Thursday 14 July 2011

The final Ireland update

Hi all,
We made it home from Ireland on Monday, and it has been a fantastic trip.
Roger and Deidre
The performance on Saturday evening was wonderful.  The ticket sales had been very slow earlier in the week, but when the evening came it was absolutely packed out.  3 car loads came up from Bailieborough to watch, and they had a wonderful time.
A lot of those that came to watch were on the fringes of the church, including family members of our various hosts, which was fantastic.  One lad in particular befriended Devon, so hopefully that relationship will lead to some healing as he has had a very troubled past.
Deidre with most of the Rock team
On Sunday morning we took part in their family service.  It is a highly restricted service - a maximum of 50 minutes, and everything is timed down to the second.  Deidre had put together a fantastic band full of youngsters, including three trumpets, a trombone and two violins.  It sounded fantastic.  Roger the minister interviewed our Roger, and then we sang three songs from Rock - Rock, Just as I am and then He is the stone.  They went down really well, especially with a couple of added live instrumentalists from their band.
After going to hosts for lunch, a few of us traveled with Gordon, my host, to the 'Titanic Quarter' of Belfast.  This is the docklands where Titanic was built, and the city is just starting to cash in on that with new appartments, businesses, a college and a tourism centre.  In response the churches of Belfast are working together to create an ecumenical chaplaincy to the area, situated on a boat.  Chris, the Anglican involved, has been leading a prayer walk through the area every Sunday as the area is built and the plans for the chaplaincy grow.  It is wonderful to see all the main denominations working together (particularly thinking about the violence over the past two days in the city) and we pray that this will be a beacon of hope in the area.

Holywood Parish Youth Service
Then on Sunday night we all went to the evening service which was led by their youth band.  It was a great evening and we were all really blessed.  The Parish Church in Holywood is full of so many gifts and a lot of wealth - but they are really using it well.  
It was a completely different culture to County Cavan, and it was fantastic to have been involved in both during the trip.  Sunday night finished off wonderfully - watching Holywood's favourite son Rory McIlroy win the golf :-)  The golf club round the corner was partying into the early hours.
Thanks for all your prayers.

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