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Newsletter December 2013

Ward And Marda  

Thank full, Advent, and Christmas to come

I posted on Facebook that we had  kale (stir fried organic community garden, fresh), roasted chicken, and a sort of Pad Thai on Thanksgiving Day. 

We then we went to the first of the holiday celebrations.  This was a Parkinson's UK fundraiser at a hotel where the 35 member Seven Towers Male Voice Choir, Margaret Keys, a singer, and a Dixieland band entertained us for over two hours after minced pies and coffee. 

The President and CEO of Parkinson's UK attended, over from London.  We are delighted with the generosity of people to help us and others, living with this disease.  A recent call to the Parkinson's UK free hotline yielded a textbook diagnosis for Ward, and a tip for overcoming the lethargy.

Marda and Kate set up crafts tables at the Going Green Christmas Fair to benefit the community garden at the Hosford House homeless hostel at Skainos/EBM.  We took home fresh kale for our trouble and sold a few pieces.  Marda saw Maitiu (Matthew in English), her teacher, for her feeble

five lessons in Irish language, and gifted him with one of her porcelain vessels.

We have been to many Christmas lunches and dinners.  There are poppers and silly paper hats, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, ham, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, mashed and roasted potatoes and gravy.  All roasted, boiled and plain like we had in the 1950s.  Our Together Stronger Community Choir sang in a joint evening worship, in a Festival of Trees, and on the Carlisle Circus roundabout.  We sang our hearts out and the weather was dry.

With a wee Advent book Marda is trying to be mindful during this run up to Christmas.  She noted the following story in one recent meeting where they were using Brother Alois, the Prior of the Taize Community's "Passion for the Unity of the Body of Christ", on appreciating the gifts of other traditions.

During this meeting, a nun who said she was in an order for 46 years, shared when she was in Teachers College, she became friendly with a girl who was a Baptist. 

When she walked in on her one day, her eyes were closed, and they startled each other.  When she asked what her friend was doing, the girl said, "I was talking to Jesus."  The Sister said she had known about "saying her prayers" but not "talking to God."  In another time we would be critical and say the Sister didn't know God, but who are we to judge the faith or relationship to God of another person?

It is worth quoting from the Taize material: Reconciliation, an Exchange of Gifts
We sometimes have the impression that, over the centuries, Christians have become accustomed to being divided, as if this were something normal. To prepare reconciliation, it is up to us to emphasize the best of the different traditions.

Then an exchange of gifts can take place: sharing what we have received from God, and also seeing the gifts that God has placed in others. And this exchange is possible precisely because we have the foundation that unites us, baptism, in common.

So it is that we are delighting in the unity of believers and our ability to bring reconciliation.  We enjoy the richness of tradition and let it unite rather than divide us. 

This Friday we will go to the local Primary School Christmas show and find a way to encourage the Principal.  Rev Jack Lamb is on the Board of Governors and he is over in England meeting Rev Andy Kelso also known as Rev Elvis to prep for a Belfast concert in April.

We have sent the email invites out to 100 people for a Christmas Open House Marda style.  Invite a couple of key friends and send out a mass invitation, buy and make food and see what happens. 

We hope new and stronger relationships will be forged.  The work is very satisfying and heartwarming as people change one heart at a time.

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

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