Dean's Blog

Dean’s Blog – 25th December 2016

The Christmas Season in St Christopher’s Cathedral

Christmas Day: Sunday 25th December 2016

At the midnight service Royal Navy Chaplain Nigel Beardsley celebrated and there were a few other Royal Navy personnel present, and there was a particularly good turn-out from our growing Kenyan community, perhaps a fifth of the total congregation, who are active in inviting friends to join them. During communion they sang the carol God rest you merry gentlemen.
1Once again we had a full church for Christmas morning and were blessed by the musical accompaniment with Mina Iwahashi on piano and Nora Lee playing her viola. Tricia preached on the surpises of God’s choices for his plan of redemption: a teenage mum, conception outside marriage, a birth among animals, a far flung province of the Roman Empire….

2At the end of the service, we were once again visited by the Hussaini Processions band who played a couple of pieces, one seemingly based on the hymn often sung on Trinity Sunday: Holy holy, holy, Lord God almighty and graciously presented us flowers and wished us all a very happy Christmas.

The Christmas Day evening service was very sparsely attended and the traffic heading into Manama at that time was very busy. Having been out to a delicious Christmas family lunch, we hit very heavy traffic coming back and I needed to walk the final few hundred metres as cars were moving so slowly. It was a quiet reflective service to conclude Christmas Day, but important and appreciated by those who came, most of whom had been working through the day. We were glad that we’d decided to hold it.

Christmas Eve Christingle at Cathedral/Crib service at Awali : Saturday 24th December 2016

3As usual we held two services on Christmas eve afternoon: a Crib service at Awali…thankfully we discovered the mystery of the missing Jesus before the Crib service this year. The Roman Catholic priest had him safely locked away in their safe before Christmas Day and a Christingle in the Alun Morris Hall at the Cathedral. We had a good congregation in the Cathedral, but I had a panic to discover at 3pm that the car park was full and a group was not expecting to finish before 7pm, but they were graciously willing to move their
cars to the street behind the Cathedral, which was empty, and clear the car park, allowing those attending the Christingle service space in our car park. The Marshall family provided a musical accompaniment to the carol singing with a brass quartet. 

Fifth Sunday of Advent: Friday 23rd December 2016

4Having celebrated the first Friday/weekend of Advent back at the end of November, we’d run out of Fridays of Advent with no fifth Advent candle to light! I’d already had an e-mail conversation with Paul Davies in Epiphany Church, Doha asking what we were going to do that Friday and I wonder what other churches did in the Gulf… In a much shortened service, we focused on the Annunciation to Mary in Luke’s Gospel as last weekend we had the Annunciation to Joseph in Matthew’s Gospel in our lectionary readings. 5It was lovely too to have Richard Marshall playing the piano and Edward Marshall singing the beautiful carol On the way to Bethlehem. Following the service most of the congregation headed to The Deanery garden to make Christingles in preparation for the Christmas Eve Service the following day.

The New Building Appeal continues to be a source of great encouragement with BD67,000
6given or pledged to be given in the coming year. The various groups who worship on the compound are now beginning to respond too: Maranatha Church pledging BD1,500 a few days ago, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church giving BD1,000 yesterday, and the promise of more to come, and an individual member of another group this morning offering end of year high quality shoes to be sold to support the project, probably through the day on one Friday. There does seem to be an unstoppable momentum to the project, which has caught a wave of enthusiasm which has released a generosity beyond our wildest imagination. Thanks be to God!