Queen’s Birthday Party: Wednesday 27 th April 2016

April 27, 2016 in Dean's Blog

Tricia and I were honoured to attend the birthday party to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen held in the Queen’s Birthday Party:lovely British Embassy Garden in the heart of Manama. Combining this year with the celebrations of the 200 year relationship between the UK and Bahrain, this was a special occasion.   Just outside the gates of the Embassy was a Spitfire -Bahrain contributed money that bought 10 Spitfires for use in World War II that Queen’s Birthday Party:carried the colours of Bahrain – and one of the National Express red buses that have transformed Bahrain’s public transport system in the past year. A small contingent of Royal Marine bandsmen were present and added to the occasion with a Sunset ceremony and the lowering of the Union Jack at the conclusion of the event. HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa was the guest of honour and spoke very graciously of all that he had learnt at the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth of Her Majesty’s values expressed in public service of the nation and the importance of the historic relationship between the two nations.


Welcome to Ras Al Khaimah: Thursday 21st – Saturday 23rd April 2016

April 21, 2016 in Dean's Blog

We flew into Dubai and had a taxi lined up to take us down to Ras Al Khaimah, so it was a relief to see my name printed out as we came out of the arrivals door

Farewell to JonIt was a joy to share with Jon and Karen and the congregation at St Luke’s in Jon’s licensing service as the new Chaplain in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. We flew out on Thursday morning and there was a delegation of six people from Bahrain: Grant and Angela Murray, Angel Afolabi and Andrew Petty as well as ourselves. There were also friends from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah and Dubai who swelled what is clearly a small community, at present, meeting in large recently built church. Archdeacon Bill Schwartz led the service and preached on texts that seemed made for the context though as Bill said were drawn up by some committee many years ago (Acts 11: 1-18 and John 13: 31-35).

Farewell to JonFollowing the service Tricia had a nasty fall down a slippery rather steep marble image009ramp, protecting her fall with her hand. So we missed the lunch reception and were kindly taken by one of the congregation, Paul, an educational psychologist working with autistic children, to the public hospital in the city where she was examined, x-rayed and plastered for a chip on the bone though it seems from another examination at the American Mission Hospital in Bahrain today that there may be a fracture. We were able to enjoy eating outside in the village hotel where we were staying and to go for a walk along the beach.

We returned to Bahrain, via Dubai Airport, with Angela and Grant Murray, who’d hired a car for their three days in Ras Al Khaimah to do a little exploring.


Farewell to Jon: Wednesday 13th-Monday 18th April 2016

April 18, 2016 in Dean's Blog

Farewell to JonReturning to Bahrain, the major event(s) was saying farewell to Jon and Karen after nineteen months here as Curate and seeing him in as Chaplain to St Luke’s, Ras Al Khaimah and St Nicholas’, Fujairah. The farewells began with the Juffair homegroup, which has blossomed under Jon’s leadership, with people from eight different nationalities who clearly enjoy one another’s company and support one another, as well as enjoying their food and Bible study.

On Friday Jon presided at the Holy Communion service and at the conclusion of the service Council members and members of the Juffairhomegroup prayed for him and Karen and in our usual way for all those leaving presented him with a print of the Cathedral.

Farewell to JonOn the Saturday we had a bring-and-share meal and barn dance in the Alun Morris Hall, to which more Farewell to Jonthan 100 people came and at which I presented Jon with a lovely portable Communion set, which I had brought back from the UK and which had been bought from the farewell gifts given. Natasha had prepared a card, which she presented on behalf of Friday Club; Jon had been particularly complimentary to our young people at the Farewell to JonFriday morning service saying that, as an experienced teacher, he had never met such a caring and intelligent group. As well as saying farewell to Jon it was a joy to welcome Kevin and Erica (from the USA and South Africa) who had been married that afternoon. As image004they had come from Riyadh, they had no wedding guests to share their joy, so the St Christopher’s community immediately became their family and drew them in.Fozia, at very short notice, arranged a cake to be made and delivered, which they cut together. They were so delighted by the friendliness of everyone that they plan to return to Bahrain every month to attend a service here.

Farewell to JonJon attended both the Sunday morning and Sunday evening services to say his final good-byes and to unwrap fully his gift Communion set, so the congregations could see it and on Monday afternoon finally set off for the airport for his and Karen’s Farewell to Jonnew adventure. I felt sad to see Jon move on, but at the same time feel that the Cathedral and Awali community have fulfilled our brief from Bishop Michael to give Jon the training that he needed to prepare him to take on the leadership of a Chaplaincy himself, and that he is now ready for that.




Nephew’s Wedding: Easter Monday 28th March 2016

April 28, 2016 in Dean's Blog

Nephew’s WeddingFlying through the night with a delay in Amsterdam for three hours we wondered Nephew’s Weddingwhether we’d make it to the wedding of my nephew Tom to Sophie, but in the end we were the first flight allowed into London City Airport and raced down to near Folkestonein a hire car, arriving ten minutes after the service had begun, in our travelling clothes, but despite some strange looks and the question “Are you here for the wedding?”, we reckoned better that than missing the service and arriving in our best clothes. It was an opportunity for all the cousins and their various ‘plus ones’ to be together for what was a very happy occasion.

Nephew’s WeddingWe stayed in the oldest house in Saltwood, Kent – a lovely beamed Elizabethan house – through airbnbfor three more days, which enabled us to have time with my sister and her husband, a walk along the beach followed by fish and chips, and a trip along the coast beyond Hastingson the following day to see my aunt and uncle. I also discovered that a church supplies place was just five miles away, so stocked up on wafers to take back to Bahrain.


Return to our Parish

May 18, 2016 in Dean's Blog

image008We stayed with friends in our old parish in North Kent and, after getting permission from the new TeamReturn to our Parish Rector; we attended the morning service finding the community in good heart and delighted to see us. While there we joined our three girls and went to the Old Vic to see the Harold Pinter play The Caretaker, a lengthy dark and at times menacing play, but full of humor. We had one other trip to London for a walk along the canal from St Pancrasand out for a meal together.

En route to Ross-on-Wye, we stayed with a friend from our Windermere days, now in Didcot. Bert sadly is in a lovely nursing home suffering from Parkinson’s, but Ann visits him every day for up to six hours and we were glad to visit the home with her.