The Last Day

three-wise-men-hiWe’ve come to the last full day in Dubai as residents! What a year it has been! This morning driving to K9 Friends to give Bethany one last morning helping out there was a magical view of a line of lorries leaving the industrial area, silhouetted against the sky in the thin mist that was over everything. When I got to the Green Community Roundabout on the way home there in front of me was two tiers of lorries sillouetted against the same background – one on the roundabout, on on the left turn bridge above, the business of Dubai continuing on while people sleep (in the case of some of our family) or work (probably you, dear reader). I’m not working. I’m waiting for the men to come and pack our belongings up. They are just over four hours late so far but assure us that they will come. It’s why I’ve got time to write a last post on ‘Steve’s Blog’ on the Christ Church website, with the sound of birdsong in my ears, the balcony doors flung open this beautiful December afternoon :-) . The chaplain’s laptop, with email address and facebook is now behind me, handed on. When I log off this entry, the website too will not have me logging in again. I am so glad that Tim and Diane are coming here – they will be good for this place, of that I am sure. Do pray for them as they take January as a break between Holy Trinity and Christ Church – they sorely need it – although they are not leaving Dubai or the chaplaincy, they do need now to rest, let go, refocus and take up the new task ahead.

There are many uncertainties here. There are a number of people here who are being called on to exercise a trust in God that goes beyond normal everyday faith. May they find the peace which passes all understanding, and a focus in prayer that brings them close to God as they so sincerely pray for the different uncertainties to be settling where it will be good for the gospel.

Memories of that last party linger on. What a laugh! There is so much good about Dubai and the churches in this place. We are part of the fabric of what makes Dubai good – This has been my motto all my time here, and I pray that the colour of our skein may be visible and delightful in the finished cloth. Each person of each congregation working in so many different places in our city gives a little light to each person they come into contact with. We are together the body of Christ, but you who work out in town have a greater opportunity to show your faith to those who do not know what a devout Christian believes, and talk to those who ask you about it. You will often find you have much to learn from those around you, and common cause with those of other faiths who find increasing secularisation so distressing. I have been doing my part too to be part of the fabric of what makes this place good and to try to stir others to think about God and to turn their lives towards him – it has been my delight to have more services filled with non-church people than many an evangelist could dream of, in baptisms, weddings and funerals! Welcoming those who have requested Christian prayers, we welcome also their friends and family who often as not haven’t a clue as to what to do in church.It is a time to open their eyes to a peace that passes all understanding, and the repentance necessary for some to benefit from it.

To all of them, and to you, I say, come to church more often! Church going isn’t what saves you or what God particularly delights in, but it reminds you of what you want to be and teaches you how to do it. You, who were so beautiful that God created you, surely would want to be a delight to him as he looks down from heaven and watches you live, and love, and forgive. Come to church and find out how and see it modelled for you 😉

This next weekend we are celebrating Epiphany, the feast day celebrating the wise men who came to Jesus. Wise men still do of course, on Friday mornings 9.30am Jebel Ali, Saturday mornings 9.30am Academic City, and Sunday evenings 7.30pm Jebel Ali – directions are here 😉

I hope the packers have come by the time we leave. It’s now 5 hours late and we leave in 12 hours. I guess I should get off this wretched screen and give them another call.

See you in heaven if not before.

Steve

Holy Week Services

Join us in Holy Week

Friday 11th April: 9.30am
Palm Friday bring your palm leaves to wave

Saturday 12th April: 9.30am
Palm Saturday in our Academic City Church

Sunday 13th April: 7.30pm Bishop Michael presiding
Palm Sunday bring your palm leaves to wave

Monday 14th April: 7.30pm
Bystander Lazarus – Holy Communion

Tuesday 15th April: 7.30pm
Bystander Philip – Holy Communion

Wednesday 16th April: 7.30pm
Bystander Peter – Evening Prayers with Bishop Michael

Thursday 17th April: 7.30pm
Maundy Thursday – Bystanders Included

Friday 18th April: 9.30am
Good Friday – Bystanders Involved

Saturday 19th: 9.30am
Special Service at our Academic City Church

Easter Sunday, 20th April

4.30am Easter Vigil Readings

5.30am Easter Dawn Service

9.30am Easter Morning Service

7.30pm The Late Comers’ Mass

Holy Week Services

Gitex Labyrinth

LG

I have just had an exciting evening in what is billed as the region’s biggest electronics extravaganza: Gitex, in the Dubai World Trade Centre (Excite, Engage, Explore!), with over 30,000 different gadgets to go for! They employ lots of in-your-face sales techniques designed for the mostly male shoppers there to show the attractiveness of their product: I so wanted to please the smiling girl on the Samsung stall who looked into my eyes to entice me to juggle two tennis balls to win a new TV but, alas, I didn’t have all evening and there were two others in shimmering blue satin gowns giving out leaflets I had to see, and every stall showing off its speaker system with loud music or shouts of ‘this amazing chance to win/offer to buy is only open for the next 20 minutes’. The best product was on the LG stall – I’ve no idea what they were selling but it must have been good because the wild dancing girls on the big drums just rocked, and the bass was so boomingly cool the body just shook as we passed. We did pause a bit as we passed but Bethany wasn’t so impressed and we moved on. Of course there were hundreds of guys trying to push a forest of advertising into our hands, and the crowds milling and pushing to see the stalls and I was trying to think of what nice spiritual lesson I could bring you from it so I could enjoy telling you all about the labyrinth of noisy market stalls inside that huge hall – this is the Chaplain’s blog after all.

Hmmm. I left with ears ringing, feeling I got my money’s worth – there is an entrance fee for the privilege of shopping in this way – with our bag full of the one thing we went in for plus the half dozen freebies that came with it. We spent the same as we would have spent in our local shop, but in our local shop we wouldn’t have had the freebies or the experience – one of the freebies we might actually use. I’m now looking forward to a phone call saying I have won a very swish looking BMW, a Nikon camera, and an Opel Astra GTC.

And the spiritual lesson and application to church of life? Dancing in church, done that. Leaflets and advertising, pew sheets do that. Attractive congregation to ‘sell’ our faith, ticked that box – though perhaps we could gyrate more to the hymns? I quoted one slogan: Excite, Engage, Explore – perhaps we could do more of that. I see I mentioned a labyrinth and a huge hall. Must be something there. Labyrinth, huge hall, spiritual…Ah yes – Maggie Le-Roy our Diocesan Retreats Facilitator is leading our Christ Church Academic City congregation through a Labyrinth in the big school hall this Saturday at our service there at 9.30am. Turn up on time!

If you want to juggle tennis balls in the hope that we’ll give you a free TV, you are welcome to do so while we have refreshments after the service.

Durufle Requiem – Dubai Chamber Choir

Dubai Chamber Choir - Durufle Requiem at Christ Church Jebel Ali

The Dubai Chamber Choir and a select orchestra will be performing the Durufle Requiem at Christ Church Jebel Ali at

7.45pm

Thursday 7 June

Organist: Paul Griffiths

Conductor: Stuart Squire

No tickets required – entry by donation

COGs update for May

Here is the latest report from Mairead who coordinates the COGs activities at Christ Church:

Our April event was cancelled due to its conflict with Easter so the May event included two month’s collection of lost property plus a considerable amount of donations that were made direct to the church office (for which we were very grateful). We needed two times for sorting; Wed 10am and Wed 6.30 to get through the massive amount of stuff. Many thanks to the 22 people who assisted in this.

So I am very pleased to report that as a result of all the hard work we were able to give double the help to our usually charities – Mission to Seafarers, Arthritis Foundation, Al Ishan Educational Fund and Church Charities so that they won’t miss out.

We have an ever increasing number of regular folk, many of whom are lined up ready to burst into the hall when we open at 10.30. And many thanks to our own volunteers – Harveena & Sanjiv & Arkash, Sarah & Milly, Karen, Dora, the Jolly’s –Martin, Chris, Maddy and Sarah, Jad & Sophie, Rukei& Rukshani, Nok & Poi, Emma & Troy, plus our ever helpful 11 volunteers from Lola in Volunteers in Dubai. Each month our helpers become more independent, take on many new roles and give constructive advice making my part in this much easier, for which I am very grateful. Also many thanks go to Greg who takes the Holy Trinity donations and this month he is going to brave the complicated route to Al Ishan to do their delivery. Jit and Roydon, the church caretakers, are also very helpful.

However our most surprising news this month is that we raised even more due to the enterprising entrepreneurship of Mark Coady. Our favourite hotel had 200 used huge bean bags called Fatboys to dispose of and Mark managed to sell over 140 of them to friends and colleagues. In addition he helped with our huge amount of unsellable beach toys and found a nursery school that could benefit from a car load of them. So many thanks Mark.

Donations this month went to; Al Ishan, Ajman; car load of clothes, towels and toys – this charity supports families who have lost their breadwinner; via Pastor Dinesh a suitcase of assorted clothes for orphans in Ethiopia; Holy Trinity Thrift Shop: The Lord’s Fork Life Truck Company in Sharjah who take soiled towels/clothes; K9 Friends (very old unsellable towels) and finally Lineta gave donation for toys and towels for her Mother and Child Nursery that she hopes to set up in Colombo. We also have a small suitcase full of 270 pairs of spectacles for Christchurch Yemen if you know of anyone who goes there.

Our next sale is Friday 1st June 10.30 til 2pm

Thank you all for your support

Mairead

Pages: 1 2 3