Dean’s Blog – 13th – 19th September 2018

Katherine Lyddon, Children’s Work Adviser from Exeter Diocese: 13-19th September 2018 

From the 13th to 19th  September, St Christopher’s Cathedral  hosted the Exeter Diocese Children’s Work Adviser, Katherine Lyddon, at the beginning of the school year. Katherine has trained as a Primary teacher and, as well as working throughout the County of Devon in the United Kingdom as an adviser to churches in her present role, she has also taught in Uganda.

001She arrived in Bahrain on Thursday morning and in the evening there was a meal in a local Indian Restaurant, which gave Katherine an informal opportunity to meet the Friday Club team individually as she moved around the table between courses.

002On Friday morning she spent time with the Friday Club children and young people, on what was their first session of the new school year, telling the story of creation.

On Friday evening she led the team in some retreat time and then moved on to exploring our vision and encouraged team-building, drawing in those who were new to the Friday Club team.

003On Saturday from 10am till 3pm she led workshops, inspiring, encouraging and resourcing the Cathedral’s growing Friday Club team of volunteers. Eighteen people came, both from the English-speaking and Tamil-speaking congregations, an indication of the growth of our ministry to children and young people. Sessions included subjects such as children and young people as key members of the church community, child development, different learning styles, providing a safe environment, and exploring varieties of ways in which faith grows.

She also led a session Growing a family of faith for mothers on Monday morning, 17th September, in the home of one of the Cathedral members as well as telling a Bible story to the young children present.

004Tuesday gave an opportunity to explore a little of Bahrain’s history and continuing rich culture with visits to the Bahrain Fort with its fine archaeological museum and the Craft Centre near the Cathedral, meeting several of the craftspeople there.

It was wonderful having Katherine with us and an inspiration to our Friday Club leaders. We are grateful to the Diocese of Exeter for releasing her for these two weeks, both here in Bahrain and moving on for a week in Abu Dhabi, and believe such purposeful visits are a very significant way of expressing the partnership between our dioceses.

Opening of Confluence: Saturday 15th September 2018

 005We were honoured to be invited to the opening of an exhibition which was in the heart of the Bahrain’s financial heart: Harbour Gate. 006It was an imaginative fusion of poetry and art and much of the work to pull it together was given by two Cathedral members, Rohini Sunderam, Director of the Bahrain Writers’ Circle, and Shereen Abraham, who together had combined their gifts  in several displays as well as being the chief organizers of many of the practical details to pull the exhibition together.

 Friday Mornings in the Cathedral: Friday 21st September 2018

These continue to be very encouraging. This morning there were apparently 85 adults and in one children’s group alone – the Samaritans – there were twenty-one, which sounds as if it needs to split into two! May the plans for the building project, now with the Urban Planners, quickly be passed so we can get on with the provision of adequate space for Friday Clubbers. It was good to have two occasional visitors to Friday morning Chaplain Christina Mauntel as celebrant and our Reader Simon Phillips as preacher; Simon is better known on Sunday evenings and is a gifted preacher.

 Meeting up with Christine Mauntel: Saturday 22nd September 2018

008It was good to have US Navy Chaplain Christina Mauntel presiding at our Holy Communion service yesterday. Bishop Michael gave her permission to officiate after connecting with her Bishop in Alaska. Her background is Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, but she appreciates being in a community who are rooted in a liturgy. We had a lovely meal in her apartment and she showed us photos of Alaska, her previous parish: stunningly beautiful landscapes (though bitterly cold and dark in winter), the northern lights, fast flowing rivers filled with salmon and brown bears fishing for salmon! I dropped an emai to her Bishop in Alaska to say how much we appreciated Christina’s support and friendship in the cathedral and by next morning there was a nice reply Thank you for sharing this photo.  I am so grateful for your hospitality toward Christina and for your ecumenical partnership.

Size isn’t everything! Sunday 23rd September 2018

We have a small group, usually less than ten, meeting on a Sunday morning for our regular Holy Communion service, and generally meeting over tea or coffee afterwards when the conversation flows as we sit around a table. This morning a young doctor from India working in a Christian Medical College joined us. His wife’s parents live here and their first baby was born in Bahrain. But he wanted to talk about a persistent sense of vocation to ministry but maintaining his work as a doctor. So this afternoon I copied of an initial reading list and also sent links to useful youtubes by some of the authors that I’d suggested: David Ford, Rowan Williams, Tom Wright, Alister McGrath and Walter Brueggemann.  And we said we’d try and keep in touch.