March 2012

Dr John operating on his cake!

The knife hovered above the eye. Fellow surgeons and other observers of the operation looked on with keen interest. ‘I think it will be a small incision’, said one watching the doctor, knowingly. Another, her mobile phone held high, edged closer to take a photograph and, as the knife lowered, the camera flashed to catch the moment. The cut was made. The doctors and other observers applauded enthusiastically as visiting surgeon and long standing friend of the Eye Clinic, John Sandford Smith, cut the first slice of a great cake on the top of which had been printed a picture of a very large and beautiful eye. He beamed and set to dissecting the rest of the cake for all the staff gathered for mid-morning tea in the community room.

It was a good conclusion to ten days of very intense surgery and training by John, and his thirteenth visit to us. He came first in 2001.

Dr John supervising a trainee surgeon at the Ras Morbat ClinicIt was wonderful to see both clinics – the general medical clinic and the eye clinic buzzing, the courtyard and covered waiting areas bustling. Most eye patients had at least one relative, friend or supporter with them, some as many as three or four. Recreational facilities here are few and a day at the clinic makes for a change. Most came from across the city, ten or fifteen from Dhala, two hours drive away and two from the Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

One hundred and thirty seven cataract operations were carried out. Most were performed by John but five or six each day were done by our local Yemeni surgeons under supervision. John is confident that Dr Loween, the senior one, can handle ten or twelve cases each week now on her own.

Over the next three months we hope to welcome back two other surgeons for further short stints of operating and training – an exciting and encouraging prospect.

Operations ceased for two days for ‘the election’ We flew in the day afterwards to see many streets covered with debris, burnt tyres, rubble, bricks and broken glass from  the noisy protests and shooting that accompanied election day. The familiar stern and swarthy face of previous president Saleh has disappeared from all public places to be replaced by the more benign face of his successor Abdrabba Mansour Hadi. Opinions on the future of the nation are as varied as the people one talks to. For the moment there is a welcome breathing space from strife and agitation. It may be short.

Yesterday, Friday, we worshipped together in the morning, just eight adults and four children – Filipino, Eritrean, Pakistani, Ethiopian, Indian and ourselves. We sometimes wonder what nationality we are! We whooped with joy to learn Wales had beaten England in the rugby recently, which must indicate some loyalty there! In our worship we followed loosely the order of worship for Morning Prayer. A space for open praying was quickly filled with fervent praises and prayers for Yemen and Syria, and after the blessing at the end there was a request for ‘more singing’. The redoubtable and self deprecating surgeon John had accompanied the worship with his clarinet. We thought it was great. Afterwards, Sameera from the congregation roasted, ground and poured Ethiopian coffee. Today the aroma still lingers – deliciously.

The weather is warming to the high seventies and thankfully there’s little humidity. Two snakes were spotted in the garden last week. (We have never seen one in the country). The guard asked for dried red chili to chase them away. You learn something new every day!

With our warmest thanks for your support and interest & our very best wishes in Christ.

Peter & Nancy

Presidential Address to Synod 2012

The one annual synod of the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf always takes place in the afterglow of Christmas and Epiphany.  And it is an afterglow.  Those feasts, and even more the events they commemorate and the realities they signify, are bathed in light.  Christ our light came at Christmas.  His brightness was a revelation and an epiphany for those who had eyes to see:  the shepherds, the magi, later John his cousin at the Jordan and Mary his mother at the wedding in Cana.  They saw light.  The official end of the season is Candlemas, the feast of his presentation in the Jerusalem Temple, when two old people, Simeon and Anna, recognised that he was light and he was glory.  Our synod happens in the afterglow of that. read on

The Reverend Catherine Dawkins & The Reverend Nigel Dawkins

Revd Catherine and Revd Nigel DawkinsThe Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf, the Rt Revd Michael Lewis, announces that that the Revd Catherine Dawkins, currently licensed non-stipendiary priest in the Chaplaincy of Dubai with Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, is to resign in order to move to the UK to become Clerk to Marshall’s Charity, which makes grants for parsonages and churches in the Church of England and is also an educational foundation. She will begin her work in March.

Her husband, the Revd Nigel Dawkins, at present Chaplain, Mission to Seafarers in Dubai, will leave his post in April to work in the UK on ideas in the field of web-based theological education.

The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf wishes them well in their future life and ministry.

+Michael Cyprus and the Gulf

The Reverend Harrison Chinnakumar

Reverend Harrison ChinnakumarThe Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf, the Rt Revd Michael Lewis, is pleased to announce the appointment of the Revd Harrison Chinnakumar as Anglican Chaplain of St Paul Kuwait.

Fr Harrison was ordained in the Diocese of Nagpur in India and has extensive experience as missionary and pastoral parish priest. His present post is in the area of human rights as director of community relations with the International Justice Mission, Bangalore. His principal languages are Tamil, Hindi, and English.

Harrison Chinnakumar is married to Selvarani, a teacher of mathematics and economics. Their children are Gracia, 13, and Ephrald, 10.

The licensing and institution will take place soon after Easter. Please pray for Harrison and his family, for the chaplaincy of St Paul’s, and for all who live and work in Kuwait.

+Michael Cyprus and the Gulf

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