People and Places, May 2016

Claire Grad with Bill
Dr Claire Nye Hunter with her supervisor Dr Bill Domeris

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.

Isaias, Paddy, Andrew
CR Chaplain Isaias Chachine and Bishop Paddy Glover with Andrew Tracey

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.

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.

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.

MU BannerWe 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.

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

People and Places, April 2016

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.

Cathedral students enjoying Assegaai Trails
Cathedral students enjoying Assegaai Trails.

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.

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.

Peter and Ann Stockwell enjoyed a visit from their son Andrew, who is based in London.

Former Cathedral Dean Chich Hewitt, Daphne Rink and her daughter Gill at the Taj Mahal
Chich Hewitt, Daphne Rink and her daughter Gill at the Taj Mahal, Agra, India.

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!”

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.

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.

The New Fire ceremony on Easter morning
The New Fire ceremony on Easter morning.

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.

Happy graduates: A-J Bethke and Marian Walwyn.
Happy graduates: A-J Bethke and Marian Walwyn.

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!