Nights to remember

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Been there, got the T-shirt… As you can see in the pic, a team of Dock volunteers (and a strange man in a dog collar) were recently involved in A Night To Remember at Titanic Belfast – so I thought it was a perfect excuse to tell you about a few other memorable nights in Dock World.

Night To Remember no.1 – It’s Sunday Night! SUNDAY!
Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.36.15Yes, after a few months of experimenting with holding our monthly Dock services on a Saturday night, we are returning to Sunday Nights at The Dock as of May – first Sunday of every month at 6pm.  So the next service, rather neatly, is on Sunday 1st May at 6pm at Dock Cafe – so we’ll start the new arrangement right at the beginning of a new month with a brand new series looking at how we make choices and decisions, based on an utterly fabulous book called ‘All The Places To Go’ by John Ortberg.

As always there will be plenty of coffee, chat, comfy chairs and space to be thankful, be still and be inspired – as well as a chance to sing a brand-new (and utterly gorgeous) worship song written by some of our Dock team.  See you there!
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Night To Remember no.2 – Pop Quiz, Hotshot
2016-02-21 19.23.30What are you doing on Thursday night? What’s the best way to give your brain cells a good workout? How can you support the Dock and raise some funds for Life in the Titanic Quarter?  The answer to ALL these questions is the Dock Cafe Quiz Night on Thursday 28th April at 7pm in Dock Cafe.

It’s being organised by some of our wonderful student regulars as a thank-you for all their time spent chilling out in Dock Cafe between classes – which is pretty much a perfect example of the Dock in action!  Find out more here – or just turn up either individually (£5) or as a team (£7).  Don’t forget your thinking cap!

Night To Remember no.3 – Ollie’s big night
2016-04-17 20.12.09Last weekend was a memorable night for the Titanic Quarter community as we celebrated our second-ever TQ baptism (and the first one to take place in the Dock Prayer Garden)

The baptisee (is that a word?) in question was Ollie Davis – little brother of Lily Davis, who we baptised on board SS Nomadic two years ago.  (So come on, rest of the world – we can’t expect the Davis family to keep 2016-04-16 19.03.33building the Titanic Quarter family single-handedly!)  In keeping with our core values in The Dock, Ollie’s night was shared between all our different Christian traditions, as the wonderful Karen joined me in baptising Ollie, praying for his family and giving thanks for a new life.

And then there was MUCH food (the Davises run the amazing Green Deli next door, after all).

Night To Remember no.4 – the actual Night To Remember
Hard to believe it’s now the fourth year that we’ve been holding our annual remembrance at Titanic Belfast for those lost in history’s most boundlessly fascinating shipwreck.
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2016-04-15 00.34.18As always a team of Dock volunteers did a fantastic job guiding groups through the story as a series of characters dotted throughout Titanic Belfast told the ship’s story in their own words.  At 11:40pm (the time the ship struck the iceberg), on a beautiful still night, we proceeded onto the slipways and illuminated the names of the lost by candlelight.

2016-04-14 22.48.38You might see some of us wearing our ‘Night To Remember’ T-shirts the next time you’re in the Dock (we got to keep them!) but whether they’re wearing a T-shirt or an apron, be sure to tell the Dock team that they are Volunteers To Remember, running a Cafe To Remember and a Market To Remember, and that these are Days To Remember in our amazing Titanic Quarter life!

A Night To Remember, Take 4

Hard to believe it’s now 4 years since the world went Titanic-crazy for the unforgettable month of April 2012 – the centenary of the very first Night To Remember, the sinking of RMS Titanic.

I have so many precious memories of that incredible centenary – of standing in the pitch-dark brand-new atrium of Titanic Belfast during the world premiere of Eric Whitacre’s haunting Water Night – of my first ever fancy dinner at the base of the Grand Staircase – of holding a vigil on the slipways with Dr Robert Ballard, reading the names of those who were lost on Titanic – of watching A Night To Remember (the unrivalled 1958 movie of the Titanic story) in the pouring rain at an open-air screening at the Thompson Dock – of throwing my duncher in the air along with all the other participants of the Yardsmen Walk…  I could go on!!

But one of the really important things, as time goes on, is to continue our act of remembrance of Titanic’s story.  104 years isn’t a nice neat anniversary like 100 years – yet people are travelling to Belfast from all over the world this week, making their pilgrimage to mark the moment of the anniversary at the place where the whole story began.  It’s important for the city to mark this date and find imaginative ways to tell and retell the story so that it’s never forgotten.
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So again it’s a huge privilege for me and for the Dock team to be part of A Night To Remember at Titanic Belfast.  Tickets are still available here if you’d like to be part of the event – and as always I’m hugely proud of the team from The Dock who are helping to make it all happen.

You can see some more pics from last year in the video below.  Standing on the slipways by candlelight, telling those stories and remembering those names, is always one of the most profound and moving experiences for any Belfastian- Titanorak or not!

The Constant Creativity of Dock volunteers

Dock Cafe has been hand-made by the people who use it, and live it, and love it.  That’s been true from the start – but recently I’ve really enjoyed finding all sorts of examples of how the boundless creativity of Dock volunteers is expressed in lots of little details of Dock life.

Like the Ideas Box – this appeared a few weeks ago, complete with  bulb for those Lightbulb Moments, so that Dock Cafe customers can tell us if they can think of any way to make the place any more amazing!

Or our new ‘decoupage’ table – pictured here with Cathryn who is now our resident ‘decoupager’.

She did such a great job on this little circular table that we’re setting her loose on some of the bigger tables around the room – so watch this space… And if you want to suggest ideas for pictures to appear on the tables, you can always put them – there’s an idea – in the Ideas Box!

And we’re even writing songs!  At last week’s Saturday  Night service we sang the very first worship song written by The Dock, for The Dock, by the incredibly talented Cath and Esther from the Saturday Nights team.
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The lyrics are printed below – and if you want to hear the tune, which is utterly beautiful, you’ll have to come along to the next service on the first Saturday of May:

At the end of every day my heart will echo heaven’s praise,
As I kneel before the King whose endless love cannot be stayed.
All His tenderness has found me, His compassion never fades;
And He Fathers me forever in His mercy’s wide embrace.

At the end of all my hope and when my courage is but gone,
He reminds me that He’s faithful, He’s the rock I’m standing on;
For He paid for my redemption and He suffered my disgrace,
So that I can live forever in the light of mercy’s face.

At the end of all my striving let me fall down at His throne,
Casting off my ragged pride I trust in Jesus’ blood alone;
For it’s here before His judgement seat I find that I am free,
Where He lifts my shame forever and His mercy covers me.

To the end of all my journey He will Shepherd me by name,
With His righteousness my refuge when I cry to Him again;
For His grace is never-failing, so my strength and song will be:
That His goodness and His mercy have forever followed me.

© 2016 Cath Butler, Esther Simpson