Celebration of German Unity: Friday 5th October 2018
Tricia and I were privileged to attend a joint concert of the German Air Force Band and the Bahrain Public Security Band of the Ministry of Interior at the Isa bin Salman Cultural Hall in Adliya, a lovely setting for such an event. The bands mostly played separately but for a grand finale the two came together for the Radetzky March which had the audience clapping along and you could imagine that you were in Vienna for the New Year’s Eve concert or the Albert Hall in London for the Last Night of the Proms.
World Harvest Supper and Barn Dance: Saturday 6th October 2018
One of the biggest social events of the year in the Cathedral’s life is the world harvest supper and barn dance which we hold in the Alun Morris Hall. It was beautifully decorate with the ever growing number of world flags by our wonderful Caretaking team and especially Kumar and Kalam, willing to climb up ladders, but it is very special seeing our very international church family mixed up with invited guests throwing themselves into the dances and enjoying the homemade international cuisine brought by our members. It was lovely to see a Muslim family from India thoroughly enjoying being part of the celebrations.
As well as celebrations there was giving of food which will be directed to those who are needy through the ECC and Mission to seafarers and a cash appeal raised BD621 which will be directed through the Diocese to support the work of the Ras Morbat Clinic, which continues to do its good work, despite the war, in Aden.
Intercultural Ethics – Professor David MIsselbrook: Sunday 14th October, 2018
Professor David Misselbrook, Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, was the latest speaker at the first Living Room Dialogue of the new academic year. He spoke on the subject of Intercultural Ethics, reviewing the history of medical ethics in both the West and in Islam and reflecting on the common principles underlying ethical decisions. It was lovely to welcome four students at RCSI and several people who were new to Living room Dialogues who were attending for the first time He had recently given the John Locke 2018 Lecture at The Society of Apothecaries in London, which has a 400 year old history, and is now a postgraduate medical education institution. The title of his lecture was Arabian Knots: Tales of moral misunderstandings from East and West, focussing on intercultural ethics.
Unexpected visitors: Saturday 20th October 2018
Returned from Awali and seeing a swarm of young people getting out of big black government cars. They happened to be a group of students from Sapienza University, Rome with their Professor, Alessandro Saggioro, who is to be the first King Hamad Chair in Inter-Faith Dialogue and Peaceful Co-Existence. I welcomed them in to the cathedral and for the next half an hour had a wonderful dialogue with them about Bahrain, the history of the church in Bahrain, inter faith issues, and how they could contribute to encouraging a deeper dialogue between faith communities here. I gather that they would be meeting with His Majesty, a meeting that I had been invited to, but I will be in Ras Al Khaimah tomorrow to chair the Bishop’s Advisory Panel which begins on Monday.
Bishop’s Advisory Panel at St Luke’s, Ras Al Khaimah: October 21st– 25th 2018
One of the most rewarding and most demanding roles that I have taken on has been as Chair of the Bishop’s Advisory Panel for those exploring a vocation to Ordained or Reader ministry. For the first time we have had potential Readers attending the conference and altogether we had eight candidates. So, forty half-an-hour interviews, eight homilies, three group exercises and a written project, quite apart from four Selectors meetings and all done within a regular rhythm of prayer and worship: morning, midday and evening. For the two full days of the Conference the selectors were working a fourteen hour day.
Preparing for the Conference is also very demanding as each exercise has to be prepared and printed off with observation and marking sheets all colour-coded, eight orders of service have to be prepared and there are several communications with both candidates and selectors prior to the conference. In addition there is the reading up of candidates’ registration forms and references and preparing questions for each of their interviews.
Each conference creates a wonderful supportive atmosphere and I feel that the sense of community created has had a transforming impact on the life of the Diocese. Each of the candidates came from a different Chaplaincy and from seven different countries. It really is a remarkable and wonderful snapshot of the Church in this part of the world.
Martin Luther and Bahrain Jazz Fest: Friday26th October 2018
At the morning service US Navy Chaplain Christina Mauntel spoke about the importance of Martin Luther in her own tradition (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). I was able to reassure her that even Anglicans remember Luther on Wednesday 31st October, when he nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Castle Church and last year we had a service marking 500 years of reformation! And she recalled moving celebrations marking the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in her previous parish in Alaska when Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans came together to celebrate. I enjoyed a conversation with one of our Roman Catholic members after the service, who found it very moving that a woman preacher should be reflecting on reformation in this way.
After coffee, after the service, I met with the newly formed Exploring Faith group who met in my study in The Deanery with Simon leading us and then, after a quick bite, we headed for the Bahrain Jazz fest at the Royal Golf Club. We’d invited Christina to join us but a friend who has recently come to Bahrain and a former US Army Chaplain, Jennifer, now in a role leading retreats for service personnel, but outside military ranks. Jennifer joined us for the afternoon. It had rained heavily earlier in the day, so rugs and cushions put out on the lovely green grass of the Golf Club, a rare treat in Bahrain, were soaking wet and the music was delayed somewhat, but it was a lovely day and we met up with several friends. We didn’t stay late, but particularly enjoyed the gentle jazz of Avalon Jazz band from France.