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

December 2011

The gravediggers were wreathed in dust as they furiously scraped, shoveled and filled the grave. I was standing only feet away but they were almost invisible in the swirling cloud. For a brief moment I caught sight of a red peaked cap, a yellow T shirt and a raised shovel.

The service at the graveside had been a simple thing. None of the twelve men and women gathered there minutes earlier around the rough plywood box knew or had even seen the deceased except when they collected her from the hospital freezer, put her in the box and loaded her onto the back of the old pick up truck. I had not known or seen her either.

We only learned her name, Shawa, from the death certificate held in the hands of young Abdullah, faithful keeper of the cemetery and gravedigger. The certificate had been issued by the UNHCR, who had phoned the previous evening to say that they had the body of a Christian Ethiopian woman for burial. I then contacted Abdullah to ask him to prepare the grave.

Somehow, the leaders of the Ethiopian congregation, who worship at Christ Church on a Thursday evening, all of whom are refugees, undertook to make a coffin and to help with the burial. And so it was that late yesterday afternoon, as the day cooled and the sun began to set that we buried Shawa. I was very proud of the twelve friends who had come across the city to pray and to help. I have since learned that Shawa had only arrived on the shores of Yemen a few days earlier, having made the dangerous crossing over from Somalia in a little open boat. She had made it to the main refugee camp on the outskirts of Aden where she was found, slumped and semi conscious, lying against the wall of a little clinic. From there she had been brought to the old government hospital in the centre of town where she died soon after admission. She remained lucid long enough to indicate that she was a Christian.

At the graveside, I spoke of Jesus’ teaching about God knowing even when a sparrow dies, and told them God knew and noticed when Shawa died. Alone in death, I thanked those gathered fervently for being her family for the minutes we were there together at her graveside. They had, I said, done a good thing. I know them all.

Today, one of the staff, a local, Yemeni male nurse and Muslim, expressed his sadness at the death of our unknown friend, and offered me a coffin used to transport a relative of his back to Yemen, who had died in Jordan. Muslims bury their loved ones in a shroud, not a box, so the coffin used to transport his uncle remained unused. I know we shall use it, and I expect to soon.

Life here is harsh and often short, but in this environment gestures of kindness and love shine very bright – and they are not rare.

It is good to be here.

Peter & Nancy

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