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Newsletter March 2014


Another Very Full Month…Patrick and preparing for Easter

The best news is Ward's book of poetry and prayers titled Plain Drink Tea was published on 12 March and is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.  Please consider buying a copy and providing a review.  You can read a bit of it online and there is a Kindle version. 

We will have an Open House to pre-sale some books and Librarian Mark Knowles at the Shankill Road Library will host a book launch for 4 April.  Bill McKnight will moderate and Rev Jack Lamb will bless the event.  The book has three sections peace, prayers and a cuppa.  The last section are those ponderings over a cup of tea or coffee where you pause and perhaps share with another. 

We are very pleased and have many to thank including some of you who have stood with us and supported this Irish journey and some who contributed professional services including design and art.  The blog is under www.dungarvonpress.com and we report on Facebook.  Please spread the word.

Marda through The Loom hosted a study visit for LMU (Loyola Marymount University).  She engaged the church to provide a venue, some transportation, and local resources for the students to interview.  Professors Jennifer Ramos and Vicki Graf prepared and brought a group of 12 mostly political science students.  They were inquisitive, insightful and willing to engage.  They attended three churches on Sunday, met members of the Assembly at Stormont, members of the Belfast City council, met the mayor who tweeted their group photo to Jerry Brown and Tom Hayden.  They toured EBM and received Irish lessons.  Philip Orr and Alan McGukian did a reading of their play "1912 A Hundred years On" and they received a talk on the peace walls from a local resident and former soldier.  We hope this will be an annual event.

We got an email announcing a tour of the Patrick sites with Dr ThérèseCullen of Irish Monastic Tours.  Ward in rare form said "yes I would like that as I missed the Patrick sites on other tours."  Our wee group of five including Jon our housemate, Doreen an elder from the church, Rev Jack Lamb, Ward and Marda enjoyed a great day out and splendid weather.  Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave and tended sheep for 6 years.  Later becoming a cleric he returned to Ireland.  He is credited with the spread of Christianity in Ireland.  We were first brought to the edge of a farmer's fields to see where the Slaney River meets the Stangford Lough where they say Patrick arrived in 432 AD.  We climbed half way up Slieve Patrick, visited the Saul (meaning barn) Old Church on the site of Patrick's church and where he died, Down Cathedral, an old stone marking Patrick, Columba and Brigid's remains, Struell (holy) Wells, and Inch Abbey.  One could feel the history and imagine the community life.

Wanting to finish well Marda is considering the adage often quoted here "whatever you say, say nothing."  She hates this phrase.  However one day when she told two wee stories and both hearers said this depressed them, she vowed to think of the other person rather than spouting what first comes to mind.  To help us on this mindfulness journey, we went to a Centering Prayer taster weekend lead by Alan Lorimer, a Methodist minister, and held at Tobar Mhuire retreat center.  We had several sessions of 20 minute centering prayer joined by a five minute slow circular prayer walk.  We watched Thomas Keating DVDs explaining the practice.  Other than commenting on the DVDs the participants were asked to observe complete silence.  The guidance was just enough and the time was beneficial and restful.  The leaders encouraged attending the advanced 8 day retreat.  Information is on contemplative outreach ireland.com

This period leading up to Easter has been full with the book, the study visit, the Patrick tour and the Centering Prayer retreat.  We are enjoying our Irish journey and hope to bless you by sharing it.

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

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