Fr. Haynes Hubbard was the rector of St. Mark’s from 2012, when he and his family came to the parish after having served in Portugal for five years. He is married to Susan, a registered midwife, and father to Sebastian, Gabriella (both at university) and to Caspian, still at home. Fr. Haynes and Susan have a passion for experiencing life in other contexts, and have engaged that passion by living and working in a number of different countries during their careers.
In January 2020, Fr. Haynes, Susan and Caspian moved to Cairo, Egypt to take on new ministries there.
Fr. Haynes writes:
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
We have not been swallowed by a whale, but we share something of Jonah’s trepidations.
On 7 January, Susan, our thirteen year old son Caspian and I will be boarding a plane and setting off for Cairo, Egypt, where I will become the rector of St. John’s, Maadi (a suburb of Cairo), a parish made up of ex-pats from all over the world living and working in Cairo, an Egyptian congregation worshipping in Arabic, a Sudanese congregation and eight other church congregations who use the space for their worship. Susan will begin working with refugee women from Sudan, teaching women’s health, as well as teaching at African Hope Learning Centre, a school in Cairo for refugee children. Caspian will attend a local international school, and hopefully not miss playing ice hockey too, too much.
It is all a bit more than we had ever planned for or imagined. And we are not quite certain how this came to be, or why God pulled us out of our comfort zone to do this. This is not what we had in mind at all as we contemplated our futures.
But it seems God had.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
Whenever people ask us why we are going we look slightly blank in the face, and mutter, ‘Because we have to. God told us to. This is not our idea. We don’t know yet why we are going. We have to trust God that He will use us there. We hope He will’, and then we try and change the subject. They ask us if we will be safe, and we say ‘we hope so’. They ask us if we are excited and we say ‘we are trying to be’. But to be perfectly honest we are simply slightly in shock that we are leaving a home we love, a parish we have grown deeply in, and a city which is as good as one can find: all for ….. the unknown.
But we cannot shake the feeling that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Even if we are not sure what that is. So it is a bit of an odd situation. Letting God do with us what He wills. We pray that sort of thing; Say that sort of thing; Talk that sort of talk: but to actually do it? To actually give up and give in, to let Him uproot us, take us away from our older children (4th year in BC, 3rd year at Queens) and send us off to … Egypt? Slightly mad. Slightly off. Completely not our decision. We are not against the idea (although doubts zoom about in our heads: Safety. Finances. Children. Future. Our home: repeat, and then again), but it does seem so beyond our scope that simply have to give in, and say, as did poor Jonah, ‘All right God. If you really want us, you look after things.’
And He seems to be doing so.
We will let you know how things transpire, in case you might wonder.”
Fr. Haynes can be contacted at: email@example.com