Saturday, February 26, 2011


     Today (Sunday 27 February 2011) the Church commemorates George Herbert, priest and poet who died in 1633. The words of all the hymns and today’s motet are by this remarkable Anglican cleric. From a noble and wealthy family, Herbert forsook the opportunity for academic success and popularity at court, in order to take up parish ministry as an Anglican priest. Although he only had a short ministry he is held up as the model pastor. He loved the people of his little parish of Bemerton, just outside Salisbury. His hymns, his poems and other writings are so very Anglican and express the middle way. For many Anglican priests he is their hero and their exemplar. His contemporary Richard Baxter wrote of him, “heart-work and heaven-work make up his books”. We give   thanks for George Herbert and enjoy the beauty and the prayerfulness of his hymns today.
Hymns: AMR nos. 337 Teach me, my God and King, 178 The God of love my Shepherd is, 367 King of glory, King of peace, 375 Let all the world in every corner sing. Motet The call, set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

* TO LISTEN TO THE SERMON by the Dean, the Very Revd Fr Simon Aiken, 16 January 2011, go to the BLOG ARCHIVE (to the right of your screen) and click on "January" and then select (click again on) "Sermon by the Dean..." OR follow this link:

     Lent is just around the corner and in fact Ash Wednesday is on 9 March. There will be a said Mass at 6:00 a.m. and a sung Mass at 6:00 p.m. that day. The imposition of ashes will be available at both services. Further Wednesdays in Lent up to Palm Sunday will see a Mass at 9:00 a.m. together with readings from spiritual writers. On Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. the Cathedral Parish is invited to enrol in a course of study and discussion surrounding the Sacrament of Baptism. This will take the form of a presentation and discussion in the Cathedral ending by 7:30 p.m. When we get to Holy Week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will see a said Mass at 7:00 p.m. in the evening, Maundy Thursday will see the traditional foot-washing and other ceremonies of the evening Mass beginning at 7:00 p.m. Good Friday will see an exciting development with our Junior Church presenting a whole day’s programme of special activities for young people – watch this space for further details. For the rest of us the Stations of the Cross will be prayed at 12 noon and the Liturgy of the Day will begin at 1:30. The sacrament of Baptism and the Easter Ceremonies will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Holy Saturday and the Festal Mass for Easter will be at 8:30 a.m. on Easter Day itself. There is a lot for us to prepare and be busy with and I am grateful to priestly colleagues and the many, many lay people who assist in preparing and presenting our liturgical life. They will all have their work cut out and I know will contribute generously and joyfully to our observance of Lent, Holy Week and Easter. Sundays in Lent will have the usual Cathedral Mass at 8:30 a.m. and Stations of the Cross at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Dean Writes:

     “… In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”  Words from a familiar hymn to most of us, and the hymn which I believe to most strongly communicate our resurrection faith. Not, in fact, to be restricted to funeral services but actually any occasion when we wish to sing of our hope through death in God’s  eternal love and power for us. (See Hymn AMR 27).
     In our African context we are richly blessed in many different cultural and domestic approaches to death. It is part of the richness we enjoy. There seems to be particular variation in how we view the body of the deceased person at the time of death and leading up to the funeral. For some people the body is quite rightly taken care of by the funeral director and is only brought out for the funeral service. For others it is important that great ceremony is made of the body being brought home the night before the funeral, and prayer and liturgy focussing around that arrival and through the night form an important preparation for the funeral service proper. Yet others take great comfort in the body of the deceased person being received into church the night before the funeral service where it can “rest in state” in the Holy Place, the place where, in life, the deceased person has come close to God and been united to Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
     All of these different approaches in fact are represented in the long history of Christianity. But from very early times the night before the funeral has been seen as a pastorally and emotionally special, significant and sensitive time. The fact that death touches us all in different ways simply reinforces the fact that there needs to be a great variety of approach when it comes to observing this special time.
     Here at the Cathedral all the Clergy are committed to servicing the special, unique and individual needs of families who are bereaved. There is certainly not a case of “one size fits all” and we are all committed to coming close to the family and discussing their particular and special needs to observe the parting of their dear ones and celebrating our common faith in Christ’s victory over sin and death and opening up the way to eternity for us all.
     Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

* TO LISTEN TO THE SERMON by the Dean, the Very Revd Fr Simon Aiken, 16 January 2011, go to the BLOG ARCHIVE (to the right of your screen) and click on "January" and then select (click again on) "Sermon by the Dean..."

A note in Commemoration of Mother Cecile of Grahamstown (1906)

Cecile Isherwood, born in England in 1861, went to South Africa to work in the Diocese of Grahamstown in 1883. At the request of the Bishop, Allan Becher Webb, she founded a sisterhood, The Community of The Resurrection of Our Lord. Its focus was education and social work. Mother Cecile led this community until her death, at the early age of forty-four, on 20 February 1906. She had also founded a training college for teachers, schools, orphanages and missions. 

St Cyprian's Grammar School Contact Details:

Tel 053-8315066  Fax 0867509960 
P.O. Box 10139, Beaconsfield 8315

Sunday, February 6, 2011

6 February 2011: To be salt and light

Today's Gospel, St Matthew 5:13-16, which bids us to be salt and light in the world, prompts us to ponder what God desires to manifest through us, and to wrestle with what hinders this.

We pray for the faithful departed: Sakkie Bredenkamp, Drydon Goliath, Michael Oliver, Noeleen Marthinus and Canon Dan Peters' son, Daniel. Fr Dan was to have preached in the Cathedral this morning. Bishop Patrick Matolengwe stepped in at short notice and delivered an inspired sermon on the theme of today's Gospel reading.

* TO LISTEN TO THE SERMON by the Dean, the Very Revd Fr Simon Aiken, 16 January 2011, go to the BLOG ARCHIVE (to the right of your screen) and click on "January" and then select (click again on) "Sermon by the Dean..."