A Night To Remember

Screenshot 2015-04-09 19.50.12It’s now nearly 103 years since a shipwreck on the icy Atlantic sent shockwaves around the world.  The events of the original Night to Remember on 14th April 1912 became the first global news story – and a story that resounded not just around the world of 1912, but also across the decades that followed.  Titanic’s fate has been re-told and remembered in pretty much every generation, every language, every form of media.

Screenshot 2015-04-09 19.46.42But there’s something especially powerful about remembering Titanic in Belfast, where the story began.  After a century of silence, we’ve found our voice and our place in the story.  People now travel from all over the world to mark this anniversary in Belfast – often people who have a personal family connection to Titanic’s passengers and crew.

b50d39c4-7ba0-420e-876b-8f44c3dc3b1bSo it’s been an immense privilege for The Dock to have been involved over the past few years in developing and enabling A  Night To Remember at Titanic Belfast.  The evening involves a journey through the story of Titanic, from design to build to launch to departure to tragedy, as told through the eyewitness accounts of a series of the characters who watched it happen.  Then (after a nice glass of warm cider) we gather by candlelight on the slipways at 11:40pm, the moment of collision, to mark the moment that the world changed forever.

Here’s a taster of last year’s event:

Tickets are still available here if you would like to join us again this year.

~1428604772~BlM4-b3IEAARsPh.jpg-large copyOr if you fancy getting involved behind the scenes, there are still one or two spaces for Dock volunteers who would like to help make it all happen.  It’s a very special event to be part of, so if you’d like to help out, just send me a message using the contact form here.  (Not that I would try to bribe you or anything, but you get a T-shirt!)

The Passion Walk

feetFor the last few days Dock Cafe has been the last stop of the Passion Walk, an ‘urban pilgrimage’ in which you walk through the journey of the Easter story while walking through the streets of Belfast city.

Everyone arriving at the Dock for their cuppa at journey’s end was so impressed and moved by the experience that I thought I’d better try it myself…

On arrival at the starting point at Glengall St you’re equipped with an MP3 player (or shown how to access the audio files on your smartphone) and headphones if necessary, so that you can take the walk completely at your own pace.  There’s something very powerful about being left to your own devices during a reflective time like this; you’re not hurried along (or slowed down) by anyone else’s agenda.

2015-04-04 12.37.33And so you strike out into the noisy streets of the city, and the busyness and distractions are part of the point – the audio guide makes the point that the events of the original Easter week did not happen in a hushed bubble, but amid the daily lives of hundreds of busy people, most of them unaware of history turning on its axis in their midst.

You are guided to stop at various points where the surroundings enhance or play off the various points of the story – I loved the idea of stopping in a dingy, dodgy alleyway when remembering the scene of Jesus’ beating, or using the ‘Sheep On The Road’ sculpture at the Waterfront Hall to think about Jesus as the good shepherd.

Again and again you notice familiar parts of the city in a new light, or see things you’ve walked past a hundred times but never really seen before.

By the time I reached the Dock I was ready for my cuppa – but I also felt as if I had properly stopped (or at least paused) my racing 2015-04-04 12.24.22thoughts, worries and plans for just a little while.  Of course I got distracted and waylaid sometimes (not least by the temptation of a Nutella crepe at the City Hall – ahem) but the rhythm of walking, pausing, listening, reflecting, at my own pace and alone with my own thoughts and prayers, soon drew me back.

What a powerful and unique way to experience the Easter story.
2015-04-04 17.04.30

PS if you’re kicking yourself for missing out, do not despair!  Susan Mansfield, the creator and co-ordinator of the walk, is joining us at Sunday Nights at the Dock on Easter Sunday at 6pm in Dock Cafe to tell us how the idea was born.  There may even be a very short version of the Walk involved…. see you there!

Dock With A Difference – plans for Easter weekend

Howdy all – and apologies for a longer-than-usual absence from cheery updates…  It may be howling a gale and abso-flippin’-lutely baltic outside – but allegedly, Spring is upon us and Easter is just around the corner – so here are the plans for the next couple of days in Dock-World:

feetA little bit more info about the Passion walk – this is something brand-new for Belfast and sounds like a very powerful way to engage with the Easter story.  (And very Dock-esque – those of us who were Dock Walk regulars in the early days can attest to how profound and refreshing it can be to engage with the Bible in the open air, walking and reflecting.)

Here’s the description from the excellent peeps behind the whole enterprise:

header7New for Belfast – an urban pilgrimage for Easter

The Passion Walk is an invitation to walk the path of Jesus’ Easter journey in the streets of Belfast. Walking a route across the centre of the city with an audio guide, and pausing at certain key locations, you are invited to enter into the events of Jesus’ final hours. As was the case in Jesus’ day, the ongoing life of a busy city becomes the backdrop for the events of the story. The Passion Walk is an invitation to experience the story in a new way, and perhaps see the city in a new light.

header4Walkers are invited to begin their journey at Grosvenor House, 5 Glengall Street (behind the Opera House) any time between 10am and 1pm on Friday 3rd April (Good Friday) and Saturday 4th April. Walk at your own pace, alone or with friends. The Walk ends with refreshments and a space for reflection at The Dock Cafe in Titanic Quarter.

header3You can find out more and sign up for the walk at their website here.

And so Dock Cafe will become Dock With A Difference for those two days – a space where you can reflect on the walk and what it meant to you – while (of course) still enjoying some sumptuous freshly-ground Bailies coffee or gourmet Suki tea!

Then remember that at 6pm on Easter Sunday (5th April) it’s time for our monthly Sunday Nights at The Dock – this month telling stories from the Passion Walk and the 40 Acts movement as well as plenty of time for worship, prayer, coffee, chat and all the usual goodies!

And then the Dock team get a very short break before it’s back to the wonderful madness of Dock life on Tuesday 7th!

Speaking of which – I spent a very moving couple of minutes recently reading the comments in the Dock visitors book (which you are welcome to add to yourself – it’s the big red book on the counter just as you come down the ramp.)  How amazing to think that our crazy cosy cafe has had such an impact on so many people (and has even spawned a homework service I see – you kept that quiet Brian!)