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Newsletter February March 2010


Home and back

Let’s start with the “back”.  We arrived early Friday afternoon 12 March.  The flights were fine but the bus ride up from Dublin was a killer.  I called our minister to ask if we were committed to houseguests for the weekend and he said “yes” they would be dropped off at 9 or 930.  I wasn’t sure we would last until then, however mercifully, Sandra called and said they were tired and wondered if it was alright to come earlier.  Two social workers from Nothingham coming for a congress entitled “Jesus in the City”  One of these women is the equality and diversity officer for the Church of England and the other a Forensic social worker working with mentally ill paroled persons.  So extrovert that Marda is, she was energized for the weekend.  Jetlag hit on Monday.

Wednesday the 17th was St Patrick’s Day and we intended to go in for the parade from City Hall to Custom House Square.  Many people said this was a “republican event” with the waving of Irish flags but our intention was to see if Christians could redeem this event as a celebration of the common heritage of Patrick long before the division of Catholics and Protestants.  Patrick came to Ireland in 435 AD.  This event in Belfast was family oriented and low key.  It could be built upon.

What happened in Berkeley?  We were warmly greeted and saw lots of friends.  Alaina thoughtfully purchased groceries and all the mail was sorted.  Friends in two places invited us to visit and share about our work at their churches.  Our time in Pacific Grove/Monterey was divided between the Aquarium with the Irvines, and Mayflower Church on 14th and Central with the Youngs.  Lodging at Asilomar was in between.  We also drove up to Magalia 190 miles north, just off Hwy 99 to visit the Robinsons.  The slides are posted on our website.  We did a similar talk at CAPC, our home church.  The show is only 30 slides compared to the 125 photos I narrated during our furlough in 2009.  I’ve even learned to share some humor. How many Presbyterians does it take to change a lightbulb?  Change?  What do you mean change?

In Los Angeles we saw two groups of friends.  Nine women met with us at the Hof Hut in Torrance.  They all went to 6th Avenue elementary school, Foshay Jr High or Dorsey High school.  We see each other as the children we once were, except we have grown into beautiful adults.  Our second group were family and friends who came to South Pasadena or met us in far flung areas of Los Angeles to eat and hear stories about Ireland.  During our six days in Los Angeles we slept in four beds!  Next time we will carry our own sheets and towels to save water and detergent.

I’ve said our newsletter is like your Christmas newsletter except we do it every month.  Rather than a list of people and places you don’t know, I hope to share with you, something valuable.  We want to touch your life and help you find work and play you love, people who delight you, and rest for your souls.  Our life is blessed and we are grateful.  Share your journey with us; if we can help we will.  Your passion may not be visiting shut-ins or cooking and typing for the minister but it will be work that fits you, and uses the experience you gained along the way. 

I joke about the lack of change for Northern Ireland but there is change, very subtle change.  In our absence Jack tried to go to a meeting I’ve been encouraging him to attend, he is willing to ask the church members to support our housing needs, and he invited Marda to a meeting to discuss the reuse of the church property.  There are flowers being planted at the Ardoyne roundabout, below the CCTV cameras.  One more interface area being redeemed. 

"They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” Micah 4:3b

Email: wardstothers@cten.org
Phone: (028) 90 291986  From U.S. 01144.2890.291986

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