Chris

Memorial service for Akeem Lawal: Saturday 11th June 2016

June 13, 2016 in Dean's Blog

Akeem LawalAkeem was a familiar face in the Cathedral Office and on Friday mornings and he became the focus of considerable support following renal failure, the need for regular dialysis and the plan to get a kidney transplant. Fund-raising events not only raised money, but brought people who would not have known one another in the normal course of life together: from Nigeria, and the African continent, Asia, America and Europe. Once sufficient funds had been raised he went to India in preparation for a kidney transplant; his sister, who was to be a donor was to follow but very sadly he died of heart failure in India before his sister arrived.

His Memorial service at the Cathedral also brought a breadth of people together from “his family in Bahrain.” Several people reflected briefly on his life, Fozia, our Administrator, and Esther from Kenya, who organized an early fund-raising event, read Bible passages and Jon Lavelle who had co-ordinated fund-raising for Akeem, preached reflecting particularly on the experience of Job and the mystery of suffering, but also highlighting the vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, from which people from every nation were drawn into. Pastor Joshua, from a Nigerian church community, led some prayers and the President of Nigerians in Bahrain thanked all who had given Akeem support, both individuals and organizations. Perhaps the most moving part of the service was the singing, without accompaniment, of How great Thou art.

 

Chris

The Refugee Crisis: Sunday 12th June 2016

June 13, 2016 in Dean's Blog

We had a lively discussion among a group of migrants – (how often Angie Thadanido we think ourselves as that?) – at the Living Room Dialogue with Angie Thadani, who set about debunking a number of myths concerning migration and the refugee crisis. She pointed out that the levels of migration worldwide have remained fairly static at about 3% of the world’s population for many years, though as population increases this is a growing number of people.

  • She highlighted the fact that the current refugee crisis is more a Middle Eastern European problem than a European one, as Lebanon and Jordan and Turkey have received the lion’s share of refugee settlers.
  • She said that migrants do not, on the whole, take jobs away from nationals, but often regenerate the economy in countries with ageing populations.
  • Investment to reduce levels of poverty and improve economic conditions does not discourage migration, but rather increases levels of mobility and creates aspirations. Those who are migrating currently are not the poorest; they have funds to pay the smugglers.
  • Migrants should not be regarded as Islamic extremists; they are often fleeing from countries or regions where Islamic extremists have taken control. The problem is often the reverse: extremists from Europe and North Africa heading to these contries and regions to fight.

A very stimulating and thought-provoking evening. We ended in prayer: for a compassionate heart for all who are so needy and a recognition that each one has dignity as those made in the image of God.

Chris

Baptism, Confirmation and Dedication of the Cathedral’s altar array: Friday 10th June 2016

June 13, 2016 in Dean's Blog

Baptism, Confirmation and DedicationFriday morning was a very special service: the Baptism of Tim and Vickie and their 17 month old Patrick and Confirmation of Tim and Vickie, John serving with the Royal Navy here and young people from both the English-speaking and Tamil-speaking congregations: Alisha, Andrea, Ann, Annie, Abigail, Andrew, Ahaan, Valentine and Victor. This was my first experience of the baptism and confirmation of a family and having spent many weeks in their home leading a Christian Foundations group, it was a special joy. It was a joy to welcome grandparents too from France and India. It was a joy to welcome Jon Lavelle, who’d stayed on after the Clergy and Spouses Day, for the Confirmation Service and to present the young people from the English-speaking congregation whom he had prepared for confirmation.

Baptism, Confirmation and DedicationIf baptisms and confirmations were not enough, Bishop Michael also dedicated the Baptism, Confirmation and Dedicationnew altar array that had been designed and painted onto silk by the Rev’d Deborah Chapman and sewed onto cotton sheet backing by Julie Donelly and Angela Murray. It is wonderful to see the fruits of Deborah’s creative design incorporating rich biblical themes and rooting them so firmly in the history and culture of Bahrain. From a distance you see the swirl of a galaxy, such as you can see on a clear night, away from artificial light, in the desert areas of Bahrain, but when you look closely there is so much fascinating detail to be discovered. We are privileged to have such a beautiful work in St Christopher’s Cathedral – one that will inspire wonder – and I am so grateful to Deborah for offering so much time and her creative skills to the Cathedral and also to Angela Murray and Julie Donnelly, who have given their sewing skills and time to back the designs onto cotton sheets for the altar, the lectern and pulpit.

After the conclusion of a memorable service, the candidates and clergy gathered for a group photo with Bishop Michael at the entrance to the Cathedral

Baptism, Confirmation and Dedication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris

Gulf Clergy and Spouses Day: Wednesday 8th June 2016

June 13, 2016 in Dean's Blog

On Tuesday 7th June twenty-two Gulf clergy and some spouses arrived in Bahrain for a day together the next day. I am extremely grateful for those within the Awali and cathedral congregations who Gulf Clergy and Spouses Dayoffered to provide dinner bed and breakfast and to transport our guests from and to the airport and into the Cathedral. We began the day with a Holy Communion in the Cathedral and then spent the day based in our home. The Rev’ds John and Deborah Chapman led us in two sessions in the morning on the theme Building a Rhythm of Prayer into our lives and ministries, speaking out of their own practice and experience, drawing particularly from the Benedictine rule which encourages “finding God in the ordinary.” Deborah has several songs on her i-pad that play on the hours of 9am, 12 noon, 6pm and 9pm that help her build a rhythm of prayer. After Evening Prayer back in the Cathedral, we all went out for an iftar meal at Passion Restaurant in Adliya and Bishop Michael who’d arrived on the late afternoon flight from Cyprus joined us for his birthday celebration. Many of us enjoyed the manager, Monika’s teas. She is the only Tea Master in the Middle East  and introduced us to several cold and hot teas.

Friday Club-led service: Friday 3rd June 2013

June 13, 2016 in Dean's Blog

Friday Club-led serviceI returned on Thursday evening for the Friday Club-led service which has become an annual event in the Cathedral – the only part that I Friday Club-led servicewas involved with were the notices. There were many highlights, but Angel leading the youngsters in a gospel rap was terrific and the concluding dance to Jesus put this song into our hearts, which our organist Sharon had taught the young people to do, was a wonderfully joyful conclusion to the service. We are blessed with an enthusiastic bunch of children and leaders who are able to draw the best from them.