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

Newsletter November 2011


Greatfull/grateful, life is grand

Harvest means abundance.  Life abundant.  Here in Belfast we bring fruit, vegetables, and flowers to the church for Harvest Sunday.  We especially like the décor at St Anne’s Cathedral in the Cathedral Quarter Arts district.  In America, we celebrate Thanksgiving when we like to think the Pilgrims and the Native Americans shared food and turkey in peace.  We were taught about Squanto and the help the Pilgrims received.  We can do our part to enable reconciliation and lasting peace by inviting our neighbor to break bread and eat with us.

Marda attended the second women’s weekend in the Wicklow Mountains in early November.  Remarkably the women felt a bond from the earlier weekend and we moved into deeper thoughts and risk taking.  We learned about
UN Resolution 3125 and its impact on obtaining funding for workshops such as these.  Phil Killian from the Glencree Centre trains women at the grassroots level who are often overlooked, but powerful to change situations.  We watched the documentary on Liberia (Pray the Devil back to Hell) wherein church

women (Christian and Muslim) prayed and protested.  Three of these leaders recently won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Marda is taking a wee peek into using her power (inspired by Marianne Williamson’s poem).

We are grateful for good work to do.  Transplants are called “blow ins” in a derisive way.  But for the generosity of many people to reach out, we are included.  Marda’s invitation to these residentials wherein one other professional woman quietly says to her we don’t belong here, implying this is for the women without opportunity.  But we WERE included.  So we contribute, work to grow ourselves, to share our story and to share the learning.  Ward has started in a writing group and now the opportunity of another writing group has emerged, and the concept of writing a local history book with the women of the Shankill Women’s Centre has surfaced.  Great work.

Ward was invited to recite his poetry to a group of rectors/clergy in the Church of Ireland.  This was arranged as part of a training session on mental health.  His poet friend Bill works for the Belfast Trust with mental health service users, and has written poetry about it.  Whenever Bill finds a venue for his poetry he tries to include Ward.  You may remember Ward read poetry at the Froth Café and this is a follow up with the same fellows.

The church received a windfall with an insurance settlement.  Last winter the pipes in the tower froze and did £58,000 worth of damage.  The insurance adjuster will let us partition the sanctuary and install a new boiler as well as repaint and removed some pews.  This will make our sanctuary much more appropriately sized, and allow us to use the sanctuary again, and open the front doors on Sundays.  There is a “car boot sale” held in the large lot diagonal from the church.  Our church has staffed a prayer table there for many years.  There is an opportunity to have community tea/coffee, prayer, or worship in the afternoons and invite the attendees at the car boot sale, who park around our church, and walk right by.  Pray that we can implement this concept successfully. 

This ending sums it up.  This season of Thanksgiving - we thank God for the universe of work and wonder.  Thank you God, for our support through co-laborers in peace building.  Building peace with God, peace with self, and peace with one another.  Thank you readers, for your interest in this our work.

We plan to be at home in Berkeley and in Los Angeles over the Christmas holidays.  We will fly into SFO on December 17 and into LAX on January 7th returning to Belfast on January 12th.  WE are glad to have a visit and would love to talk about Northern Ireland or Marda’s visit to China to any group.  Our time will be short so contact us, if you want to book a time for your group, any group

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