Dean's Blog

Dean’s Blog – June 2017

H20 – a Year Three Cantata: Monday 5th June 2017

01It was good to be at the Year 3 Cantata H2O at St Christopher’s School, each class performing one song which followed the journey of water through the hydrological cycle. There was lots of enthusiasm from the children and their watching parents, clear diction and as well as lively songs, this was a good way of learning about H20. And it was good to see one of our Cathedral members, Elaine, directing the music.

Lunch with French Ambassador: Tuesday 6th June 2017

02I had invited HE Bernard Régnauld-Fabre to our Living Room Dialogue when Vickie Hudson was speaking on The Role of the Church in the conflict in Ukraine. He was unable to come but was interested to receive a copy of Vickie’s paper. So Vickie, Tricia and I had a very pleasant lunch at the Ambassador’s residence, an opportunity for him to quiz Vickie on her paper. He clearly has an informed interest in the Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe.

Qatar Shutdown: Wednesday 7th June 2017

03News of the diplomatic isolation of Qatar and the closure of Bahrain airport to Qatar Airlines brought with it a rush to the Qatar Airlines Office for those, like us, who’d bought tickets home for our summer leave when Qatar Airlines was making some very good offers. Reading the paper at 7.30am that the airline’s offices in Bahrain would also be closed in twenty-four hours, I headed straight to Seef and joined the growing crowds. Having made the booking online, the supervisor said that his on-line bookings man would soon be out and I found myself at the head of the queue and back home by 8.30am with an e-mailed reassurance that a refund was being processed. I felt sorry for all the staff, who were perhaps working their last day in the office under huge pressures and in as calm and professional manner as possible and for mothers with small children in tow in a bewildering environment. We are now booked on BA at rather higher costs and we hope their computer systems don’t go into meltdown!

Spirituals and hymns concert from the Manama Singers: Thursday 8th June 2017

04This was the final concert for Elizabeth George on the night before her departure , but also the final concert for Musical Director Leah Churchill and accompanist Gavin Stewart after three years with the choir and clearly an emotional event for them. The audience enjoyed a selection of hymns and spirituals, many of them arranged by Leah Churchill. This concert marks the end of the Cathedral concert season.


Farewells and Welcomes

Over the last few weeks we have had two significant farewells for:

The Lucas familyJean-Baptiste, Jennifer, Valentine, Victor and Zoe – who will be going to London and Elizabeth George

There will be more farewells to come: Brooke, Aaron and Philip Hoff and Andy, Jo, Shauna and Kathleen Holland.

Thankfully traffic is not all one way and even on Friday there was a new family, who wrote in response to a welcoming e-mail:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It’s wonderful to have been at Church today. It was great meeting everyone.                                                                                                             We will be joining you again. It was especially nice to see so many children.

It shows how important a warm and welcoming community is and how all of us need to be looking out for those who are new in order to welcome them into our community.

Living Room Dialogue: Sunday 8th June 2017

05We had an excellent Living room dialogue with US Navy Chaplain Victoria Chappell currently with the US Marine Corps, who reflected on the journey of her vocation and encouraged us to do the same.


Clergy and Spouses Conference in Ras Al Khaimah: 13-15th June 2017

06Stephen, Tricia and I attended this event and it was good to see both Jon and Karen Lavelle flourishing in their new surrounds. We stayed in the Coptic Church, worshipped in St Luke’s and went out to a Mexican and Italian restaurant on successive evenings. As Chair of the House of Clergy I had to chair the various sessions, one of which was sharing liturgies that had worked effectively in our own settings. One of the locums, visiting from the US, particularly commented on the unity of the Gulf Clergy, which is always encouraging! Bishop Michael joined us for the conference, which was encouraging too.

Old Friends: Friday 16th June 2017

07It was lovely to meet up with a friend, Suzanne, from our previous parish in Kent in the UK, who is here as a Royal Navy Reservist. She is working in the media in the combined Naval Force based in Bahrain under a Japanese Admiral, so she has been learning some Japanese as well as building on other skills. We met for a swim and a meal at the British Club.