Chris

Maundy Thursday – Easter Day

April 16, 2015 in Dean's Blog

Our musicians have done us proud for the services over this busy period and for most of them we have had both organ and piano, so a big thank you to Jill, Constance, Tricia and Sharon who have given so much over these days and so enriched our worship. Bishop Michael celebrated and preached at the Holy Communion and Footwashing on Maundy Thursday, the Three Hours on Good Friday, for which Bishop Michael took the SevenLast Words of the Cross to explore, the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening, and the Tamil Dawn Communion Service and at Maundy Thursday - Easter Day11.30am Maundy Thursday - Easter DayHoly Communion on Easter Day. In addition to these we had a very well attended Good Friday Service following through in Story, dramatic action and movement to different parts of the compound the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life. Particularly effective was the Courtroom drama with several of the congregation acting as the crowd calling for Jesus’ death and four of the Manama singers under their Director sang God so loved the world from Stainer’s Crucifixion which concluded the service was a moving end to the service. At the Easter Vigil service I baptized little Elva Frances Zeverona, a reminder to all of our own baptisms before we renewed our baptism vows. Tricia and I attended the Dawn Ecumenical Service on Easter morning at the National Evangelical Church, always a very popular occasion before many people have to head off for work, and was invited to pray for world peace before heading off to Awali for the 9.30am service with Jon, returning just in time for the 11am Easter egg hunt in our garden and 11.30am service in the Cathedral: lots of children attending, which was lovely. I presented Bishop MichaelMaundy Thursday - Easter Day with a Bahraini fish plate as a token of our appreciation of his leading and teaching over the week and he responded by saying what an enriching experience it had been sharing in the life of the St Christopher’s Church community through holy week and Easter, something he most Maundy Thursday - Easter Daymisses as bishop. He and Julia joined us for a roast lamb lunch with the Axtell family and Stephanie Hanson-Singh, an opportunity to relax after the demands of the previous few days. One evening Holy Communion remained – which the home team presided and preached: Stephen celebrating and I preached on one of my favouritestories ; the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

One feature of Easter Day was three art graffiti boards, inspired by an arts festival in Adliya provided by David Axtell and used by children Maundy Thursday - Easter Dayand adults. One late night artist had painted a large picture of the Cathedral, taking up the whole of one board, which I woke up to on Monday morning.

Chris

Alumni dinner: Wednesday 1st April

April 16, 2015 in Dean's Blog

Alumni dinnerI joined Tricia for the first Alumni Dinner for Al Rajah School where Tricia serves on the Board as a Governor. It was held in the Art Rotana and there were several Alumni dinnerprevious principals of the school attending, including Peter Kapenga, who was the previous Principal and within our time in Bahrain. I was also able to speak to our speaker in June for our Living Room Dialogue, Bahraini artist ShaikhaMarwa Al Khalifa and to take a photo of her in front of a large work,for which she was commissioned,  behind the reception desk at the hotel. She is also a Governor at Al Rajah School.

Chris

Stations of the Cross: Monday – Wednesday

April 16, 2015 in Dean's Blog

Stations of the CrossEach of the Readers led the Stations of the Cross which was drawn from those used by Pope Francis at the Coliseum in Rome in 2014 with some minor modifications. Jon Lavelle worked very hard and imaginatively to create each of the Stations and for each evening about 25 people joined together to mark Jesus journey to the cross.

Chris

Holy Week and Easter 2015

April 16, 2015 in Dean's Blog

We have had Bishop Michael with us right through Holy Week from Palm ‘Friday’ (we celebrate Palm Sunday on Friday as Sunday is a working day) to Easter Day and it has been a special Holy Week and Easter 2015time. The children presented The Tale of Three Trees on the Friday very effectively and movingly – it tells the story of three trees that had dreams to Holy Week and Easter 2015contain great riches, to be powerful and to reach to the heavens. The first is chopped down and becomes an animal feeding trough in which Jesus is put following his birth; the second is made into a boat from which Jesus calms the storm; the third is made into the cross; each dream was fulfilled, but not in the way any expected. We began the service both on Friday and Sunday evening by processing round the cathedral with our palms.

Following the service the BACC members attending had a photo with Bishop Michael to update a rather ancient one that has been in the porch for several years.

On Sunday morning three girls from a public school in Isa Town, one doing a project on religious tolerance in Bahrain came to interview me and toHoly Week and Easter 2015 experience the worship of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. They were amazed as they saw them pray and said “that’s how Muslims pray”. And I suggested to them that it was probably from Christians from a similar tradition from whom Muslims learnt to pray.

Chris

A Day in the Life of…. Saturday 21st March 2015

April 16, 2015 in Dean's Blog

Sometimes people wonder what vicars do all day – we’re used to the joke you only work one day a week – so here is an example of one day. We got up early to prepare for all the practical A Day in the Life ofthings that were required not only for the service at Awali (service sheets, noticesheets, Easter News, electoral roll forms), but the Quiet half day that followed (thermos of coffee, cups, picnic lunch, material for reflection in the quiet times). We left promptly by 9am in order to be at Awali in time to set up both for the Communion Service and also coffee prior to the service as people arrived. It was a reflective service and for the sermon I had prepared an imaginative reflection of what it might have been like to be one of the Greeks (or Greek-speaking Jews) attending the festival “wanting to see Jesus”- John 12:20-33, the Gospel reading for the day. We had the use of the Princess Sabeeka Park for the times of quiet, in easy walking distance from the church and a beautiful setting. Tricia led a second session exploring the Rembrandt picture of the Return of the Prodigal drawing on some of the insights of Henri Nouwen and we ate lunch under a canopy in the shade and welcome breeze. After a cooler few days it felt as if summer had really kicked in.

At 1.45pm we speeded back to the Cathedral after a summing up of the themes of the day- I suggested that a unifying theme was homecoming: very obviously for the Prodigal, but also for the Greeks in finding Jesus and the unfolding passion story that enables us all to come home to God.

At 3.00pm there was aWedding Blessing in the cathedral – a couple from Canada and Cameroon, who had been married in a civil service in Korea but had longed for a church wedding. It was a joyful occasion and their teaching colleagues were very supportive and delighted to act as family for them: singing, reading and involving themselves fully in the service and the organization of the day.

At 4.15pm there was a final run through – a dress rehearsal- of TheTale of Three Trees which will be presented next Friday at 9.30am. Once they settled and concentrated, after a sternA Day in the Life of talking from the director, the young people did really well and it will be a moving occasion.It is a storyabout the dreams of three trees growing tall and strong on a hillside and of their hopes of what they might become when they are eventually chopped down: one has a longing to contain great riches, another has the hope to be powerful, and the third wanted to remain pointing to the heavens and the mysteries beyond them. Each of them sees their dream fulfilled, but not in the way they expected.

A Day in the Life ofThere was time for a quick shower and then out at 5.30pm and then out again to a restaurant in Al Um Hassan for the reception for the wedding blessing, an opportunity to meet Terence and Camille’s colleagues – a very international mix of people of varying ages who were clearly delighted to share in the occasion.After a long day we didn’t stay too late, in fact there was time for me (not Tricia this time) to go to the British Club to watch the final rugby match of the Six Nations: England against France.

I have enjoyed playing rugby in my past, and refereed after stopping playing; this particular game had a lot hanging on it. If England won by more England france rugbythan 26 points they would win the championship. It was one of the most exciting games in my memory and, though England won, they were six points short when the final whistle blew.