Christ Church Aden

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As of today the situation in Aden is that all the windows of Christ Church, its associated clinic, and the guesthouse have been blown out as a result of blast waves from sustained shelling on the mountain that dominates our compound in Tawahi.  But we are told that all our staff are safe so far, and for that we thank God.  The general state of Aden is terrible: lack of fuel means lack of electricity, and telecommunications and even basic movement around the large city have become hugely difficult.  Food is limited, and money to buy it even more so.

Our administrator is very thankful for the many prayers that he knows have been made for him, for all who work at Ras Morbat, and for the people of Aden and the Yemen as a whole, a country sorely abused by those with the power, if they chose to use, to promote the common good to the glory of God.

+ Michael Cyprus & the Gulf

Easter message from Bishop Michael

As we prepare to enter the Great Three Days that bring Holy Week to its climax at Easter, my warm greetings to all in and beyond our Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf.

May our watchful keeping of Holy or Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday and our celebration of Easter Day bring us ever closer to God in Christ and take us ever deeper into the mystery of faith.

Hold in your prayers all for whom Lent, Holy Week, and Easter have this year been times of anxiety, especially our congregations at Christ Church Aden in the Yemen and at St George Baghdad in Iraq.  May all of us, through good days and bad, praise the Lord of life, death, and life eternal.  

+ Michael
St Christopher’s Cathedral
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

Prayer Request

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

I am very sad to inform you that the situation in Yemen has been deteriorating very seriously. The Houthi rebels have been in control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa since September 2014. Among twenty one provinces, nine provinces were captured by Houthis. In this situation Yemen’s President Hadi asked for support from regional powers. Saudi Arabia and the coalition of ten other Arab countries have begun air raids and shelling on Houthi positions of control. 1,50,000 troops are ready to launch operations and hundreds of Saudi’s war planes launched air strikes against Houthis in Yemen. Today all airports and sea ports are closed in Yemen.

Today Mansour shared that during this time of war robbery, looting and plundering have been increasing in public and private properties in all parts of Aden. The Presidential palace in Aden was plundered yesterday and all the materials were looted away. In this situation to safeguard our Church, Clinic and our property, we have deployed more security personnel in the campus. On Wednesday morning from 10.00 am local time the Eye Clinic remains closed indefinitely. Moreover, all Education Institutions and Government offices also remain closed now. Fierce fights are going on, not only in the neighboring cities but also in Aden, nearly 2 km away from our Church.

The situation in Yemen forced us to leave Aden and now Vijaya and I are in India. On the last Friday, the worship service could not be conducted in Christ Church. However, so far the Christ Church and the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic are not affected with any serious problems.

The people of Aden are in a state of insecurity and there is no peace due to unjust social order followed by  war. Today I contacted the staff in the clinic, maintenance staff and all the members of the Christ Church over phone and encouraged them to face the difficult situation in God’s name.

Kindly pray for peace and security for all in Yemen and its people particularly the ministry of the Christ Church and the Ras Morbat Clinic and members of the congregation.

I would be very grateful to you, if you could remember us and the Christ Church in your family prayers and as a congregation in tomorrow’s worship service.

Thanking you,

With prayers

Fr. Velvet and Vijaya.

Aden Update

The political problems in Yemen are only now featuring in the international news headlines. It has taken some real effort to track the developments in Yemen over the past three months in English language media, but the increasing unrest has now progressed toward outright civil war. Houthi troups loyal to former President Saleh have swept down from Sanaa and are in the process of taking over Aden. President Hadi’s exact whereabouts are unknown – he is purported to have fled the country but his supporters maintain his is still in control of Aden. As Saudi-led coalition air strike bombards Sanaa the crisis deepens into a proxy war between other Middle East countries who fear each others’ influence.  Coupled with strong sentiment among many in the south that a return to divided Yemen is the solution of their local problems, the present conflict has many layers and complexities.

Until the last couple of days when shooting and looting have become more widespread, the clinic in Aden has continued to operate as normal, seeing 40-50 patients each day. The staff show courage and tenacity enabling the clinic to continue to serve the Yemeni people. There has been no fighting in the area immediately around the clinic. Fr Velvet and Vijaya returned to India for the time being because everyone involved felt that the presence of foreigners on the property increased the risk for everyone. The church community however continue to meet on Fridays when they can travel freely in the city.

There are strikes and demonstrations in Aden. There has been an arial bombardment of the residence where President Hadi was staying but we are told nobody was hurt. There has been armed conflict between government fighters and supporters of the Houthi movement. It is clear that a civil war will be inconclusive and only deepen the confusion, poverty and basic survival factors for the Yemeni people throughout the country. What’s more, it will also give more scope for IS and AQAP to extend their influence among the tribes.

As always, we covet the prayers of our friends and supporters. Please pray for the eventuality of reconciliation and lasting peace. Please remember that there are many Christians in the country from African and subcontinent nationalities who are also caught up in the unrest and insecurity. Pray too for the safety of the staff as they travel to and from work, and for the church community as they have some distance to travel to meet with other believers. We think of them especially as they celebrate Easter.

May God continue to work in and through his people to reflect his righteousness and peace.

Aden Update March 2015

Fr Velvet and Vijaya are currently in India with bookings to return in a month.

With the decision to relocate the President’s office to Aden and reconstitute the recognised government from the presidential office in Aden, a period of confusion and some fighting erupted in the streets of Aden. The government is in the process of consolidating power. Of course, there is a lot of firing in the air as well, which is also very dangerous. There is considerable uncertainty about peace and security in Yemen as a whole and in Aden at the moment. If the government is successful in re-establishing itself, civil security in Aden will return to normal soon and it will be possible for Velvet and Vijaya to return after things settle down.

Mansour continues to watch over the Christ Church compound and clinic. The clinic is functioning more or less normally. Because the area around the clinic is largely military (naval) there is less likelihood of rioting in the immediate vicinity of Christ Church unless civil (and military) authority collapses entirely. There is still a credible threat from Al Qa’eda supporters, and there was an assassination of a high military official recently in Aden. Mansour is advising us of the security situation as it evolves. We covet prayers for Yemen, its people, for peace and security for all, but also for our staff and their families and for the ongoing work of the clinic where people continue to be received and treated as an expression of God’s care for them.

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