Extracts from a letter from Miss Jones – Christmas 1915

DIOCESAN SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, GRAHAMSTOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, November 4th, 1915,

To-day it is 101 on the front stoep in the shade, so you must make one letter do.

We have had our Synod of Bishops here in Grahamstown. There is an annual meeting of all the S.A. Bishops, and as we had a new Bishop to be consecrated they all came here this year. The Consecration was last Sunday. It was a wonderful service, and all the arrangements were excellent. Of course in a Cathedral everyone can’t see everything. This choir is long and narrow, and the choir screen is high. The D.S.G. were given seats in the gallery, and I never saw a thing except the tips of one or two pastoral staffs and mitres in the procession. Fifteen Bishops were there, and I have seen them since in all their gorgeous copes and mitres and all with their Chaplains. Clergy were there too from all over Africa, but of course many could not come because only few clergy out here have curates. The music was quite good-the service most impressive. The Cathedral was crowded; everyone loves the new Bishop. He came out six years ago to be Warden of a Community of Sisters. Here is one instance of his ready sympathy. The night before his Consecration was our little D.S.G.’s annual festal evensong, and clergy from the town generally come, and he actually came, though the Archbishop and another Bishop were staying with him. On Monday he was enthroned, another beautiful service. I saw the procession of that; the Bishops do look fine, and are a peculiarly big set of men, especially Bishop Purse, who is 6ft. 4in. Bishop Gaul is a little wee man; he led the procession and went gaily marching out of the west door! A layman went after him and headed him off to the north aisle. Out he rushed to the north door! “Where is the aisle?” It was full of chairs, but they did proceed down it and everybody had a good look at them.

In the evening we had an At Home at the D.S.G. I marvel at my own temerity, but I thought it would do the school good, so I asked Bishops and clergy, parents and Council and wives, hosts and hostesses, and Old Girls. I simply loved it, and so did everybody. I went to the steps to welcome our new Bishop, and the girls lined up and cheered. Crowds came. I shook hands and they all talked, and there were not too many, and everybody knew everybody, and they were all greeting one another. The Archbishop asked to speak to me, and said’ he felt he could do something about getting us money to build, and would talk it over with the other Bishops.

There was a Special Service at St. Andrew’s on Sunday, and I went to hear Bishop Purse. He was wonderful on the War. All the boys, about, 160 or 170, sat as still as mice drinking it in. He spoke of the absolute worth of the war to uphold truth on the earth; that we were fighting for a right set of values, a right idea against a wrong idea; he told of the true happiness at the front, because every man there had made the supreme sacrifice and had given his all unreservedly, and that that was the only security of happinese. Then he told the boys to pray, and he said, “Don’t you know that prayer sends a reinforcement of strength into them there? If they are braver and more courageous and enduring it is our prayers that make them so.” He came to-day to our school prayers, and was just as wonderful as at S. Andrew’s. He left behind with us four counsels: (1 ) Economise, and give what money you can to the war. (2) Pray. (3) Work hard at all your school work. (4) Never grumble, and give, give, give yourself for other people always and never think of yourself. It has all been very inspiring.

E.E. JONES.

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