Once a year synod moderators are joined by their partners for a weekend. During the moderators’ meeting itself partners go off for some sight-seeing, and then share the rest of the weekend together. This year we had to make late changes to where we were going and ended up in Bristol! South Western Moderator was a fantastic host and synod office arranged such an enjoyable itinerary. This included worship on the Sunday at Redlands Park Church. Before arriving, we were already looking forward to meeting the Korean Church which meets there. The service was a fusion of Asian and Western worship, and so too was the lunch which members of both communities had provided. But then we weren’t expecting……..
What we weren’t expecting was the launch of a book telling the amazing story of one of Redland Park’s very special members, Dr Teame Mebrahtu. Teame had been reluctant, too humble to tell his own story but was persuaded and cajoled by his friend, Stan Hazell who has a lifetime in journalism, and so the ideal person to bring this story of an asylum seeker to the attention of the world. It has since been reviewed in Reform, but we were privileged to meet the man and hear of his tale first-hand. It is a tale of many journeys – into the world of Eritrea, far away from life in the West, what it was like to be brought up there. It is also a journey into the hopes and fears of an asylum seeker, the physical journey he took, but then also the challenging journey of becoming accepted and finding a successful life in an alien culture. The biography, “Long Way from Adi Ghehad” is an incredible read because the story is so inspiring. In Eritrea Teame was an academic and teacher trainer, and coming to Bristol eventually became a member of the Graduate School of Education. Whilst adapting to British culture and integrating into it, Teame has kept the integrity of his Eritrean heritage, has helped many refugees, and is a powerful advocate for diverse communities living in harmony and understanding.
Rev Kevin Watson