Posts

Good Friday’s gone…

Good Friday’s gone… What was good about it? The triumph of cynical pragmatism Oiled by silver in the hands of the right man? A curious combination of tears, jeers and cheers As political enemies and religious leaders Thought they had got everything sorted.
But that was then This is now. Here, in this God forsaken place… Where we go backwards instead of forwards Everything has turned to ash.
Or maybe  We’re in the unholy darkness of holy Saturday. No one there to offer leadership Everyone has run for cover While young people bear stigmata Bodies broken, blood shed. Where is the hope?
We believe in the resurrection… But perhaps even hope needs to die Before it can really take place. Selah

Words and Actions

Image
Well it is now nearly 48 hours since the proverbial curtain came down on the 2018 Four Corners Festival, and I have just about recovered enough to crawl out of my cave and put fingers to keyboard for a final blog on what has been an amazing 11 days... More events, more participants, more media interest, a wider demographic range engaged... All in all it has been great... All the events went relatively smoothly, with good attendances at them all, despite programme typos and ratbags who claimed free tickets for some events on eventbrite and then didn't come, depriving others of the opportunity! It doesn't mean that we don't have things to learn. For example, next year we DEFINITELY need more volunteers to help at the various events... I can't keep up this pace at my time of life!
The wheels nearly came off the wagon coming round the final bend though, when the snow closed the Glenshane Pass and robbed us of our keynote speakers Fr. Pal Farren and Archdeacon Robert Miller …

Stories of Hurt and Hope

Image
The have been a number of typos in the printed programme of the 4 Corners Festival this year... we on the organising committee didn't do a very good job of proof reading this time out.

One of those resulted in last night's production "Now Hear This - Stories of Faith" by Play it By Ear Theatre Company being listed as taking place in the same venue as the previous night's "Those you Pass in the Street" by Kabosh Theatre Company, over in the Agape Centre on the Lisburn Road, rather than its actual venue in An Culturlann on the Falls Road. For this reason we had staff at the Agape primed to re-direct those who had ended up at the wrong venue, and we took the decision to go up 15 minutes later to allow for stragglers. There were a few, but not many, and we had a reasonable house, though not quite as many as the previous night.
Afterwards one of those who had come via the Agape Centre came to me slightly bemused, because whilst they had gone to the other ve…

God Words and Godly Action

Image
Yesterday over lunch I tuned in to BBC's Bargain Hunt which happened to be from Greyabbey in Co. Down, and after a lot of scrabbling around in the disproportionate number of antiques and collectable shops in that small village, one of the experts Charlie Hanson bought a late 17th century book entitled "The Protestant Reconciler" as his bonus buy. It cost a grand total of £12, all of his "leftover lolly" and despite some scepticism on the part of the auctioneer at Ross's in Belfast, it made a significant profit.
I thought that there was a certain level of irony in all of that given that, sadly, reconciliation has never been seen as a particularly profitable endeavour by the church here... Protestant or Catholic. It has been, far too often, an afterthought (like Hanson's bonus buy) or a fringe endeavour. On Sunday night the 4 Corners Festival hosted an evening at Skainos in East Belfast exploring the role of the church in peace and reconciliation here in…

A City United in Song

Image
The previous night people had gathered in the Oh Yeah Music Centre in the Cathedral Quarter to hear songs of the ceasefire, expressing some of the hopes and frustrations of the years since Troubles... then last night a larger group gathered in that quarter's eponymous Cathedral, St Anne's for a different set of songs "Hear Us Now! - A Festival of Choirs..." compered by UTV's Jude Hill.
Some of those there had moved not from the Oh Yeah Music Centre, round the corner, but the other cathedral in this divided city, St. Peter's off the Falls Road, sharing in a tour of the two cathedrals and a walk between them, taking in the St Peter’s Immaculata Youth Centre en route, and at the end of the festival of choirs the Schola Cantorum from St. Peter's brought things to a close leading a sung Compline.
But before that the audience enjoyed 5 other choirs performing a wide range of music and reflecting both the diversity of our city and the unifying, healing power of m…

From one Place to Another...

Image
As I suggested in my previous piece I had planned to post a number of things this week, not least a backlog of Thought for the Days that I have done over the past 4 weeks, but I didn't, and given that they were "Thoughts for the Day" and those days are past, it hardly matters...
But part of the reason I wanted to blog and ironically couldn't is because we were approaching and now are already in the midst of the 4 Corners Festival... which this year has the theme "Now. Here. This." We started the festival in the midst of the Shankill at St. Michael's Church of Ireland Parish Church, with "20 Years On - A Conflict Frozen in Time". Hundreds from all over the city and beyond crammed into that hall in an area of the city that isn't on the tourist map... indeed one of our organisers in relying on a well known online mapping system got almost irrevocably lost, proving the orignial point of our Festival ie. to get people out of their different corne…

Give!

Image
It's been a while. I've been busy. But I'm back... at least for the next wee while as a number of people have asked me to post a couple of things', beginning with some who asked for me to post the conclusion of my sermon today... so here it is in a slightly edited form, together with the Gospel passage that prompted it...
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’ Mark 12: 41-44 (NIVUK)
On Friday I was meeting Louise Ferguson, the manager of the Larder foodbank in East Belfast, in preparation for the 4 Corners Walk on S…