Dean's Blog

Dean’s Blog – 27th February 2016

Welcoming back old friends on Sunday morning

It was a special joy over two weeks on the last two Sunday mornings to welcome back Yvonne and Uwe Stein and on their return they wrote with greetings from a rather cold and damp Wales!
During our visit to church yesterday, Uwe and I were reminded of the warm, heart-felt welcome that was extended to us and our friend Geetha (from Sri Lanka) on our recent visit to Bahrain.  Being asked to participate during the morning service, was such a joy and privilege for Uwe and I and memories of days gone by came flooding back to us. We were made to feel so ‘special’ and so ‘loved’ by all of you.  It left our hearts over-flowing with joy. Attending your services, was the highlight of our visit to the little island we still call ‘home’.

Sakura – Spring Concert: Monday 29th February 2016

On Monday evening we were privileged to attend a concert – Sakura (Spring Concert) – by two outstanding Japanese musicians: Mika Nishimura on violin accompanied on piano by Mina Iwahashi. Mina gave a solo recital in the Cathedral over a year ago and she spent

last Christmas Day with our family, having played at the Christmas morning service, so we wanted to support her. It was held in the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, which is a lovely setting, though it was soon overflowing with people. Car parking was also a challenge in Muharraq at night and after a few hazardous treks down narrow streets, I eventually found a place to park by moving a waste bin. The programme was a wonderful mix of very familiar classics –Massanet, Rachmanininoff, Saens-Saens and Bartok – and sets of both Japanese and Bahraini songs which were received with delight by the largely Bahraini audience. We recognized the Japanese Song of the Shore from a cassette tape played by the flautist James Galway that we have had for a long time. We are grateful to the Embassy of Japan for organizing a very special evening.

Imran returns to Pakistan – Saturday 27th February

With Francis I took Imran to the airport for his flight home to Lahore, Pakistan to return to his wife and family including a new baby. After several years in Bahrain this will be a big change. Imran has been a faithful servant of the Cathedral, finding varieties of ways to serve, using his gifts to the full. He attended all the English-speaking services, both at the Cathedral and Awali, often being on the sound system and on a Saturday morning helping to prepare the church for worship. As clergy we will miss him not only for his service, but his friendship. In his last weeks, after his work finished and before receiving his final settlement, he made the most of his time using his tailoring skills to make a new altar cloth and several clerical shirts for the clergy including some for our son-in-law Dan, who will be ordained in St Alban’s Cathedral in July.

An Evening of Group Therapy – Thursday 25th February 2016


A small, but very appreciative, audience enjoyed an Evening of group Therapy, a band formed by those living in Saudi Arabia who played an eclectic mix of folk, light rock, blues and jazz as well as music with Cajun and Bluegrass influences. Their last appearance in the Cathedral was for a Gospel service led by Graham and Cathy Roberts.


Week beginning 21st February 2016

Sometimes it is good to have a week when I am not preaching to enable getting ahead with some of the preparation for the coming weeks, and especially looking ahead to Holy Week and Easter; so this week I have chosen hymns for the next three months, prepared

liturgies for the family service on Mothering Friday/Saturday and an Easter litugy for the first weekend in April and the insides of the noticesheets until the end of April and prepared a press release and some publicity for the next Cathedral Concert on Thursday 10th March: the return of the Bahraini flautist, Ahmed Al Ghanem with Nadia Lopchynska on piano and Iryna Ulrikh on cello. The British Embassy are keen to include it as part of the programme for the 200 year friendship between Bahrain and the UK, so hopefully their Facebook network will encourage some others to attend. I was also able to find a welder to make a nail for the Three Hour Service on Good Friday when we will be basing reflections on Stephen Cottrell’s The NailBeing part of the Passion. The Nail is an important visual to the drama of those who find themselves caught up in the drama of Jesus’ Passion.

Dinner with Ricardo and his mother – Saturday 20th February 2016

It was a joy to meet Ricardo’s mother, Bernadette, for a dinner at the British Club. She and Ricardo’s father had been very much in the Cathedral family’s prayers at the time when he was very ill and eventually died; Bernadette wanted to say how much she valued the support of the cathedral at that time. We all too often underestimate the importance of prayer, the sense of solidarity with her and Ricardo through a painful time and of being strengthened by God with hope at a time of loss.