Rev Stephen Wright

The Dubai-dwelling man of God talks shop

The Knowledge

I think people here miss the feeling of being in a small community, and I wish I could think of a way to re-develop that sense of belonging in the city’s many different neighbourhoods.

One place that seems to do well is Mirdif – there’s a good sense of kinship around Uptown. We encourage our congregation to foster friendships – the church is a great place to establish social networks.

The growth of Dubai into a city means you can’t know about everything that’s going on – which is a problem when you’re planning Church events.

We have 26 congregations in 13 languages across Dubai, so I meet all sorts of people. Our pastors go to labour camps, and we encourage practical help. We had a shoebox campaign at Christmas and we distributed nearly 4,000 packages of food, clothes and phonecards to workers.

A lot of people do moan about Dubai, but I think it is just different – and if you were in another country, you would have another set of problems to deal with. It has grown so fast over the past decade and you have to see things with that in mind.

I enjoy ice skating, swimming and shopping – the standard Dubai pastimes!

My advice to any newcomer is to take things steady – things will fall into place. Loneliness is a big factor here, but it is possible to reach out and make new friends from all over the world.

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