Blog – September 2017

September 25, 2017 in Dean's Blog

Returning home to Bahrain: September 2017

It’s never easy returning to work after a break and I find it takes a few days to get back to a rhythm, even if my work is often full of interruptions which turn out to be the agenda. The first interruption was going to the supermarket and discovering that my bank card was not s001accepted with a trolley load of shopping. In August BMI bank had been absorbed into Al Salam Bank and when I rang the bank number and reported my problem, I was told I could pick up our cards from from the branch in Sanad, one I had never used before. On my first visit, I discovered the branch never opens on Thursdays, so I returned en route for the service on Saturday morning in Awali, but by 8.30pm by the time I arrived there was too long a queue and each person took about twenty minutes to sort their business. So I returned at 8pm on Sunday, braving the rush-hour traffic and eventually was given my card and was able to be back just in time for the 10.30am service and doing my usual pick up on the way. But Tricia’s card had not been issued and eventually after two more visits this time to the nearer Manama branch, that too was sorted.

Charity Centre

s002One of the encouragements of the summer months has been to see the opening of the Charity Centre and the team of volunteers that has developed under Angel’s leadership. The Centre is now open on Fridays between 12noon and 4pm and it’s encouraging to see visitors are beginning to find their way. We have ordered some A-frame signs, we will be developing our social media contacts and hopefully the word will soon get around that it is open and the centre will be buzzing. We will also need to be ready to receive good quality second-hand clothes.

Comings and Goings                                                                                                                                 

s003At this time of the year we hope that there will be more comings than goings and one of the big encouragements has been the significant numbers of Royal Navy personnel who are making St Christopher’s their spiritual home while they are here. The RN Chaplain, the Rev’d Martin Evans, has made a strong connection with the Cathedral, the celebrant at a Friday morning Eucharist and preaching next week, 29th September. We were very grateful to have a workparty from HMS Middleton, who worked hard over two days to tidy up the Old Christian Cemetery, especially raking up the leaves that tumble off the trees at this time of the year like a waterfall.
s004But as well as the comings there are always the occasional goings and one of our Sunday morning community, Lucy has a new post as a manager of a new spa in Al Ain. We have visited Lucy and her husband William’s home near Thika, Kenya and met her mother and two children. It was lovely for us to be able to put her in touch with Charlie Lloyd- Evans , who following her ordination will be going to serve St Thomas’ Al Ain. There have been a few new people from Kenya attending the Sunday morning service and I have started up a Christian Foundations Course on a Wednesday afternoon to encourage exploration of faith and in preparation for baptism. It has made a lively start.

Funeral of Anton Elias Salem Khouri: Monday 11th September 2017

Some months ago before I went on my sabbatical earlier in the year I took my sick communion set and enabled Anton Khouri to receive communion in his home. So I was honoured to be asked by his family to contribute to his funeral service at the National Evangelical Church. I read from 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:7 and highlighted the contrasts the Apostle Paul gives of our s005outer body wasting away and the inner nature being renewed day by day. The second contrast is between the tent of our physical body and the building that is given by God as we return home to him, and for the first time as I prepared this, I was reminded of the fact that Paul was a tentmaker, aware of the frailty of the material he was working with.

 

Welcome/Welcome Back Party: September 15th 2017

s006The Bahrain Yacht Club proved an excellent venue for a Welcome/Welcome back party which combined with my 18th (in Celsius) birthday. s007Those who wanted to could swim, either in the very salty sea or the swimming pool, and it was followed by an excellent buffet meal much more imaginative than many of the regular buffets that can be found in Bahrain, so we are very grateful to the General Manager and staff at the Yacht Club. s008It was good to welcome the British Ambassador, Simon Martin, and his wife Sophie to a much less formal event than they often experience.

I was rather overwhelmed with cake as in the morning Sandra very kindly had prepared a birthday cake for the Friday congregation to share.

 

St Christopher’s Pendant/Necklace

s009Several months ago I was stopped in the street by a member of Sacred Heart Church and asked if the cathedral had any pendants of St Christopher; I said that we didn’t, but I would see if I could source one for him. I found a supply in the UK and a list in the porch has brought 15 members of our congregation wanting one; they will be brought back from the UK at the beginning of October. I only hope that I will bump into the man who made the original request as I have no contact details for him!