Dean's Blog

Christmas 2013

NativityThe pattern of services was much the same as the previous year, but the pattern of attendance was somewhat different. We had a wonderful Nine Lessons and Carols with readers drawn from seven different countries and four continents, a choir made up of volunteers from the Manama Singers and once again Dana Eleni, who is an operatic soprano was visiting her family with her brother Kimon accompanying her on piano, and she sang Wonder, a Thomas Traherne poem from Gerald Finzi’s Dies Natalis. But above all the congregation sang their hearts out.Christingle Prep

On Monday 23rd December families came together for a Christingle workshop and 150 christingles were made in an hour and a half. In the end the numbers at the Christingle service on Christmas Eve afternoon were considerably down on previous years, but in some ways this made it a stiller more worshipful service without a constant stream of noise to contend with.Christingle

Other services though were better attended: the First Communion of Christmas was especially notable for the number of people who had crossed the causeway from Saudi to come and both the Christmas Day morning services at Awali and the Cathedral had sizeable congregations. Christmas LunchWhen you have a three day weekend with services on Friday Saturday and Sunday as we do, with Christmas day falling on Wednesday this year, it felt an especially demanding ten days.

We were delighted that our family joined us for Christmas and 7-10 days following and on Christmas Day itself we enjoyed the company of those who might otherwise have been on their own.

With the family out we did two things that we had not done before in Bahrain which were fun: the first to go to the Horse RacesBoatFriday horse races, where you cannot bet, but only forecast! and secondly we teamed up with the Hanson-Singhs for a boat trip first to see dolphins (easier to see than to photograph) off Sitra and then to travel at 40 knots down the east coast of Bahrain, which was certainly exhilarating. With access to the coast so restricted in Bahrain, you have to get into a boat to really get the feel that you are on an island.

VrindavanNazir is shortly off on his leave to see his family and he wanted to take us all out for a meal. He arrived with a piece of paper on which someone had written some suggested places as options: McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Dairy Queen. I think he was really delighted when I suggested our local Vrindavan, the Indian vegetarian restaurant just up the road, where it is quite hard to eat for more than 1BD per head. It’s one of our family’s favourite places to eat especially as Dan is a vegetarian because the food is so authentic. I hope Nazir has a refreshing holiday and good times with his family. He certainly deserves it. One of the joys of Christmas is being able to give our staff – both those who work on the compound and those who work at the cemeteries- a gift from the congregations of the Cathedral and this year this amounted to just BD220 each. On their behalf thank you to all who contributed.