Friday 1 February 2019

Abu Dhabi report

The view from the apartment window!
Last week Roger and Mick (CMM Trustee) visited Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for an investigative trip to discover whether it will be right to hold a mission there with the musical 'Rock' in November 2019.

Mick and Rev Gill Nisbet
The invitation originally came from Rev Gill Nisbet, one of the members of staff at St Andrew's Anglican Church in Abu Dhabi.  Gill used to be a member of the Lee Abbey community in the 1980s and in the 1990s brought her family to a CMM music week.  She met Roger and Mick by chance when they were visiting the synod of Cyprus and the Gulf in February 2018.  They told her about their plans for a musical mission to Cyprus (which took place in November 2018).  She met with them the following day and expressed an interest for the same thing to happen in Abu Dhabi.  Roger, in sharing all that would need to happen in preparation, didn't make it easy for them, but when he returned to the UK from Cyprus found an email waiting for him with a formal invitation.

Rev Charlee and some folk at Al Ain
Ironically on this visit there were no musical performances, but instead Roger led four seminars on music in worship and preached on a further two occasions.  The majority of the visit was at St Andrew's in Abu Dhabi - a large Anglican church in the centre of the city.  About 40 different congregations meet there each week from various language groups and Christian traditions.  The other part of the visit was 2 hours away in Al Ain at St Thomas' Anglican Church.  They currently meet in a disused golf club while they raise money to build their own church.  Both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are incredibly multi-cultural with workers from overseas making up 85% of the population. 

Worship Works at St Andrews
Roger covered themes such as 'Psalms, hymns and songs', 'Creative and prophetic worship' and 'Enter his gates - worship in the Tabernacle shape' in his seminars.  He was mostly working alone although he found some local people to support him including a lovely vocalist, a drummer and a bass player at St Andrews and a viola player and ukulele player in Al Ain.  Roger loved encouraging them with their improvisation, and one person was even willing to sing out a prophetic word.  He was also able to share some words of knowledge that had been received here in the UK ahead of the visit which were claimed.

Roger and Mick with Rev Andy
The vicar of St Andrews, Andy Thompson, is very much a 'big picture' man and is very excited about the prospect of a mission later in the year.  He facilitated Roger sharing a presentation on using musicals in mission at both the PCC and a meeting of 40 or 50 pastors where a good number signed up for further information.  Roger currently feels that if the door opens we probably should go through it, but we need to keep constantly weighing it up before God.  The next step lies with the folks at Abu Dhabi to pray and decide what to do.

There is an interesting climate out there at the moment, as the Sheikh has declared 2019 to be a 'year of tolerance', however churches must not be seen to be proselytising.  One of the joys of taking the musical Rock is that it speaks for itself.  Next week the pope is visiting Abu Dhabi and they are expecting 150000 Catholics to congregate.  Please be praying for that country and the people there.
More from Worship Works at St Andrews

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