From Rev Fiona Gardner in Hyderabad
What an amazing weekend, full of visits, opportunities to worship, to listen, to make new friends. We feel very blessed at the kindness and love shown to us by the people of the Diocese of Hyderbad
. We have also heard some inspiring testimonies from people, as to what their faith means to them.
On Sunday morning, the Very Reverend Bill Hewitt went with Bill Gray to preach at Raj Wadhawa Mall Church in Rattanabad (see left). The translator for the morning, was also called Bill! It was quite a journey to a church outside Hyderbad itself.
Our Moderator Rev Tom Pollock preached at St Philips Church, and looked amazing in his full robes. He was very moved by the warm welcome he received by the pastor and people, and the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist.
I went to preach at St Andrew's Church at Latifabad, and again I was very humbled by everyone's kindness. I had the special privilege of baptising a beautiful baby boy, which was really inspirational.
We had two presentations over the weekend, one from the representatives of the Diocesan Youth Desk, and one from the Woman's Fellowship. The young people worked together to strategically co-ordinate youth work - age 15 to 35 - in the Diocese, and they were a dynamic and talented group of young people. Two areas of work that was highlighted were creative storytelling, and the power of music. Some of the young people played modern hymns they had composed,
and everyone enjoyed this special time together.
The women were equally inspirational, and told us of their work in organising Woman's Fellowship groups in each parish, speaking passionately about their desire to help empower and equip women in the church. We heard of ministries to Christian nurses, and plans to bring women together to teach new skills and to learn more of the Bible. A number of ladies worked in tribal areas, and were offering support to women facing difficult problems, to tackle literacy issues, and to
empower women in financial matters. There was also much information about leading Sunday schools, and plans for a Diocesan picnic!
In between times, we visited Hyderbad Museum to learn more of the history of the region, and visited one of the oldest churches in Sindh - Kotri Church, built in 1847 (see right).
This church had British and Scottish connections, as people had been out at Kotri to help build the nearby railway line over a stretch of the river Indus (see left).
We have had wonderful hosts, who have guided us, and been very concerned for our health and wellbeing. We have tried many delicious foods, and have greatly benefitted from meeting so many people.
Will update you again in a few days. Shukria - Urdu for 'thank you' - and please keep us in your prayers.