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Newsletter May 2010


We are not saying we are staying or leaving yet. God knows.

The physio calling on the cell phone and saying “hello is Ward Stothers there, this is Phillip the physio from the Royal.  I’m calling to set up a time to come and check out your house”.  “Right! We will be moving so perhaps you would want to come after we move?”  “Right, that’ll do I’ll call in a month.  Here’s my number.”

I hesitate to say very much but since I told a few people that Ward spent three weeks in the Royal Victoria Hospital, I’d better disclose some details  We had a consultation with the neurologist on April 22 because Ward is tired and has muscle wasting.  We had x-rays and MRI from our home visit to the back surgeon in February.  They do an intake, and say “you are complicated would you mind coming into the Royal for a couple three days so we can take a better look at

you?  We want to do tests and an MRI of the brain.”  That seemed alright.  On the second day Ward says “they are telling me 7-10 days, we don’t have time for that, do we?”  What do I say?  He escaped for the May 3rd bank holiday weekend, but the following weekend when I go to take him home, a sign was on the door saying “radio-active patient no children or pregnant women”  Right, what about small Chinese American women?  But no joy, he also had an IV drip and they said, no going home because they found some elevated protein in his spinal fluid.  The radioactive dye was for a DAT scan and it returned positive for Parkinsonisms.  Next few days they tried a muscle relaxant and he had hallucinations.  Our follow up appointment with the neurologist is June 17.  We need to know a lot more.

The Royal Victoria Hospital is on the Falls Road and thus in the Catholic side of the peace wall so I needed to go through the gates twice every day.  Even with peace the gates create apprehension.

On top of this our visas are expired and are with our passports at the Border Agency.  We don’t want to move until we are approved to stay and our passports are returned.  Meanwhile every time the doorbell rings I think it is housing authorities or  immigration come to throw us out.  We expect our visa approval by early July and a move shortly after.

Interspersed with all this drama is our attendance at a series of five talks where local protestant ministers and catholic priests discussed basic parts of the Apostles’ Creed, the earliest creed in similar form traced back to 180 AD and used by most Christian denominations and Unitarians.  Of course the conclusion is we believe in the same thing so what implications does that have for our two communities adjacent to each other with a 30 foot peace wall between them?  Great gatherings of like minded people.  The answer is true spirituality unites and politics divide.

Last month I told you about the Good Friday walk from the Clonard Monastery. From our church you can look down Tennent Street about a half mile, and the monastery sticks up on the other side of the peace wall.  The organizer of their peace and reconciliation project Father Reynolds had read Rev Drennan’s column in the Shankill Mirror and thought it was very good and wondered if our church would welcome a visit from the Unity Pilgrims.  They visited our church one Sunday and Deborah while typing up the Crumbs noted we should serve tea and biscuits, which she bought but was too shy to serve.  This is a group of about ten Catholics who visit protestant churches every week.  Remarkable courage.

We finished our cross border class with a visit to the Battle of the Boyne Centre.  The Boyne River is along the motorway just north of Dublin.  The battle fought in 1590 is noted as the beginning of the sectarian segregation of Ireland.  Ward and I joined this class to brush up on Ward’s computer skills and to support cross border and cross community initiatives.  Through this class we were referred to an Ulster Museum project to create “art” to re-image Belfast.  Speaking of art, Ward sent four poems to a Poetry London competition where Belfast poet Michael Longley will select seven winners.  Marda has 60 pieces, the culmination of a year’s worth of pottery classes.  She is placing 18 pieces in the Downhill Gallery hoping many will sell to pay for class fees.
June is a transition month.  School will be out, Rev Drennan takes a three month sabbatical, three sets of good friends will visit.  By July we will be settled and back to the routine of visiting.  “Lord willing” as we say.

May the God of hope, fill you with joy and peace.  Romans 15:13

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

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