Dean’s Blog – February 2016 – Part 2
Dr Edward Kessler, Founding Director of the Woolf Institute: Thursday 18th February 2016
Another interesting person passing through Bahrain and exploring possibilities for encouraging interfaith relations and dialogue was Dr Ed Kessler. Ed had recently been in Doha for an interfaith conference and public lecture by
former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. He is the Founding Director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, UK, which is dedicated to Interfaith Research, Teaching and Dialogue. I passionately believe that education is key to better understanding between faiths. The Woolf Institute has already made a significant contribution to teaching, research and dialogue in the encounter between Jews and Christians and a similar model is being applied to the encounter between Muslims and Jews. The learning environment is both dynamic and challenging – on academic and practical levels. In today’s unsettled world, an understanding of the inter-religious encounter is both necessary and urgent. The Woolf Institute is making an important contribution. He was wanting to get a flavour of the context of interfaith relationships in Bahrain, so Jon and I met him for an hour over coffee in the Regency Intercontinental Hotel and we were able to relate our experiences here.
Living Room Dialogue with Royal Navy Chaplain Mark Davidson: Sunday 14th May 2014
Royal Navy Chaplain Dr Mark Davidson has been a good friend of the Cathedral since his arrival six months ago. He preached at the Remembrance Sunday Service, joined us to help lead our Christmas morning service and has linked us up with ships that are in Bahrain with crew members keen to do some community service. So it was a joy to have him speak at our Valentine’s Day Living Room Dialogue on the subject of Shame. He has long had a concern that shame is at the root of very many pastoral issues from his experience as a parish minister, as a Chaplain in Aberdeen University and now as a Chaplain in the Royal Navy and he did his PhD thesis on the subject – A biopsychosocial and ecclesiastical exploration of the place of shame in the lives of Christians with moderate intellectual disabilities. He said that shame was an issue that affected our whole being, contrasting it with guilt, which is usually associated with actions and which is more easily dealt with the words “I’m sorry”. And he highlighted the part that the Christian congregation can play in being a community of acceptance, hospitality and healing, enabling people to accept themselves and move on in their lives. It was good to have Mark round for a meal a couple of days later to talk further and to hear of his next move back to the UK and of his successor here as Chaplain and we gathered that he would be returning to Bahrain in June for a few weeks to cover a leave period.
Pancake races: Friday 12th February 2016
Perhaps a week late, but we were caught up in the Diocesan Synod this year was the annual pancake races after the Friday morning service, this year falling on the first Friday of Lent. But great fun was had by all, both participants and spectators and it took a little persuasion to prevent some of the children from eating their pancake despite dropping to the ground several times in the race.
Dinner at Zoe’s: Thursday 11th February 2016
We were wonderfully well looked after by two of our cathedral members, Milcah and Jade, who were delighted when we turned up a the restaurant that they work at, to celebrate Tricia’s birthday. It was a marvelous meal, but the bank manager won’t allow too many returns.