This year people were quick to notice that Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day. Suggestions appeared on Facebook of customised Valentine cards, including: “Won’t you be my Valentine, you miserable offender” and “Remember you are dust but awfully lovable dust”! But our traditional evening of Shrove Tuesday pancakes on 13 February was an ideal occasion to spread a little love. The team led by Sally Terry outdid themselves, and the final sum raised for the Bishop’s Appeal for Training for Ministries was in the region of R6,900. Sally expressed thanks to the cooks, the fillers of pancakes, and all those parishioners whose donations in advance ensured that almost all the takings were profit. An amazing total of 750 pancakes were made, and those who sat down to eat enjoyed a delightful evening with friends.
A warm welcome to all new arrivals at the Cathedral, including new students. We hope you will feel very much at home. We welcome back Matthew Jennings, Cathy Euijen’s son, who has returned from a gap year and is beginning his studies at Rhodes. Also most welcome are all the returning students. Among those is Asakhe Cuntsulana, leader of our marimba band, and it is exciting to hear them in action again. The junior choristers are now to be heard again at alternate morning and evening services, conducted by Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa). The Choral Evensong on 11 February was a special commemoration of George Herbert, at which Prof Paul Walters gave an informative address about Herbert, and two hymn settings of his poems were sung. There were also anthems to George Herbert’s words by two of our past Music Directors: ‘Bitter-Sweet’ by Christopher Cockburn, and ‘The Call’ by A-J Bethke. At the Ash Wednesday evening Eucharist the choir sang the famous ‘Miserere’ by Allegri.
Our Director of Music designate, Cameron Luke, continues to keep in touch from the UK as he battles to obtain his essential visa to work here. He assures us that he really wants to be with us! In the meantime, it is a great joy that in answer to prayer Markus Mostert has joined us as temporary organist, and is able to play for almost all our services. The Dean ‘discovered’ him playing the organ for the Back to School service at Commem. His contribution is being enthusiastically received by the congregation – many thanks, Markus!
The Dean was recently taken up the Cathedral tower by Prof Richard Grant, to see the workings of the Cathedral clock. It was installed in the old tower in 1873, and re-installed after the present tower was built, in 1879. The clock is now operated using electricity, rather than a clockwork mechanism. People who have been involved in its maintenance include Richard Grant himself (for some 30 years), Wayne and Jonathan Jayes, and Ian Meiklejohn. The story of the clock can be read on the Cathedral website.
On 4 February Thelma Neville died in Brookshaw HomeoH, at the remarkable age of 101. Her funeral on 17 February was planned in advance by Claire Nye Hunter and Thelma herself, in meticulous detail down to the colour of Claire’s clerical shirt (it had to be pink.) It was a fitting send-off for this feisty journalist and devoted Cathedral parishioner. The one Tribute which Thelma allowed, was at her request by Nickie Turner, daughter of her old friend Richard Buckland. Claire preached the Sermon, apologising at the end that she had exceeded Thelma’s customary time-limit of 10 minutes! Both tribute and sermon can be read on our website.
Another notable character who died recently was Dean Andrew’s uncle, Clive Ryneveld, who died in Cape Town. Not many people manage to play rugby for England as well as cricket for South Africa. In addition he was a lawyer and a Member of Parliament, one of the group of United Party MPs who broke away, with Helen Suzman, to form the Progressive Party. Geoff Antrobus’ mother Sheila died on 31 January in Kenton-on-Sea. The Sub-Dean Mzinzisi Dyantyi’s aunt died, as well as an aunt of Nceba January, Ronaldo Burger’s uncle Ian Nelson, and Vernon Woods, a relative of Jeanette Hodgson. We give thanks for their lives, and pray for all their families. We also continue to pray for Isabel Bridger who has had a long spell in hospital, and is now recovering at home.
Revd Claire with Rosa
The Hunters and Bishop Moses
Dean Andrew and Claire travelled to Queenstown to attend the Consecration and Installation of Moses Madywabe, a former priest of this Diocese, as the second Bishop of Khahlamba, on 22 February. At the request of the Archbishop, Claire led the Bishop-elect’s five day retreat here at the CR Sisters’, and was the preacher at the consecration. They were happy to meet up with Rosa Msweli, last year’s chairperson of our Cathedral Student Ministry team, whose home is in Queenstown.
People and Places, February 2018
Best wishes for special blessings in 2018! In this edition of ‘People and Places’ we look back over December and January, the traditionally quiet period in the life of Grahamstown, when exams are over, and schools, COTT and Rhodes are on holiday.During 2017 the choir anthems were from time to time accompanied on the piano by a 14-year-old Graeme College boy, one of our choristers, Bayanda Mthetho. He only started learning the piano when he was eleven, but he has already passed Grade 7. In 2016 he began organ lessons with AJ Bethke, but these unfortunately had to stop when AJ left after Easter. Later last year the committee of the Makana Choir School put out an appeal on the Cathedral website for someone to sponsor Bayanda to have organ lessons with Jovan Heynsen, a music specialist on the staff of St Andrew’s College and DSG. To everyone’s great delight an anonymous donor responded, and offered to pay for six months’ organ lessons. And then, to add to the joy, the family of the donor offered to match the sum, so Bayanda’s organ lessons are covered for the whole of 2018! Read a message from the family here. Anyone who attended the Midnight Mass or the Christmas morning Eucharist at the Cathedral, will have heard Bayanda playing the organ.
The junior members of the choir were on holiday, but evening services continued in December, with a Taizé service on the first Sunday, followed by a Lucernarium, and then a second Carol Service for which Stephen Holder played the accompaniment. The children’s Crib Service on Christmas Eve is growing in popularity. People from other congregations, and out of town visitors, brought their children to enjoy the fun of dressing up as Nativity characters and hear the story (as written by Canon Claire) beautifully narrated by sisters Tyreece and Tristyn Burger. Adults whose children were not present still came along! Thanks to Nicola Hunter there was another delightful ad hoc orchestra to accompany the carols: piano, flute, clarinet, oboe, cello and three violins. The flautist was Dorothy Holder, a welcome visitor from Cape Town.
Other visitors earlier in December were Rod and Jenny Walsh, also from Cape Town. Rod, a retired but very active priest, looked after the Cathedral on more than one occasion when Dean Andrew Hunter was away studying for his Masters in 2011. Aphiwe Mame has made a welcome but brief reappearance in the Cathedral Choir during the vacation, before he returns to UCT to begin his Honours in Journalism.
Waiting for Graduation in Durham, England.
After Christmas Paul and June Walters travelled to the UK to attend the graduation of their son Charles with his Masters in Theology from Durham University. The ceremony was held in the ancient and beautiful Cathedral. Charles told them that he found the Durham people specially warm, but the same could not be said for the temperature: it was 5° when they were queuing from 8 – 9:30 a.m. to enter the Cathedral!
Shocking news from the Jayes family in Tongaat, KZN, is that Wayne, Marian and Jonathan were held up at gunpoint in their home on 9 January, tied up and robbed. Marian’s car was stolen, but was later recovered. We give thanks that they survived this ordeal, and pray for their recovery after this traumatic incident. Lou-Anne and Lyndon Liebenberg were involved in a car accident in December. We give thanks that they escaped without serious injury. Peter Breetzke was less fortunate when he fell just before Christmas and broke his wrist quite badly. He expects the plaster to be taken off at the end of January, after which he will need physiotherapy before he can drive again. Prayers are asked for his complete recovery. We pray for Dean Andrew, whose uncle Michael Gainsborough died in the UK in December, and for our Music Director-designate, Cameron Luke, on the death of his father in January.
We are grateful for the assistance of a number of musicians who have played for Cathedral services while we await Cameron’s arrival. Recently we have had John Jackson playing the piano, Penny Whitford on piano with Claire Nye Hunter on violin – and on 21 January it was a treat to hear Christopher Cockburn on the organ again! A former Director of Music at the Cathedral, he left 15 years ago to take up a lecturing post in the music department of UKZN.
Congratulations to Kutlwano Kepadisa (Kepa) and his choir Kwantu. They have received sponsorship which will enable them to take part in the World Choir Games in Pretoria in July. They thank their friends, supporters and families for their assistance with fund raising, their thoughts and prayers. We wish them well as they begin the process of preparation. Congratulations to Onwaba and Abongile Dongwana on their return from circumcision school, and on their success in Matric. Onwaba will be going to Rhodes, and Abongile to UCT to study commerce. Other matriculants included Cwayita Bam, who will be starting at NMMU this year to study law, and Graeme College boys from the Cathedral choir Sixolile Lamani and Sivu Ngqiyaza. Hlumela Maqwili, who is now in Matric at DSG, has been chosen as one of this year’s Prefects. Congratulations and best wishes to them all in their further studies.
Clergy involved in the Back to School service: Canon Claire, Dean Andrew, Revd Boitumelo Gaborone (preacher, Trinity Presbyterian), Vuyokazi May (Commemoration Methodist), Revd Tim Marshall (Kingswood Chaplain) with Paul Guthrie, Kingswood Senior School Headmaster.
Last year the Cathedral Student Ministry said farewell to a number of graduating students. These included Chairperson, Rosa Msweli (also Children’s Church teacher), Noxolo Kheswa (Honours), Teyla de Ricquebourg (B Pharm) ,Odi Lehasa, Theo Duxbury and Lesley Bloy (Masters Degrees). They will all be greatly missed. The good news is that Theo will be back at Rhodes this year to continue with a PhD in Pharmacy. Namso Nyamela is soon to complete her Masters, and has started working in Gauteng.
The annual ecumenical Back to School Service took place in a packed Commemoration Methodist Church on Sunday 28 January. The youngsters were entertained and inspired by the sermon from Revd Boitumelo Gaborone of Trinity Presbyterian Church. Among the choirs which sang were the Cathedral Choir Juniors together with Kingswood College Choir, conducted by Kepa.
The following story is an illustration of the truth that when we pray, sometimes God says, Yes, sometimes No – and sometimes “Wait, I have something better for you!” Since leaving us after Easter, AJ Bethke has been living with his parents in Cape Town. His research fellowship ran until the end of October. In the meantime he applied for a number of posts both in South Africa and overseas without any immediate results, and kept praying for the right way forward to open up for him. Unemployed from the beginning of November, he signed up for a course in teaching English as a foreign language, and began to volunteer at a local Home for babies. Then, suddenly in December, doors began to open in amazing ways. AJ was offered TWO posts at South African universities, the second of which he accepted: Lecturing in Music Theory at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, based in Durban, to start on 15 January. But a more astonishing and wonderful gift was in store for him – he had the opportunity to fulfil his dearest wish and adopt a little one from the babies’ home where he was volunteering. Little Caleb was born on 20 April 2016, and had been “looking for a home since he was born”. AJ says “He has been in a wonderful environment at the safe house with loving house parents and nursing staff.” On 20 December Caleb moved into the Bethke home, and quickly settled in. AJ’s mother Erica drove up with him and Caleb to Durban over the weekend of 13 – 14 January, and they spent one night in Grahamstown with Maggy Clarke. They had to hurry off the following morning, but just managed to greet a few people at the Cathedral before the 8:30 service. AJ is a radiantly happy new father, and Caleb obviously adores him. We rejoice with them, and pray for them in the future.