Dean's Blog

Dean’s Blog – 13th March, 2016

Transforming Bahrain’s Public Transport System: Sunday 13th March 2016

This was the subject of our Living Room Dialogue this month with Tim Woodward, the Network Manager of Bahrain Public Transport. He first put the expansion of the bus network in the broader context of the vision for public transport in the 2030 Vision for Bahrain and then spoke about the challenges of introducing a transformed bus network into Bahrain, including the loss of several buses in Southampton harbour! But the results are hugely impressive and the growth in passenger numbers using the buses must be very encouraging for all involved. If it can help drive down the numbers of cars on the roads, it will be very worthwhile. As an icon of change in Bahrain, the red buses are certainly the most significant development in our six and a half years here. Tricia and I took our first journeys on the red buses on our day off, the previous Tuesday, and, though as novices it took a little while to find our way around some of the network, it was a comfortable and clean ride.

Christmas Gift to Belize: Friday 11th March 2016

Each year, at our Christmas Eve Christingle Service, the collection goes to an orphanage in Belize, which has a poignant link with Yvonne Trueman, whose son, Captain Julian Pooley died in a car accident in September 1994 in Belize, while serving with the British Army. Yvonne, who celebrates her 80th birthday this week, wants to emphasize the children-to-children link between Bahrain and Belize and so it was especially appropriate that the BD444 collected at that service was presented with our children present.

Trio Concert and World Premiere at the Cathedral: Thursday 10th March 2016

Ahmed Al Ghanem, the Bahraini flautist, has performed three concerts at the cathedral over the last few

years and it was once again a delight to welcome him back with two musicians, who are new to the Cathedral: Nadia Lopchynska (piano) and Irinya Ulrikh (cello) both from the Ukraine and teaching here. They played a varied programme of Melodies and Harmonies from East to West. The climax of the programme was a world premiere piece of Ahmed’s –Don’t go – which received sustained applause at the end.

Early Wedding: Thursday 10th March 2016

Nine o’clock was an unusually early start for a wedding, especially one with such elegant dress –

both men and ladies – and it could not have been a more dramatic entance into the Cathedral compound for the bride and her entourage than the stretch Hummer limo. Jon thought this might be a suitable vehicle for him to pick up people to come to Cathedral services and was soon circulating this picture advertizing his services to his homegroup

Gregory Porter Concert at Arad Fort: Saturday 5th March

It was a treat to go and hear 2014 Grammy Award winner for the best Jazz Vocal Album , Gregory Porter, in a concert at Arad Fort and the staging, with an open view onto the lit up fort behind, was especially effective. Many of his lyrics are clearly deeply influenced by his faith or heritage. I particularly enjoyed his, yet to be released, song Take me to the Alley a song awaiting for the King in the crowded shiny streets “They will be surprised when they hear him say: ‘take me to the alley, take me to the afflicted ones, take me to the lonely ones, that somehow lost their way… I am your friend… Come to my table.’ ” His band members playing piano, double bass, saxophone and percussion were exceptional too and each had the opportunity to demonstrate their individual skills.

Women’s World Day of Prayer: Friday 4th March 2014                

I sneaked in the back of the Women’s World Day of Prayer service along with a few brave men and helped with refreshments and photography afterwards. The service was prepared by women in Cuba, particularly timely with the recent visit of Pope Francis and the restoration of relations with the United States of America. Maria Khoury was the speaker; she is the Head of Complaints, Monitoring and Follow-up in the National Institution for Human Rights, involved as a Prison Visitor and is Chair of the Board of Governors at Al Rajah School, so has a breadth of experience in a variety of fields. She preached simply, but wisely on the theme. She said that she had attended this service many years ago, brought by her mother, but now she was doing the same, except this time she was bringing her mother.