People and Places, November 2016

nov-fairCongratulations to Marian Jayes and all the many people involved in the St George’s Fair. Despite drizzly weather, parishioners and public came together to enjoy everything on offer from pancakes to knitwear, from cabbages to cakes and white elephants to face-painting – and much more! Over R26,000 was raised. Well done!

nov-rowanGrahamstown Cathedral was privileged to be on the itinerary of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, during his visit to South Africa. His current title (as a member of the UK’s House of Lords) is “Baron Williams of Oystermouth”. A special service of Choral Evensong took place on a Tuesday evening, 25 October, at which the distinguished visitor preached. His address, which started with him quoting a recent headline: “Why is everyone so angry?” was brilliant and topical, addressing the feelings at the root of the student unrest at Rhodes and elsewhere in South Africa. He spoke entirely off the cuff, which resulted in disappointment for members of the congregation who requested a copy of his sermon. Members of the Cathedral Choir were encouraged to hear him say to them at the door “You are a good choir” – high praise indeed from one who has heard so many great choirs, and a Welshman to boot.

nov-choir-concertThat was just the beginning of a memorable musical week. Next came the Cathedral Choir’s annual concert, this year entitled “A Light to Lighten all Nations”, and then there was the moving evening Sung Eucharist for All Souls on 30 October, which included AJ Bethke’s beautiful “Little Requiem”.

Four new choristers were admitted to the choir and vested in their robes at Cathedral services during October, having served their period of probation. Congratulations to Indivile Vili (VG), Liyema Bobotyani (VP), and Liqhame Beja and Lelami Ngoqo (Graeme College). We give thanks for their talents and dedication, and pray for blessings on them as they sing to the glory of the Lord.

The finances of Eluxolweni, home to the former street children who attend the Cathedral, have been under severe pressure recently. Jane Bradshaw testified at the morning service on Sunday 30 October that the situation had become so bad that one month the staff were only able to receive one third of their salaries, and the next month none at all. At that point in answer to fervent prayers, there appeared within three days three very large donations, one from a private donor in England in response to a phone call from Jane of R90,000, and another of £2,500. Bubbling with excitement at the way the Lord had provided, Jane explained that these sums would ensure that Eluxolweni’s debts would be paid, and their expenses covered, right up to the end of January.

Congratulations to Yoliswa Dongwana and the marimba band of Amasango Career School on winning the Arts Exhibition Competition, an annual provincial event hosted by the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape. The band competed with other groups at the first cluster level which took place in the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage area in August, and the finals took place in the Orient Theatre in East London on 23 September. This is the second time in three years that this band, started by Penny Whitford, came first in this competition.

The Rhodes University Chamber Choir, conducted like the Cathedral Choir by AJ Bethke, greatly enjoyed their visit to Cape Town for the semi-finals of “Varsity Sing”, the KykNet competition. The choirs which progressed from this round to the finals were NMMU and Stellenbosch, and Stellenbosch emerged the eventual winner, but it was a credit to RUCC that they did so well against choirs which were generally twice their size.

One of our Cathedral student group, Anna Talbot, has been named Student Volunteer of the Year by Rhodes University Community Engagement. Congratulations to her on this recognition of her hard work and dedication in starting and running a Cub Pack at St Mary’s School. Her citation mentioned her ability to liaise with school staff, the national scout movement and the RUCE office, and the fact that she had trained volunteers to take over in 2017.

On 30 October we said farewell to our eight College of the Transfiguration students, who had done their pastoral practice for 2016 at the Cathedral. Some are continuing their studies, others returning to their Dioceses for ordination. We wish them well in their ministry ahead.

Chris Mann and Julia Skeen gave a repeat performance in the Cathedral of “Anxiety and Grace” which combines Chris’s words and music with Julia’s visual art. This work was offered during the 2016 Festival, and has been “on tour” in KwaZulu-Natal.

Prayers and sympathy to Peter Breetzke, whose brother Raymond died suddenly of a heart attack in Cape Town last month.

We pray for our parish secretary Chris Walwyn, undergoing surgery at the beginning of November. While Chris is on sick leave, we are grateful to parishioner Lou-Anne Liebenberg for volunteering to assist in the office. Chris has announced that he will be retiring as parish secretary at the end of the year. His contribution in the office has been enormously appreciated.

Prayers and good wishes go to all students and matrics writing their exams under trying circumstances at this time.

People and Places is compiled by Maggy Clarke, Please send items of news to her at:, or as comments to this blog.

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