Header image  
Berkeley/Los Angeles/Ireland  
    home | newsletter archive | previous newsletter

Newsletter January 2011

M&S, City Hall  

Why Belfast?
Because we make a difference

Last night McCall Gilfillan, our friend who owns Downhill Hostel, took the train down from Castlerock.  We haven’t seen each other since September.  I showed her the house, we took her to a restaurant I thought she introduced us to, No. 27 Talbot St which we like a lot.  Then we went to the Black Box, a café and theatre venue, in the Cathedral Quarter arts district.  We’re comfortable in this café because Bill brings Ward to their open mic poetry “slams”.  Three women had organized a project where they asked the question “Why Belfast?” for two nights at the Common Grounds Café and used the answers and portraits to made postcards.  We, the attendees of this benefit, could gather the postcards we like and make a postcard book and contribute minimum £5 to an immigration asylum seeker charity.  So I met people and gathered a bunch of really nice postcards.  Towards the end of the evening I saw this

postcard and said wow that’s Thomas and Makiko from L’Arche!  Turns out Thomas works at Common Grounds where they collected the words and portraits.

What’s my point?  Belfast is very accessible.  Belfast is friendly.  Belfast supports creativity.  And look at what one young women, Maia Brown did during a brief internship from Oberlin College.  All three women were Americans which says us expats can contribute.  Why Belfast because we can and we like it here. Oh aye.  If you have a Facebook profile you can see the invite.  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=176806475663418

We will continue here for another year, maybe two.  Ward will write more poetry and Marda will create porcelain pottery.  This is an end in itself as it expresses our God given creativity, but it is also a means to an end to give to others a window to see God’s creativity within.  Maria will discern her future work with L’Arche and see where the partnership with our church will go, where the Loom, a soft place of prayer and relationship building will go, and the social enterprise, Root Soup, in partnership between a homeless shelter and L’Arche will go.  Jack will pursue the work of the church in our community by redevelopment to meet social and community needs and continuing prayer in the car-boot sale, the local school, the local police station, the local working mans club, and the local newspaper.  Ward will continue with visiting the elderly and shut-in, working with the elders of the church, continue to write a call to worship, a benediction, or a prayer for the world to add to the Sunday worship, and continue to write and publish poetry.  Marda will continue to cook and host, to give input to the life of the church and community, to communicate and socialize with the Shankill Ministry Fellowship and to make porcelain pottery.

If you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans.  Not original with us.  Our hopes. . Our call. . Our idea. . Our vision. . That you would discover Belfast and discover its call on your lives, as it did on ours.  We hope to establish this house, the Loom, and this wee place we’ve made in the community as a sustainable project.  We want others to consider coming to Belfast for a month, six months, five years, or off and on for the rest of your lives like we plan to do.  Some of you have come.  Would you come again?  Some are thinking of coming; come this year.  We are especially looking to host people who might incorporate Belfast into your future somehow.  By doing a project, by coming alongside for a period, by committing support, or by coming to pray and to find your quiet place. 

We will be in Los Angeles and in Berkeley from 9 February until the end of March.  Would you consider coming to Northern Ireland to see what you can contribute and what you can learn? 

Give us a call.

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

To view the .pdf version with all the photos. Print or email our newsletter