in time for Christmas, and copies can be obtained from AJ @ R50.
The Christmas Eve Crib Service with “instant” Nativity tableau is always well worth attending even if you have no children. Plenty of children arrived already dressed as requested as their “favourite Nativity character”, and listened while teenage narrators told the Christmas story in child-friendly language. At appropriate moments in the narrative each character or group was directed to join the tableau while carols were sung. This year’s big surprise was the addition of a 9-piece orchestra of young people, all dressed in Father Christmas hats, and most in shorts. They had been recruited by Nicola Hunter from Grahamstown and beyond, and really made the service go with a swing.
Warm congratulations to our 2015 Matrics. All the VG Matrics passed, which included Zimkita Ngqawana, Zusiphe Nkala and Saneliswe Tyibilika, three of our servers, and Brittany Jonklass who was last year’s Head Chorister. Saneliswe received three distinctions and is now at Pretoria University beginning her B Comm Financial Studies degree. At DSG Nicola Hunter and Ruth-Anne Graham each achieved eight distinctions in the IEB exams! We wish Nicola well as she begins her medical studies at Stellenbosch, and Ruth-Anne who has gone to the UK to spend a gap year working at a private school.
Congratulations to Marian Walwyn and the Revd Monwabisi Peters, who have both successfully completed their Bachelor of Education Honours degrees. We also congratulate Monwabisi on his appointment to St Andrew’s Prep, as Chaplain and Xhosa teacher. He continues to be attached to the Cathedral.
Ann Greybe left South Africa in early January to return to a post in Scotland. It has been good having her and David here, and we wish them well. David will be following her in April. Moving in the opposite direction, we welcome Sue Skipper who has arrived back from the UK to join her husband Michael, both in Grahamstown and in the Cathedral choir.
Although we said farewell to her at the end of 2015, the good news is that Namso Nyamela is staying on in Grahamstown, having been appointed as an intern in the Geography Department at Rhodes. We look forward to seeing more of her.
Katie Appollis, Fiona Coyne and Maggy Clarke all had spells in hospital, but give thanks that they are discharged and on the mend. Colleen Rippon thanks for everyone’s prayers during her recent illness. Her recovery was slow, but it seems she is over it.
Our sympathy and prayers go out to Sivu Citwa, one of our young servers, whose sister Lunga died in an accident.
Maggy Clarke and David Foulkes represented the Cathedral choir at the annual Royal Schools of Church Music Summer School in early January, together with David’s wife Margie. Although the Foulkes both sing in the St Paul’s choir in their home town Port Alfred, David has also made the journey to Grahamstown for practices and Cathedral choir services on many occasions. This year’s Summer School took place at a German school, Hermannsburg, in the Natal Midlands, a remote and beautiful setting. The course was directed by Noël Tredinnick, from All Souls’ Langham Place in London, whose leadership was inspiring both musically and spiritually. The organist was none other than Christopher Cockburn, for many years organist at this Cathedral, who now directs the music at St John’s Pinetown. Maggy was joined by her Johannesburg daughter Beccy Stones with her three children, who all sing in the choir at St Martin-in-the-Veld.
On 24 January the Cathedral hosted Dr Sarah Hills, Canon for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, as our preacher. The Cross of Nails which can be seen in the Lady Chapel signifies our membership of the world-wide Community of the Cross of Nails.
The 2016 school year was blessed at the annual “Back to School” service on 31 January, at which the Cathedral was packed with pupils from local schools including Nombulelo, VG, VP, Graeme, St Andrew’s, Kingswood and DSG, together with teachers and parents. Different schools and the Cathedral Choir contributed musical items, and the Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, gave an inspiring address. We pray that the commitment of all present, to ensure quality education for all, will bear fruit in the year ahead.