“Pioneer in ‘Paradise'”

The following article is taken from the September/October issue of INSPIRE Magazine, the UK’s biggest reach good news magazine telling stories of God at work, and is used with kind permission.

How Rev Wendy Hough is working with her Anglican church in Northern Cyprus to be a force for good in the community


APHRODITE’S island of love. Could this be the most entrancing place in the world to do God’s work?

Wendy Hough certainly thought so when she became Chaplain of St. Andrew’s Church in Kyrenia.

“I felt particularly blessed to be appointed the first female priest in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf,” she says, “and even more so when St. Andrew’s became my church.”

St. Andrew’s is a tiny whitewashed church overlooking the castle and mosque with the Mediterranean Sea sparkling between. My first encounter with Wendy was at the Mothering Sunday service when posies of spring flowers and a simnel cake were distributed. It encompassed her warmth, sense of theatre and delight in the liturgy.

Meeting her later, I was curious to learn about the spiritual path that had led her to this appointment.

“I was brought up in the Methodist Church,” she explains. “I initially trained as a speech and drama teacher and turned my back on the Church. However, I always felt a sense of God’s presence.

“Later, as a theology student in Bristol, I grew to love the reverence and symbolism in the Anglo-Catholic Church. I was finally ordained in 2000 in Brussels.

“Prior to this I had been the lay chaplain at a hospice in Amsterdam, working with street people, prostitutes and drug addicts. It was while doing this work that I had a clear sense of my calling to serve God.”

How did she approach her new role as Chaplain of St. Andrew’s?

“I was used to working with the expatriate community during my early ministry in The Hague and Bern. The demographic in Northern Cyprus is very different as this is a  predominantly Muslim area. We also have many other nationalities within the diocese.

“I knew that as a single woman there would be challenges. Here, my aim has been to make the church more inclusive. We should be open to all, regardless of race or religious conviction.

“Working for change has ruffled feathers. But it’s essential that the church moves forward to be seen as a force for good in the community.

“St. Andrew’s is buzzing with our ‘Sundaze’ service for young people and families, and the African community, who enjoy a more evangelical approach, worship here also.

“Numerous Africans, such as our crucifix bearers and choir members, are now actively involved in Anglican services.

“Recently we were delighted when a group of young Turkish soldiers joined a service.”

Wendy’s role has also involved her in issues beyond her church.

“I feel hugely privileged to participate in a committee of religious leaders, albeit as the token woman! Our periodic interfaith conference enables us to discuss issues that concern us all – conflict resolution in particular.

“I was also very proud to have contributed to an interfaith statement condemning the use of violence against women in Cyprus.”

How has she been received?

“Wonderfully. I could not have been made more welcome, especially by our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

Since she has been here Wendy has become concerned by the hidden poverty on this island paradise. “Even among the expatriates, surprisingly,” she points out.

“Additionally, African student are lured here expecting to find work to help finance their studies. This just isn’t true and there are many incidences of real hardship. We as a church are working to address this.”

After almost three years, this committed, self-styled pioneer feels there is still much to do to see the church grow, and to involve people from all backgrounds. As one of her congregation whispered to me: “They don’t know how lucky they are. She’s inspirational.”

That early training in speech and drama, which brings her services to life, is leading her to contemplate the delights of creating a drama or even a series about the life of St. Andrew’s.

“Rather on the lines of The Vicar of Dibley – or even Rev,” she suggested, mischievously.

Perhaps the next series of An Island Parish would be a start.

St. Andrew’s Nouvelle Huile d’Olive!

October is traditionally Harvest Time in many countries in the northern hemisphere, and Cyprus is no different. When we think of the Mediterranean and it’s wonderful, healthy, diet we are often reminded of one of its staple ingredients – olive oil.

In 2009 the garden of the Chaplain’s residence, the Hermitage, was planted with olive trees under the direction of the then Chaplain, the Revd Michael Houston through the generosity of Michael May. The olives are maintained through the hard work of parishioners and friends. It is self-funded and is a fundraising initiative of St. Andrew’s.

Each year “volunteers” come together to gather this bountiful crop to be processed into the outstanding, though not quite yet award-winning, St. Andrew’s brand, available only through the church shop which is open in the Hall each week after the 10.30 a.m. service.

Although the work is hard the reward is great, made easier by those who, though perhaps not able to sustain the rigours of reaching the topmost branches of the trees, provide the pickers (and hangers-on) with wonderful home-made sustenance in the form of delicious refreshments.

Following the harvest the process of getting the oil from the olives is a wonder to behold, especially for those experiencing it for the first time.

After picking and pressing the oil is left to gently settle, awaiting only the tender ministrations of those who, having sacrificed much to gather together sufficient wine (and other!) bottles (“only dark-coloured with a screw top”) decant it into the said bottles for all to savour.

Finally, after much hard work and dedication, the 2017 vintage is ready and is available through the church shop, which is open in the Hall each week after the 10.30 a.m. service.

Parishioners and friends are encouraged to buy their oil at the shop thereby helping to support St. Andrew’s mission in Kyrenia and beyond.

Now also available: Lemon and Chilli flavoured Oils.

Forget Beaujolais Nouveau Day, make today your St. Andrew’s Nouvelle Huile d’Olive Day!

Below you can see some photos of the production of the famous St. Andrew’s Olive Oil from soup (picking) to nuts (bottling), as it were!

Picking the olives

Picking the olives

Refreshments for the pickers

Refreshments for the pickers

Awaiting our turn for pressing

Our olives!

Cleaning out the “dross”

Keeping an eye on things

The final pressed oil ready for settling

The highly mechanised bottling plant!

Who needs robots?

The Final Products


Men’s Breakfast – First Tuesdays

Please note that the Mens’ Breakfast Meeting has been put on hold during the hot season!

It will restart when the weather cools down little. In the meantime enjoy the summer!

All men are welcome to enjoy just a coffee or a full breakfast (English, Turkish, American from the most extensive breakfast menu in Kyrenia) while having the opportunity to discuss or question any aspect of the Christian faith – or just to listen.

Uncle Sam’s can be found on the Girne-Belapais road opposite Starlings supermarket. Turn at the Belapais traffic lights and it is a few hundred yards on the left.

Don’t miss your chance to get a word in on the first Tuesday each month (except August).

For further information or direction tel Steve on 0533 8742076 or email here.

Pentecost 2017

Sunday 4th June 2017 marked the Feast of Pentecost in the Eastern and Western Christian Calendars – so called because it marks the 50th day after Easter Day and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

This day also commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1–31). Some Christians believe this event represents the birth of the Church.

In the United Kingdom this Sunday is also known as “Whitsunday” (from “White Sunday”) and was marked there by a Bank Holiday on the following day (Whit Monday), although this has now been replaced by a fixed holiday on the last Monday in May.

Here in St. Andrew’s the day was celebrated by a Festal Eucharist with the church beautifully decorated with red flowers (red being the traditional liturgical colour for Feast Days associated with the Holy Spirit), and members of the packed congregation being encouraged to wear red for the day! Suffice to say some of the ladies did us proud whilst most of the gentlemen left something to be desired!

Following the service the whole congregation was invited to the Chaplain’s home, the Hermitage, to partake in a wonderful bring-and-share lunch. Parishioners and visitors alike enjoyed the fruits of the labours of so many who had brought so much to share.

Below are some photographs of those who enjoyed this time together – and the delicious victuals!

End of Music Week 2017 with NykkÖ-Michaël Grégoire

St. Andrew’s Music Week 2017 finished with a magnificent Choral Eucharist on Sunday 28th May, the culmination of a wonderful week of music, both choral and instrumental, ably led by St. Andrew’s Director of Music Earl Moffitt and featuring our guest composer and accompanist NykkÖ-Michaël Grégoire and St. Andrew’s Choir.

The week began on Tuesday 23rd May with a Festival of Favourite Hymns hosted by the Chaplain, the Revd Wendy Hough, with NykkÖ as organist and recitalist. The hymns were chosen by members of the congregation. The eclectic mix included such classics as Abide with Me, The Lord’s My Shepherd, Will Your Anchor Hold as well as more modern renditions such as Be Still and Seek Ye First. Included were solo organ pieces: the 1st movement of the Concerto in A minor by Vivaldi/Bach, BWV 593, which Bach arranged from Vivaldi’s Concerto Op. 3 No. 8 from L’Estro Armonico; Andante Tranquillo from Sonata No. 3 by Felix Mendelssohn; and Fanfare (D Major) by Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens. This delightful evening ended with refreshments served in the south transept.

Thursday 25th May 2017 was the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. Although a major feast day in the Church’s Calendar, sadly it seems to have lost its importance in peoples’ minds – perhaps because it falls on a Thursday, 40 days after Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Day.

But in St. Andrews’ it was celebrated by a Festal Choral Eucharist which replaced the normally contemplative regular 10.00am Thursday service of Holy Communion. The Celebrant and Preacher at the service was the Revd Wendy Hough and the hymns chosen were:

  • Opening Hymn  223  All hail the power of Jesu’s name    Miles Lane
  • Gradual Hymn 663 How shall I sing that majesty  Coe Fen
  • Offertory Hymn 231 Look ye saints, the sight is glorious   Regent Square
  • Final Hymn 691  Jesus shall reign where’er the sun   Truro

Once again the music was provided by our guest organist NykkÖ-Michaël Grégoire.

Following the service the choir repaired to the Halfway House Restaurant in Karaman (Karmi) for a delicious lunch organised by choir member Sue Carling. While there the opportunity was taken to celebrate the xxth birthday for one of the more chronologically-gifted and experientially-enhanced choir members Sheila Rose. Not one, but two delicious chocolate cakes were enjoyed by all present.

NykkÖ delighted all, including the young grandson of the restaurant’s proprietors Mehmet and his mother, Yaşın, with tunes on the Duduk, an ancient double-reed woodwind flute made of apricot wood which is indigenous to Armenia and the Bawu,  a Chinese wind instrument which, although shaped like a flute, it is actually a free reed instrument, with a single metal reed (information courtesy of Wikipedia).

On Thursday evening The Ascension Day Concert featured NykkÖ, the St. Andrew’s Church Choir, directed by Earl Moffitt, with John Crothers as organist when NykkÖ accompanied the choir on cello.

The Concert opened with the trumpet tune The Cebell by Henry Purcell, played on the organ by NykkÖ. The Chaplain, the Revd Wendy Hough, welcomed the audience to St. Andrew’s and then the choir sang the Evening Canticle, Hail, gladdening Light (Φῶς Ἱλαρόν) set to music by John Stainer.

This was followed by an audience hymn, the stirring Hail the day that sees him rise by Charles Wesley to the tune Llanfair. This tune formed the foundation for improvisation on the organ by NykkÖ, which he followed with two anonymous pieces Gavotte d’Henri IV and Gavotte de Louis XIV.

NykkÖ then played two beautiful melodies: one from Armenia on the Duduk and one from China on the Bawu.

There then followed the world premiere of Anthem for Kyrenia written by NykkÖ Grégoire especially for the St. Andrew’s Music Week 2017 and dedicated to Earl Moffitt and the Revd Wendy. Sung by the Choir, the piece is based on Hebrews 13:2: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. [KJV], and reflects the ongoing Ministry of Welcome to the whole community here in Kyrenia and beyond being practiced in St. Andrew’s under the Revd Wendy’s leadership. The Choir was accompanied by NykkÖ on the cello and John Crothers on the organ.

The Ascension Day was read by Diana Peek, a member of St. Andrew’s congregation.

Once more the audience joined in singing of the hymn Angel voices, ever singing by Edwin G. Monk, opening flourish and descant by the late John Cooke.

NykkÖ Grégoire then  played the organ piece La Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs by Jean-Baptiste Lully (or Giovanni Battista Lulli).

The Choir then sang three pieces with strong Irish connections:

  • the hymn Let all the world in every corner sing, words by George Herbert arranged by the late Rodney Bambrick, composer and organist and choir master for almost 54 years in Queen’s Parade Methodist Church, Bangor, N. Ireland
  • the hymn How great thou art, translated from the Russian by Stuart K. Hine with verses 1 and 3 arranged by the late Harry Grindle, organist and choir master at St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast for many years
  • ‘How shall they hear’ who have not heard, words by Timothy Dudley-Smith arranged by Canon Martin White, former organist and Master of Choristers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh: 2017, ‘for Earl Moffitt and the choir of St Andrew’s Kyrenia and the Lowry Singers’

Fans of Phantom of the Opera were then entertained to a magnificent rendition of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor by NykkÖ!

The Concert ended with all present singing the hymn Christ triumphant, ever reigning by Michael Saward during which a collection was made for TULIPS, the North Cyprus Help Those With Cancer Association. The sum of TL1087 and Stg£60 was generously donated by those present.

Again the audience repaired to the south transept for refreshments.

As previously intimated St. Andrew’s Music Week 2017 ended with a Choral Eucharist on Sunday 28th May at which once again the Celebrant and Preacher was the Revd Wendy Hough.

The service began with the organ prelude Heut Triumphieret Gottes Sohn., BWV 630 by JS Bach played by NykkÖ Grégoire. This was followed by the Choir Introit, a repeat of Let all the world in every corner sing, words by George Hebert arranged by the late Rodney Bambrick.

The Processional Hymn was Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious by Thomas Kelly to the tune Regent Square.

The Psalm was a rendition by the Choir of verses from Psalm 68, the psalm appointed for the Sunday after the Ascension Day – Easter 7. The setting was by Alison Cadden and follows the Irish theme in that it came from the publication Singing Psalms, Responsorial Psalms set to Simple Chant by Alison and the Revd Dr Peter Thompson, a publication from the Liturgical Advisory Committee of the Church of Ireland.

The Gradual Hymn was O Holy Spirit, Lord of grace, words by Charles Coffin to the tune Tallis’s Ordinal.

Once more the Choir sang How shall they hear’ who have not heard, words by Timothy Dudley-Smith arranged by Canon Martin White.

Diana Peek read the beautiful poem Ascension Day by Christina Rossetti.

The Offertory Hymn was Beauty for brokenness by Graham Kendrick to the eponymous tune.

The Communion Anthem was Father we love you, we worship and adore you, words and music by Donna Adkins, arranged by N Warren with a descant by W Llewellyn.

The Communion Hymn was Abba Father, words and music by Dave Bilbrough, arranged by A F Carver

The Post Communion Hymn was Ascended Christ, who gained the glory that we sing by Christopher M. Idle to the tune Christchurch

Our guest musician  NykkÖ Grégoire played the final organ voluntary Grand Jeu from Livre D’Orgue by Pierre Du Mage which was followed by the Final Hymn Christ triumphant, ever reigning by Michael Saward.

All agreed that this year’s St. Andrew’s Music Week had been a great success and sincere thanks go to all who made it possible, not least Compass Cyprus Chartered Surveyors who sponsored the printing of programs for the Music Week.

But special thanks must go to our guest this year, NykkÖ-Michaël Grégoire.

Archdeacon’s Visitation and Gathering

The annual Archdeacon’s Visitation and Gathering was held in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Nicosia on Saturday 20th May 2017.

Members of the several parishes of the Archdeaconry in Cyprus met together to hear the Archdeacon in Cyprus, the Revd Dr John Holdsworth, give his “state of the union” address and to commission Wardens and Council members following their elections at recent AGMs in the parishes. Click here to see the Archdeacon’s Visitation Charge 2017.

Readers and clergy also reaffirmed their committments in prayer to their ministry within the Diocese.

Following last year’s example parishes were asked to bring a cake representing the diversity of members of their congregations and activities.

Below is the wonderful cake for St. Andrew’s made by the extremely gifted Charlie Inskip, followed by a picture of all of the cakes on the altar of the cathedral before their blessing (and subsequent demolishing by those present after the service!)

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