January 14, 2017 in Dean's Blog
Peijin’s Ordination in St Paul’s Church, Kuwait: Feast of the Epiphany, 6th January 2017
There was a great sense of occasion for the Ordination of Peijin Zhu at St Paul’s Church, Kuwait and Tricia and I felt honoured to be there. Peijin is from China, she was baptized in Kuwait, trained in Trinity College, Singapore has served a growing Chinese community in Kuwait for several years, attended a Selection Conference in Jordan and will now serve as Assistant Curate at St Paul’s with a particular pastoral responsibility. Peijin stayed with us for ten days about three years ago and she gave much of her time with the Bahrain encouraging Chinese Christian community here; it has been a privilege to see her becoming increasingly assured in her vocation to ministry and her quiet, but passionate, determination to follow God’s call and to see the Church recognize her vocation to ministry. The significance of the occasion marked, not only by the great turn-out of the Chinese community for this special occasion – they must have made up at least a third of the congregation – but also in those who’d travelled from other countries to be there: Archdeacon Bill from Qatar, Andy Thompson who baptized Peijin ten years earlier now in St Andrew’s, Abu Dhabi, Derek and Sue Smith from St Barnabas’, Limassol, Cyprus, who had also hosted Peijin who gave time to the Chinese community there, Charles and Sally Milner who used to be members of St Paul’s Kuwait, but are now back in the UK, and ourselves from Bahrain. It is clear that Peijin’s ministry is affirmed by all members of the chaplaincy, whatever country they are from.
Following the service there was a lunch reception for the congregation in the Kuwait Oil Company Guest House dining room, where speeches were given and gifts were given to Peijin – we had taken a three-fish plate from Bahrain. We then were taken by Peijin and Ming, with Derek and Sue Smith and their hosts, to see a little of Kuwait including the lift up the Kuwait Tower, where you get a spectacular view over the city and Kuwait Bay with its rotating outer rim floor.
We made a quick visit to the National Evangelical Church of Kuwait compound where Peijin was baptized in an outdoor baptistery, before we returned to our accommodation – a very comfortable ‘chalet’ in the Hilton Hotel resort – where one of the Chinese congregation lives, but who was away on holiday. We are grateful to him.
We stayed on in Kuwait on Saturday and were involved in interviewing for the post of Chaplain of St Paul’s, two fine candidates, with a panel that included Bishop Michael and three representatives from the Kuwait Chaplaincy. It was a privilege to be involved in the process of discernment for the chaplaincy and the diocese with them.
I am blown over by the sheer generosity of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church community. They must be our largest church community that meets on our compound, but they also must be among the poorest: dominantly women, working largely in domestic service and the hospitality industry, as waitresses in restaurants. But last week they invited me to speak at their service for our Building Appeal and presented me with four cheques for BD250 to be cashed over the next four months from church funds, and then a further cheque of over BD500 from the congregation’s collection.
Seeing in the New Year: December 31st 2016/ 1st January 2017
The New Year’s Eve Watchnight service in the Cathedral, arranged by the Tamil community, is establishing itself as a regular feature of our life at St Christopher’s and is clearly an important discipline, especially for the Indian community, but also our Kenyan community supported by a few South Africans and just a few others. It began with various groups leading us in praise from 11.30pm till midnight, New Years greetings shared at midnight, and then the start of the Holy Communion service. A cup of tea and snack outside followed the service. Stephen had asked me to provide a prayer for a prayer card, so I chose the following prayer by Edmund Banyard:
Lord help us to know joy as a spring always welling up within us and give us the power to dance through life, not as men and women, who are blind to sorrow, misery and shame, but who know your victory over death and cannot but rejoice. Amen.