People and Places, October 2015

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!

“People and Places” is compiled by Maggy Clarke. Contributions can be sent to her at mjclarke@imaginet.co.za, or as comments to this blog.