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Newsletter July 2012

Sandy Row mural improved  

New Beginings Cycle Around from a 2006 Proposal

Saturday 21 July.  Our passports were returned in the mail with an approval on our visas.  Yipee!   We are back to work again.  Fittingly we will write this newsletter and on Monday drive down to Armagh to attend the John Hewitt Society Summer School, a five day residential writer's course.  We received bursaries or scholarships being our first time and being community workers.  We go with excitment anxious to pursue the theme "The State of Hope".

Hope is the new investment in infrastructure.  The Giant's Causeway has a new, built in the earth, sod covered Visitors Centre.  Larry and Arlene Hatfield came to visit Ireland to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.  They stayed with us for nine days.  How fun to have them visit and to encourage Larry's painting and drawing between summer showers, and to learn from Arlene's in-depth knowledge of the Bible as a BSF teaching leader.  We met the Hatfields 40 years ago when we drove down to John Hoyte's home to listen to Schaeffer lecture on tape and sometimes in person.  Marda and Larry were artists together in the

Obadiah Art Group studio and partners in Folks Art.  We braved the rain for the Land of Giants outdoor show on the Titanic slipways, then headed north to the Giant's Causeway, Dunluce castle ruins, Harbour Bistro, Mussenden Temple, Downhill Hostel, and ferry over to Inishowen, County Donegal, to be at Malin Head, this time in the sun.  We were fortunate to be the last to visit the Causeway under the old scheme of £6 per vehicle as the new scheme is £8.50 per person. 

Hope is working through Townsend St Presbyterian church, located at one of the peace gates in the lower Shankill (the part of the greater Shankill Road area close to downtown).  Their parish area is the Falls, which is laughable because the Falls is the nationalist side, the Catholic side, the side which sheltered the IRA and where the Sinn Fein HQ resides, and the Falls is on the other side of the peace wall and the gate is locked up every night and all day on Saturday and Sunday.  

But this month's hope, our friend Pastor Jackie McKee whose church is also on this peace wall at the next set of gates, has started a Falls Community Fellowship above a bar with some local people who have discovered faith and he avoids all those labels.  He talks about personally knowing Jesus, about the followers that formed of Jews and gentiles, slaves and free, rich and poor, with tongues of fire, able to speak in all the languages.  We hope to support and build on to this effort.  Pray for fruitful ministry to revive and increase the people of faith in both the Shankill and Falls Road areas that believers may influence the kingdom of God here on earth with continuing peace.  In due time we hope that the gate will be open between the communities and the wall dismantled.  Meanwhile the Unity Pilgrims (a group of Catholics who visit a Protestant worship service every week) persist and we venture over when we can.

There is a rhythm to life and sometimes it is imposed on you.  Many years ago Will Herzfeld taught us the concept of cooperating with time and since the Loma Prieta earthquake when we could have been squished on the double-decker freeway, we do just that, realizing that living and enjoying fully in the present moment is the best way to live life.  Cooperating with time.  It is now time for work.

Lastly, we had so much hope in 2006 for an arts ministry at Abbey church in Dublin and when it failed to materialize, we filed our proposal and essentially forgot about it.  Now six years later that proposal for an arts ministry may come to fruition in Belfast at the Townsend Jesus Centre.   
-There will be a cross community street party on 21 September, International Peace Day.
-Rev Lamb hopes to bring an assembled art show to the Townsend Enterprise Park for the occasion.  
-21 September will be Culture Night Belfast in the Cathedral Quarter a time for our Art and Faith Group to open a show. 
-The Window in the Wall documentary project team will return in August and September to film.  We will hold a kick off event in the newly renovated Townsend Centre halls.
-Bill's book Loud Silence is published with a café book launch in September. 

Our State of Hope.

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

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