Over the past month ordinand Tom Pote, with his wife Maria Vittoria, has spent a month on a pastoral placement at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Bahrain. Tom is studying at Westcott House Cambridge and will be ordained to serve as a curate in Guildford in the summer.
As well as regular involvement leading services and preaching, attending wedding interviews and involved in wedding services, involvement in a weekly homegroup and leading the Exploring Faith group on Global Anglicanism, they had the opportunity to experience the Church in the wider context of Bahrain: a visit to the Migrant Workers Protection Society Shelter, a visit to the labour camp, a half-day with US Navy Chaplain Christina Mauntel in the US Navy Base, a morning in the port with Canon Stephen Thanapaul, the Mission to Seafarers’ Chaplain, a visit to the British Embassy with Dean Chris who is Chaplain, a hospital visit, a meeting with prison visitors…. They also had the opportunity of meeting members of the congregation over meals both in their homes and in restaurants. Over the month they were also able to see some of Bahrain’s rich history: visiting the Bahrain Fort and its excellent museum, Shaikh Isa’s house, and the Grand Mosque, which included a visit to meet Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who heads up the King Hamad Global Centre for Global Peaceful Co-existence.
Reflecting on their time in Bahrain Tom wrote: This experience, our first of proper ministry, has challenged, motivated and changed us (not only our waistlines) and we are sure has prepared us very well for Guildford. And it was a wonderful experience too for the cathedral community, who clearly took Tom and Maria Vittoria into their hearts.