RCA presents first Samuel Zwemer award to King of Bahrain

Date Posted: 
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

RCA general secretary Tom De Vries presented the inaugural Samuel Zwemer award to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain in a special ceremony yesterday at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.

Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s minister of foreign affairs, accepted the award on the king’s behalf.                                       

The award recognizes more than a century of support from the Bahraini royal family for the American Mission Hospital in Bahrain. The leaders of Bahrain have supported the RCA’s medical work in Bahrain since Samuel Zwemer first started his medical ministry in 1892. Zwemer was one of the RCA’s first missionaries; the hospital still has close ties to the RCA and its mission work.

“Today American Mission Hospital is a thriving care facility in the heart of Bahrain,” says De Vries. “It serves both the Shi’a and Sunni populations of the country, something rare for a health care center in that part of the world, and because of more than a century of service, it maintains the trust of the Bahraini people.”

The hospital has three sites, and will be expanding to two additional sites in the near future to better meet the healthcare needs of Bahrain’s population.

The award ceremony, De Vries says, was “an opportunity to express appreciation for the long history and friendship that the RCA and Bahrain share together, and to encourage a deepening of our relationship as the work of the hospital expands to meet the growing need.”

The ceremony brought together leaders from Bahrain, the American Mission Hospital, and the Reformed Church in America to celebrate this unique partnership. William Roebuck, the United States ambassador to Bahrain, also participated in the celebration.

In a resolution presented at the event, the RCA recognized “the generosity and hospitality of the rulers of Bahrain,” noting that “His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa continues to give the most generous possible support to the expansion of the American Mission Hospital into new sites across the entire kingdom.”

The resolution concluded, “Therefore, be it resolved, that the Reformed Church in America expresses its most profound gratitude and appreciation to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa and to all his royal forebears and to all the people of Bahrain for their generous support for the healing work of the American Mission Hospital.”

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