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Newsletter August/September 2010

Deck at St Columba  

Sometimes we must rest… God’s plans not our plans

We rested from 15 August to 17 September.  We could not return to Belfast because we did not have visas.  I wish we could say we had things to do in Berkeley but we didn’t have much energy.  Our friends and family cared for us, cooked for us, gave advice, listened, and kept us going.  Sometimes we have to let people do that.  We are very grateful.  Thank you, dear ones each of you.

Before we left Belfast we moved, but left the furniture and many loose ends behind.  We arrived to many loose ends in Berkeley.  The biggest of which was leaving the country without our approved visas, but we had the assurance that the Deputy Clerk of the Presbyterian Church would approve us.  Then he wrote an urgent email the morning of the wedding which we couldn’t answer.  The long and short of

it is no one was mum on our leaving the country, although no one said prior to the event that we couldn’t leave, only that we couldn’t return on tourist visas, with a residence visa pending.  We were alright with waiting for our approved visas and having them mailed to us at home.  That was not to happen, and our application and passports were returned without action, after being in process for 6 months.  We think our fee will be refunded.  We can apply now and wait longer, or return to the U.K. as tourists, stay no more than six months, and then return to the United States and apply for entry clearance later.  We elected to do the latter.

Our home church, has selected a new minister, Monte McClain, and we were at home to welcome him, meet his family and attend our annual church retreat at St. Columba retreat center.  It never occurred to us before, that this place was named after St. Columba of Iona fame.  St. Columba is just north of San Francisco, near Inverness.  College Avenue Presbyterian Church of Oakland, our home church, has come here every year for our all-church retreat.  I have been maybe ten times.  This time I realized that the origin of the name of this retreat center is Columba, the Irish Christian who went to Iona, in 563 AD, whose monks created the illuminated Book of Kells, and who spread Christianity to Scotland.  Then whose Scottish believers created the Presbyterian Church and spread this structure to the U.S.  This circle gave us a sense of care.  We enjoyed being with everyone and they all laid hands on us and sent us back with their blessings.

Being here allowed me to help my ADX sister, Alice, finish up some work on the sorority house.  Some of you know I own a portion of a house used by the Beta chapter on the CAL campus.  Alice replaced the foundation, electrical panel, installed new heating, and painted the exterior.  It has a new life and needed a new mortgage.  We did our part to keep the building trades going.  Over 40 years ago I joined the chapter at UCLA and made precious lifelong friends.  This group of Christian women sup-ports us now, and shaped our perspective of serving God with our lives.

This gift of waiting also afforded me time to go to Tucson to visit my friends Jan and Bob Clemmons as they were returning from Canada.  Jan said she was keen to know more about prayer.  This is a theme we keep hearing.  Jan taught us ten years ago to care for the elderly by example, and she taught me how to live well regardless of the money one has.  I was able to shoot the breeze with Bob about what the tenor of the country has become.  I worry about the polarization and extreme views we’re reading about.  Living in a culture where the demonization of the other group yielded years of bloodshed and deep wounds  We worry about the increasing polarization of political views in the US.  We trust you all to find ways to dialogue about diverse views, seek to understand, and find common ground.  May peace prevail.  We return to our work building The Loom and influencing and encouraging people who want to listen.  He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 11:15

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

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