Dean's Blog

Dean’s Blog – May 2018

Public holiday in Bahrain: Tuesday 1st May 2018

001It’s a public holiday in Bahrain and many of the church groups that use our compound are having services today. At 7am there were excited gatherings of people and our own Tamil-speaking congregation had a day out based in a villa in Janabiyah, rented out for such functions. It had all that was required: places to sit, and tables to eat at; a quiet street in which to play competitive cricket, though several balls must have gone missing, and a small swimming pool with a shallower paddling pool for younger children. I headed down there in time to join the cricket, have a swim and share in lunch, an excellent meal served on banana leaves and eaten with fingers, which saved a lot of washing up and spared the environment of plastic plates and cutlery. I learnt which way the banana leaf should be folded at the end of the meal, (topside over the lower side) though apparently at funerals it is the opposite way. An enjoyable day!


Violin and flute Duo: Thursday 3rd May 2018

002Two fine musicians: David Hlawiczka on violin and Ahmed Al Ghanem on flute combined together for a concert of beautiful music before a small, but very appreciative, audience at St Christopher’s Cathedral. Their programme included a repertoire of pieces by Furstenau, Gluck Wetzger, Loeillet, WF Bach and Beethoven. They finished with an encore – Traumerie by Schumann as they wished the audience to leave with good dreams.




Cyprus – Retreat and Meetings: Sunday 6th – Thursday 10th May 2018

003One of the joys of going to Cyprus for diocesan meetings is that it occasionally provides an opportunity to spend a couple of days to stay at Katafiyio, the Diocesan retreat house in Kapedes, a village in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains. It’s a very calm environment, providing quiet for prayer, reflection and study, and opportunities for walks out in the hills. 004I went back to a book I’d not read for a while, The Go-between God,  a classic work on the Holy Spirit and Christian Mission by John V Taylor, and had opportunity to continue reading about The Romanovs, a lengthy, but very readable, history about the Russian royal family by Simon Sebag Montefiore. I am grateful to The Diocese for their commitment to Katafiyio and to Maggie le Roy and the Barnabas team for their encouragement of people to use it and Adrian and Stella for their gracious care of it and those who use it.



St Christopher’s Day Dinner: Friday 11th May 2018 

005Our ninth St Christopher’s Day Dinner took place in the British Club and once again we had a over a hundred people attending what was a good three-course dinner for a very reasonable price and with an excellent speaker. This year we welcomed Marietta Dias, a founder member and now the Chairperson of the Migrant Workers Protection Society, which has gained such respect in Bahrain for its work both to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers from many different countries and seek to respond to their needs, including the running of a women’s shelter. 006

For the first time this year, following the speaker and some time to absorb Marietta’s challenges to us as a community to be among those who respond to the needs of migrant workers, we had a disco which several people enjoyed including our speaker.


Dr Monika Nagel: Sunday 13th May

007When I was in Cyprus I got a message that our Living Room Dialogue speaker could not make it for Sunday, but I am grateful that Dr Monika Nagel, a visiting occupational psychologist from Perth, Western Australia, was willing to step in at short notice and a lively discussion followed her presentation. She is the author of Fatal Cocktails  and her interest is social behaviour and a decline in peoples’ (especially in the Westernized world) values is the most crucial factor for causing so many dilemmas around the world.



Sandstorms hit Bahrain

008For several days we have been hit by sandstorms and the papers have been full of warnings of the need to keep inside, especially if you have allergies to dust. Mostly I can keep inside but like many others I’m sure I have been struggling with the dust and am currently without much voice. It’s meant I have been able to catch up on a few other things – including updating this blog- though by the afternoon I need to rest for a while.