Dean's Blog

Provincial Clergy and Spouses Meeting: 29th September- 2nd October2014

Temple of KarnakFive years ago we arrived in Bahrain via the Provincial Clergy and Spouses Meeting in Hurghada and it has good memories for Tricia and I, enabling us, from the start, to see our ministry here in the wider context of the Province which covers such an amazing variety of places:Temple of Karnak North Africa, Egypt and the Horn of Africa, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, as well as Cyprus and the countries of the Gulf.

The programme was well balanced with regular worship led by the bishops of the Province; some excellent keynote addresseson the Gospel of John on which he is currently writing a commentary from Professor David Ford from Cambridge University, a very approachable academic, who listened intently to the stories of ministry in our Province. It was exciting to be getting some fresh insights from his present study. The theme of the conference was our Neighbourand our own Archdeacon John Holdsworth and Bishop Grant (Horn of Africa) gave two excellent Bible studies from the Old Testament and New Testament, picking up this theme. There were also opportunities to meet in groups for discussion.

As my photos reveal, there was also opportunity to explore some of the amazing sites near Luxor: a son et lumiere at the Temple of Karnak- it is hard to Trip on the Nile appreciate the sheer size of the buildings and the intricacy of the stone carvings; a trip to the magnificent Valley of the Kings, where so many of the Pharoahs were buried and we also had a sunset trip on the Nile in a fleet of faluccas with some friendly racing by the respective owners of the boats.

There was also plenty of time to converse and get to know the variety of contexts of peoples’ different ministries and inevitably some were going through some very difficult and painful experiences. It was a privilege to listen to their stories, especially the stories of hope in the midst of hopelessness, of joy where you might have expected despair.