Dean's Blog

Christmas Celebrations

Carols on Ice: Monday 21st December 2015

An imaginative afternoon event took place at Funland on the ice rink – carols on ice and many families came down to enjoy a feeling of being in the cooler climes of the northern hemisphere with some ice skating and carols played in the background. I donned a pair of skates and joined the party and at the end of the event gratefully received BD120 from David Axtell who’d organized the event. Sadly early in the afternoon Stephanie had a nasty fall and broke her wrist.


Christingle Workshop: Wednesday 23rd December, 2015

Rather fewer families joined us for the making of Christingles than in previous years, indicative that many are away making use of

public holidays and weekends for a pre-Christmas break or away for Bahrain for Christmas, but all was completed within the hour. I had forgotten that I had ordered candles from the UK brought out by our daughter Alex but in the meantime I managed to find some German candles in the supermarket here that were one third of the cost of the British ones! Red tape, which two years ago was in big supply here, was the challenge this year. In the end I bought a much wider red masking tape and a Stanley knife to cut it into thinner strips, which worked… We are all set for tomorrow.

Christmas Eve: Thursday 24th December 2015

The Christmas Eve Christingle service is always a special one, but this year was enriched by a two families – Holmans and Marshalls –

professional band and a professional dancer – Maya, who is learning her art at a dance school in the UK and has danced in Billy Elliot, who danced as we sang Longing for Light. A tradition of the Christingle Service has been to watch An Unexpected Christmas – ‘they won’t be expecting that’ – which has become something of a classic: a children’s Nativity performed by children in a Church in Auckland (stpaul’s artsandmedia), New Zealand. Both at Christingle and at the midnight First Communion of Christmas in a more extended way I reflected on the fact that God comes to us in Jesus in a

particular place at a particular time and that Luke, a careful historian is concerned to root the incarnation into our history and geography in his listing of people and places. But that this is a message for all people – of every tribe, tongue people and nation – and in every age. I am reminded of this every time I lead worship in our cathedral and it was very apparent at our services over Christmas. It was a joy to have a group from the Royal Navy at the midnight and to welcome the Royal Navy Chaplain at the Base, Mark Davidson to share in leading the worship at both midnight and Christmas morning services.

In the past few years Nader Berdestani from the Hussaini Processions has brought flowers on Christmas morning. This year it was

more than flowers, he brought a band who joined us at the end of the Christmas morning service, brought greetings to the whole congregation and graciously played Amazing Grace. The congregation responded wonderfully with warm applause as they arrived and with a standing ovation at the conclusion. Reuters were present and within a few hours I found this photo among others of ‘worldwide celebrations of Christmas’. As people said when they were leaving, this was a Christmas service that they would never forget. Also accompanying worship for the first time was the Japanese pianist, Mina Iwahashi, who did her piano studies in St Petersburg. She joined our family for Christmas lunch afterwards.

Christmas at Awaliawali_1

Sometimes it’s a sadness that you cannot be in two places at the same time, but Jon Lavelle who was at Awali both for the Crib service and the Christmas morning Family Communion reported full churches, children caught up in the wonder of the Christmas story and a very positive response in worship.