A warm welcome to all students, new and returning. We give thanks for a peaceful and amicable start to the Rhodes and Cape Midland College terms. The Cathedral Student Ministry has resumed, and the first series of addresses at the 7 o’clock Student Services on Sunday evenings has begun. This has the cheeky title: “God and the F…. word”, e.g. “FEEL like this is where I belong, a home from home.”
We ask God’s blessing on the Core Team, pictured here. Back (left to right): Anelisa Kelemi (worship), Ayanda Dabengwa (tea) Kepa (Kutlwano Kepadisa, worship), Ayabulela Matolweni (Advertising), Odi Lehasa (secretary). Front (left to right): Zenande Landu (Advertising), Nomvelo Masango (Fundraising), Rosa Msweli (chairperson), Rev. Dr. Claire Nye Hunter. Absent: Theo Duxbury, Zikhona Mtwa.
For the second year running, the Makana Choir School has appointed a student intern to assist with the training and mentoring of the young choristers. Kutlwano Kepadisa, always known as Kepa (see above), is a third-year student who took part in a conducting course which AJ Bethke ran last year. Happily, Anelisa Kelemi, last year’s intern, is still around to assist as well. This is a great blessing as we face the prospect of a possible interregnum when AJ leaves after Easter, before the post of Cathedral Director of Music is filled.
It was a pleasure to welcome back for another visit former Cathedral music director and organist Barbara and Wilf Stout. Although they must have been glad to escape the Scottish winter for a few weeks, they were not exactly on holiday, as they were kept busy emptying their Grahamstown house so that it can be let or sold. They succeeded in this task, and left town on 21 February, but they have assured us that they will come back and see us again. Another welcome overseas visitor was Cathy and Patrick Pringle’s daughter Janet, with her partner Mark, from India. Patience Osadebe, a visiting academic from Nigeria, and widow of a Canon of the Anglican Church, has been worshipping with us while she is working at Rhodes Pharmacy Department for a month.
After six years studying at Rhodes, Faith Magwenzi has handed in her Masters thesis, and departed to take up a post in Johannesburg. We wish God’s blessing on her move, and in her new job.
Deepest sympathy to Alfonso and Raquel Michaels, on the sudden death of their twelve-year-old daughter Alanah. She apparently died as the result of a diabetic episode (type 1 diabetes). We also pray for Siphokazi Njokweni, whose aunt died on 27 December, and remember with thanksgiving the life of former organist at this Cathedral, Ivan Kilian.
Andrew Tracey was admitted to hospital in Port Elizabeth recently after an episode which left him temporarily unable to speak. We give thanks that he was soon able to speak (and sing) again, and was fit enough to be discharged a few days later. We pray for his full recovery, and for Audrey Holmes, who has been having severe pain in her knee since falling at home in St Luke’s.
On 23 February AJ Bethke gave an organ recital, this time not on the Cathedral organ, but on the newly restored instrument in Commemoration Methodist Church. As that organ was designed and
built in the Romantic period, AJ’s choices of music were mainly in that style, featuring composers such Guilmant and Mendelssohn, and ending with the ever-popular Toccata from Widor’s 5th Symphony. What a treat!
The Cathedral bells have been silent recently due to a sad lack of ringers. By contrast on the afternoon of Saturday 25 February, all ten of them were to be heard, courtesy of a band of ringers from England. They were taking part in a tour which included peals on all the ringable bells in New Zealand and Australia before proceeding to South Africa and Zimbabwe. The peal was streamed live on the internet, so Colin Lewis, who was instrumental in the restoration of Grahamstown Cathedral’s bells, and who inspired a wonderful revival of enthusiasm for bell-ringing here, was able to listen to them from his home in Wales. He wrote: click here.
The majority of South Africans feel deeply concerned for the state of our beloved country, whether we think of education, finances, or the quality of governance. United Prayer for South Africa (Up4SA), a country-wide initiative of Christians from many denominations, organised prayer services to take place simultaneously all over the country on the afternoon of Sunday 26 February. The Cathedral hosted the Grahamstown service, which was attended by a relatively small but diverse group of Christians.
Later the same evening there was a Choral Evensong with a difference, celebrating the life and works of George Herbert, an English poet-priest who died in 1632. Some of his devotional poems were read, and others sung because they are favourite hymns, like “Teach me, my God and King”. One, “The Call”, was sung as an anthem by the choir to a setting by AJ Bethke. If any of those present wondered why some members of the choir went bare-foot, the explanation is that they had been finding it difficult to remember the rule “black (or brown) shoes in the sanctuary”. An ingenious new amendment to the rule was introduced on 26 February: “black (or brown) shoes – or nothing on your feet….” Even some of the adults were caught out.
People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or as comments to this blog.