I have surprised many people in my life, sometimes even on purpose. I love arranging such things and have many stories to tell. Generally in my life when I have a surprise come at me it’s because something unexpected happens at church – the children’s talk brings a reply I didn’t expect, or I turn up at an event to find I am the main speaker, and I sort of work with it. Surprises often involve keeping secrets but I have various spies that keep me informed – caretakers who speak different languages and, well…understand what the man begging for help said to his neighbor while talking to me, office staff from different backgrounds…who know things, a quiet wife who people forget is just standing in a group…hearing things, a congregation who work all over town…and tell me things about Dubai that the media never tells. It has been of huge help to me as a priest to then be able to help people in need, to deal with contractors working on the church building, to know of pastoral sensitivities in the congregation, and to know the life of Dubai.
But…what if they ALL decided NOT to tell me something and successfully deleted emails inadvertently sent to the Administrator (I have been checking them along with our weddings secretary and caretaker to cope with the difficulties since Helen moved in October), and successfully didn’t start whispering when I drew near at church refreshments, and wifely confidences didn’t mention it, and children kept silent?
Well then you’d end up with a vicar expecting a quiet evening with his former administrator and talented musician husband and delightful family, chilling by the fire with a glass of juice…and finding no cars parked outside in the street other than normal, no one else in the house, no one else in the garden…because 80 or so scheming secret holders are hiding in the maids room ready to flood out and give him a surprise worthy of Christ Church Jebel Ali teamed up with Christ Church Academic City!!!
Tim Heaney’s got his work cut out when he arrives in February, God bless him. God knows I’ve enjoyed a lot in this chaplaincy amongst it’s trials, in every single church in the chaplaincy, but my own family of CCJA and CCAC pulled off a surprise they can be really proud of with this! Thank you so much everybody – you did so well at pretending that your farewells to me in church were the last time we’d meet in Dubai – I really didn’t have a clue. I am so proud of you all! Thank you again!
To join this amazing congregation, just turn up on Fridays 9.30am in Jebel Ali, Saturdays 9.30am in Academic City, or Sundays 7.30pm in Jebel Ali. Location map is here.