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Newsletter January 2014

Ward And Marda  

What a Glorious Year in Retrospect

The weather was the best!  Our housemate, Jon might disagree as he was left behind when we went home on 22 March, and a snow storm ensued.  But he hails from Pennsylvania so he adjusted to it.  We renewed our visas and came back to Belfast Spring weather, followed by a dry Summer and a mild Fall.  Enough about the weather but that's what we talk about since it can change all seasons in a day.

Winter which officially started on 21 December gave us big beautiful snow flurries.  We were up north at Downhill BeachHouse for a day the week before Christmas enjoying the roaring fire and the ability to clean up computer files amongst a change of atmosphere and welcoming friends. 

Our Christmas Open House was a great success.  Enough food.  Enough people.  Many from the local Northumbria group came along and it was good to get to know them a bit more.  The Open House

yielded an invite for Boxing Day out to Bangor east of Belfast.  Our new friend Joy Gowdy, who has returned after eight years in Edinburgh, wants to initiate a citywide Passion Walk for 2015.  Susan Mansfield, a journalist in Edinburgh, created this project a few years ago for Edinburgh.  One sets the passion of Christ as a prayer walk through the city stopping at various points to listen, think and pray.  Joy took us to the shore for a walk and then for a drive through Groomsport to Donaghedee two beautiful beach towns.  We returned to hot coals in the fireplace and a dinner of Christmas leftovers on beautiful traditional bone china. 

With Christmas in the middle of the week there are a few stray days before and after allowing one to get caught up.  Marda caught another cold on top of the one she didn't quite get rid of, so this put a crimp into all the cleanup needed to truly be ready for a new year. 

New Year's eve our friend Ethel opened her home with drinks and savories and homemade desserts.  At 11 pm, Jon, Ward and I bid farewell and went to meet at the rusticated Titanic sign and join Bishop Harold Miller as he boldly kicked off a year of 24/7 prayer for the Church of Ireland in his area hosted from church to church.  The Dock Church had signed up for the first three and a half days and we signed up for 10 until noon on January first.  Twenty five prayer stations were set up to consider different ways, creation, people, making a chain of thanks, and coloring bookmarks.  Each table to remind one of things about which to talk to the Almighty.  It was a good way to begin the new year.

In retrospect this has been a glorious year.  The recent launch of well.com is only a twenty minute walk down the road.  Alan Lorimer drove past the derelict Carlisle Memorial Church and had a verse come to him about Isaac rebuilding Abraham's wells.  He pursued this vision for three years and through a clergy forum met a Catholic lay worker Breige O"Hare and the two of them have opened this wee place, two offices, reception and a small quiet prayer chapel.  Breige does spiritual direction and Alan psychotherapy using CBT and both lead a midday prayer using David Adams' Celtic prayers and oftentimes followed by centering prayer.  Marda is on board and offered to assist them in any way.  She goes for midday prayer once a week. 

We have had many visitors, ten sets in total, and the OWA 40th Anniversary cruise and the ability to say we can manage with a little help.  In September a repeat of the Townsend Street Festival was a great success for showing our church buildings as a social venue.  We value our introduction to the Northumbria Community and Lindisfarne through visiting Northeast England and participating in the retreat 'Dancing the Daily Office' and joining the local Northumbrian Community group.  Our welcoming of Jon Kennedy to work with us and the baptism of John Grant from Wellington New Zealand, a saint who showed all of us the ways of an angel, in regards pastoral care and community work.

Our day to day work is to live in community with each other and to serve the wider community.  Thank you for your partnership in finances, prayer, or keeping in touch.

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

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