Grahamstown

Dean’s Letter, Sunday 30 April

Dear Cathedral family

We congratulate all our graduates and their families, who celebrated their achievements at the Rhodes graduation ceremonies this past weekend (20th – 22nd April). Grad is such a special occasion to give thanks, to meet up with former students, to meet their families. Claire and I were sorry not to be here!

Saturday 22nd April was also the huge “It’s Time” gathering of Christians from all over SA, at Bloemfontein, under the leadership and inspiration of Angus Buchan. By all reports, it was a time of prayer, intercession, repentance, and recommitment to Christ as Lord of our lives and of all life; and particularly praying for the Lord’s blessing on our country at this particular time in our national life. We continue to be in crisis, with an urgent need for transformation and change amongst our top political leadership. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, in his Easter sermon in Cape Town, began with the following sobering and solemn words:

“We come to this Easter Sunday, to this open tomb, with the dark reality of our country very much at the forefront of our minds. Over these Lenten days we have come to the lowest point in our political life. Like many, I feel that the dream of South Africa sometimes feels more like a nightmare, a prolonged Passiontide, so to speak. Personal interests, corruption, private gain, entitlement, a vicious contempt for the poor and the common good, a culture of blatant lies and cronyism—and possibly worse—dominate our public landscape.

This past week, the nightmare got worse as the full impact of the President’s recent actions unfolded. They have devastated our hopes for the kind of foreign investment which we desperately need to grow our economy and create new jobs. Their impact on consumer confidence and trust is immeasurable. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly affected by just a 10 percent drop in consumer confidence. If we cannot turn the situation around, at end of the road we are now on, we face the prospect of employees fired; shops shuttering; malls closing; the poor unable to afford bread, paraffin, electricity and the cost of burials; possible hyperinflation—it is as if we are entering the Zimbabwe moment.”[1]                

                He pointed us to the resurrection of Christ as the sign of hope for us all, and urged us all to “Be not afraid, go and tell” of the good news, the resurrection narrative of new life and new possibilities; to “live resurrection lives and … announce a new moment in history.”

May this be so, for you and me, for us all! Let us continue to pray for our country, and for all in authority.

Thank you very much for the Easter offering (your annual, personal gift to the Dean), which has reached me. By custom, this is the cash collection (not the pledges) on Easter Day, rather than special envelopes. I am grateful to you all for your love and support.

[1] Archbishop Thabo’s sermon for the Easter Vigil, 15th April 2017