Dean's Blog

Gulf Clergy and Spouses Day in Doha

MuseumWe flew to Doha on the Tuesday and were met by Naomi  Mallon. She and Ron, who generously hosted us for two nights, were married in the Cathedral and were part of our Sunday 6.15pm congregation. They left for Qatar about three years ago. Naomi took us out to the Shaikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum which is housed in a modern ever –expanding “fort” in the desert an extraordinary collection of arms-guns and swords -carpets, old cars and other vehicles, a Syrian house, religious artefacts, dhows, fossils and artwork you might pick up in a garage sale.

Gulf Clergy DayWednesday was the clergy and spouses get-together in the new Anglican Centre and Archdeacon Bill Schwartz had invited me to chair the day. After Holy Communion the morning was spent on the theme Islam is a culture; Islam is a religion the subject of Bill’s D.Min thesis and, in particular, he was enabling us to understand how Muslims perceive the Christian faith and encouraging us to step into their shoes.

DhowAfter lunch we shared with one another insights into what was happening in our various chaplaincies: a mix of the encouraging – there are many stories of growth and positive change – to the deeply disturbing, particularly in the Dubai Chaplaincy, where power has gone to the heads of a group of influential laymen. On BoardIn the evening our various hosts joined us for a dhow trip which included an evening meal on board, a very happy way to end the day. There was some anxiety about the strong winds but the dhow was exceptionally stable.