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Newsletter February/March 2013


An Angel Unaware…well really we are aware

A wee fellow turned up at the evening worship time, with a bicycle.  Turns out John Grant is from Wellington, New Zealand, and has been cycling around Ireland and Northern Ireland since last April.  He did pastoral care work, even attending to us with needs for handyman tasks, and dropping by for a chat and a cuppa tea.  He modeled to us the good Samaritan caring for the distressed.

Today, is St Patrick's Day, Ward and I were privileged to stand in with John Grant, the Kiwi, in his baptism during the Townsend Street Presbyterian morning worship service.  The minister asked us to be the godparents.  Reverend Lamb said we would keep in touch, care about John's walk with God, and mentor him.  This is part of what John shared as his testimony this morning:

…So there it is how I came to be an un-baptized Christian and meeting up here with you all in Belfast along with the Reverend Lamb.   Let me share with you that I'm so happy to be blessed here with you on this day and to have you all along to share this life-altering experience with me this morning.

I would like to say a big thank you to Reverend Jack Lamb and the members of the Townsend St. Church and only hope that with the guidance of Jesus that many more take up this initiative to be baptised here in Townsend St. Church at an appropriate time for you –

So we are living here in the land of Saints and Scholars.  We are giving a lot of thought about that saint who traveled about in Ireland over 1500 years ago.  And thinking about those early Christians modeling Jesus' teaching and way of life.  Mind boggling, really. 

Marda has joined the Northumbria Community as a "friend" and is in the novitiate process to become a "companion."  Our friend Lane and Ward and Marda will travel to Nether Springs, the mother house of the Northumbria Community, in June, for a three-day retreat.  What, you ask!  Has Marda decided to become a nun?  Well no, we are a dispersed community of like-minded Christian people seeking to deepen our faith journey by practicing the rule of "accessibility and vulnerability."  They publish a book called the Celtic Daily Prayer.  You can find out more on www.northumbriacommunity.org 

This week was busy with Jon Kennedy arriving from California, on Wednesday, and coordinating with McCall to draft up our church website.  We were training on Tuesday night and Saturday morning to build a team to guide the church in determining its vision for the future.  This is an initiative Marda obtained funding for, back in November.  Marda is using her management skills to build a team to bring change.  She has failed at this many times, but God is able.  She feels like Moses saying, I can't speak, and why are the people complaining.  The Bible says God said to Moses, in essence, "press on and lead the people."

It was a full day today with four church events (morning prayer, morning worship with baptism, the Dock Prayer Walk, and evening service), a sausage and mash supper, and a late party at Ethel's to introduce Jon Kennedy and share insights from St Patrick rounded out the social bit.  Some Protestants shun St Patrick as a Catholic saint.  However, there may be some redemption since Patrick is linked to the New Monasticism which is rekindling other ways of faith like Celtic Christianity.  Patrick was 600 years before the Eastern and Roman church split and Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism emerged, and way before all the Protestant denominations.

Jon Kennedy is here now and as a Reformed Presbyterian trained minister having converted to Orthodoxy 19 years ago, will add an interesting perspective  to the mix here, because the Orthodox are neither Catholic nor Protestant.  But they are considered solidly Christian if heretofore foreign and unintelligible chanting in Greek and Russian. 

A developing weaving of talents will await us after our return from Berkeley to renew our visas.  We will be at home in California from 21 March to 25 April with one weekend in Los Angeles.

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

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