The request from Bishop Robert for ICS to support the appointment of Mohammad Eghtedarian came out of blue. ICS Council were pleased to be able to provide the funds that were missing to allow Mohammad and his family to move to Ankara and establish a home there.

It has not been an easy process, but we are delighted that he has settled in a flat and started his ministry at St. Nicholas, Ankara. On 4 November, Colin Williams, the Archdeacon for this area, travelled with me and Jim Barker (CMS) to attend the licensing service and spend some time with the church. The whole weekend turned out to be great fun, staying with the Ambassador and enjoying the hospitality of Mohammad and others. 

There was a moment during the service when the penny dropped for me and I realised that I was sat among a hundred people of which eighty percent were Iranian refugees who had endured outrageous hardships to be there. For them the privilege of being able to worship and freely take part in what for us is so normal, was hugely exciting. There was a sense of joy and excitement as Mohammad was licensed and as the congregation were led in Iranian songs of worship.

Afterwards, the young people did what young people across the Middle East and this country do so well and that is to take hundreds of selfies with myself, Colin and Jim. Young and old enjoying jumping in and out of the photographs and laughing and joking in various poses. 

As I write this, I am looking out over the hills of Ankara listening to the call to prayer echoing across the valley. It is a reminder to pray and to hold before God Mohammad and this most important work he is engaged in. We pray for his safety, for his relationship with many and varied people and for success and fruitfulness in his ministry.

Pictured above are, from left to right: Richard Bromley (ICS), Mohammad and family, the ambassador and his wife and Archdeacon Colin Williams.