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Newsletter April 2010

Good Friday walk  

Ahhh Spring!  And with it warmer weather

It snowed the week before Easter, 0°C, but now a week later 18°C!  What a difference it makes!  The weather change accentuates the drama of Easter for us.  In addition this year we immersed ourselves into many available avenues of remembrance and celebration.  We didn’t give up anything for Lent, much as we don’t make New Year resolutions.  Marda’s disciplines are communal not individual, and Ward doesn’t do what everyone else might be doing.

However we celebrated a Seder meal at the local Church of Ireland with an intrafaith group.  Good Friday this year had two opportunities for “solidarity walks”.  In the morning the L’Arche Community came to our church to start their walk with a cup of tea.  They are part of an international organization, started by Jean Vanier, which builds communities integrating people with abilities and disabilities. 

They wanted to walk to the places in west and north Belfast where they are growing a community connection.   We walked down the Crumlin Road; pass Gable Ends, public art that chronicles the old neighborhood, to the Vine Centre where we paused in front of an empty shop. Our church intends to start a prayer ministry storefront style.  Then we walked up the Cliftonpark Road onto Manor Street and across the peace line.  On both sides of a tall corrugated metal wall is open land where abandoned houses were removed.  Maria, the Belfast L’Arche leader, has been in touch with the two community leaders who are funded to plant a community garden on both sides of the wall.  Her concept is to cut a window in the wall, to pass tea.  We visited the Cliftonville Community Centre and had tea and biscuits again.  We then walked to 174 Trust where Bill Shaw plans to start a café and the L’Arche Community will help staff it.  Ward walked too, pausing along the way.

The Cornerstone Community held its seventh Good Friday walk from the Clonard Monastery in the Falls Road area through the peace wall to the Shankill Road and back again to the Springfield Road at the top of the Falls community.  This was a larger group of people with police escort and we walked up the middle of the driving lane as if we were part of the traffic.  It was raining.  Ward waited at the monastery.  Smart move as it was two miles in the rain.  I walked with a Christian Brother, Finian, who lives in a house with four other Brothers also seeking a mission of peace and reconciliation.  Tea and traybakes at Cornerstone House.  Wet coats everywhere.

On Easter Monday we attended a Pentecostal mission hall where our friend Jim is the assistant pastor.  Jim asked me to say a few words.  I told a bit about ourselves and said there is no retirement in the Bible.  That got a chuckle since most were in their 80s.  We wanted to support Jim because he likes us and called one day very disturbed about the introduction of these events whereby Catholics and Protestants mix.  After a frank discussion he softened his view.  One by one we demonstrate the way to peace.

Easter Tuesday Marda joined a group who invited her to go to Dublin to see Chinese art and the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef.  More about this and pictures on our blogspot .  Since Easter the weather improved with hardly any rain and longer days.   Yipee!  Irish Celtic blessings to all of you.

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

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