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Newsletter September 2013

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Two sets were easy, … two more and a trip

Kelly Chan and Marda grew up going to the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.  They attended Sunday School and church camps.  Marda moved up to San Francisco and Kelly joined the Navy.  He was in the Navy when Marda lived in New York.  Kelly was one popular sailor who invited two women to the Cape Cod clam bake.  He became an accountant, and when the church planted daughter churches, Kelly went with Randy and Evelyn, and others to start the church.  Kelly grew up to become one of the elders.  He did our taxes for many years providing valuable advice.  This time the Chans came to Belfast.  We enjoyed having long term good friends to visit and experience the work.

The following week another old friend of Marda's, Carol Zuck from ADX days, now Carol Lynn and Garald Nielsen from Idaho, came to Belfast.  They were on their way back from a deluxe tour of Scandinavia and saw a lot of the UK in a few brief days.  They rode and walked with us, and then took the ferry and rail, back to London through Scotland.

Carol Lynn brought a word of encouragement to our church as she shared during our morning prayer

that she saw our church as a wide waterfall with a broad source of water.  Many in our church are seeing that initiatives can be done under the umbrella of Townsend Centre.  We have a government funded homeless day centre, the Enterprise Park, the lunch club, Fairtrade InSpires, Divine Healing,  asbestos counseling, Townsend Social Outreach youth program, Bytes, and Charis Bible College.  A knitting and crochet club is started by one of our elders just this week.

The most miraculous of providential serendipity.  Many of you have been to or heard of The Dock Church  This was an initiative of the Church of Ireland (Episcopal) to place a chaplain in the Titanic Quarter, a new development area.  This is the site of the old shipyard.  Chris Bennett was assigned three years ago and gathered three other chaplains for the task.  His vision is to buy a ship or barge and have a inter-denominational Christian chaplaincy in the Titanic Quarter.  There is a community college and a developing media centre in addition to the Titanic Visitor Centre which opened in 2012.  He started with The Dock Walk at 3:33 on Sunday afternoon.  We walk, and talk, and listen to Wordlive (http://www.wordlive.org/Session) podcast and music, and pray for the peace and prosperity of the City.  Chris became a trained walking-tour guide and expert on the Titanic.  When he surveyed the tenants they said they needed a café not a church.  18 months ago a developer gave The Dock Church the use of one of the vacant shops for a pop-up café.  The Dock Cafe opened in March 2012, as Belfast's first honesty café (pay what you think) staffed with volunteers.  Chris has consistently been an advocate of the Titanic development through all the cynicism, and the highs and lows of the economy over the past forty months.  We have participated in many wonderful events thanks to our tagging along on The Dock Walks.  The renovated Nomadic is in drydock, between the Dock Café and the Titanic Visitor Centre.  It is the only ship left of the White Star line, and was built in 1912, as a tender, and served the Titanic for her maiden voyage, ferrying passengers from Cherbourg to the Titanic.  The newest opportunity is that Chris has been offered the Nomadic to hold worship services.  How is that for a miracle?  It is Marda's miracle, since she gets seasick.  Wow.

Next week we attend the last of a series called "In Joyful Hope."  This is an initiative of Fr Gerry Reynolds of Clonard Monastery to join with Christian churches to celebrate the last supper and the sacrament that Jesus started in the upper room but for which different church traditions have made differing rules.  "In Joyful Hope" is celebrated towards that day when we will celebrate the bread and wine with Jesus Christ without man-made barriers.

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

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