A turbulent week in the TQ…
As some of you may have gathered from blog posts and Facebook messages asking for help, the Titanic Quarter has sadly had one of its first instances of dealing with tragedy. You might’ve noticed on the news the story of 20-year-old Joby Murphy, who fell from the Lagan bridge last Thursday. Teams of police, divers, fire department, sonar operators and community search-and-rescue volunteers have been looking for him all week, and during the past few days the search moved to the area around the Titanic Quarter.
It’s at times like these that the Church is really called to step up to the mark – and hopefully, even though The Dock is a work-in-progress, we did our best! Having heard that a warm, dry venue would be appreciated for the search teams and family to use as a ‘base of operations’, we were able to open our ‘Meet The Neighbours’ venue for a couple of days. Huge thanks to TQ Ltd (who gave permission to use the unit, and helped us out when we blew the fuse by trying to boil too many kettles at once!), the Premier Inn (who allowed us to use their loos and kept us supplied with platefuls of sandwiches!) and to the wonderful, wonderful volunteers who made the tea, bought the biscuits and provided the vital welcome and conversation to make the shop unit a safe, welcoming, warm place to be.
Even in the midst of such a horrible situation, it was powerful to see the church at work. A room with some tables and deckchairs, a Super Ser and a steady supply of tea and coffee may not sound like much, but it’s amazing the difference these things can make.
So it brought the focus of the Dock’s vision – to provide a shared space in the heart of the TQ – into even sharper relief. These spaces are needed, in all our communities – sometimes we don’t realise how necessary they are until the unexpected happens. You’ll know from my dark hintings over the last couple of weeks that there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to see if The Dock might be able to provide such a space sooner rather than later – so that ‘Life in the Titanic Quarter’ can flourish even while we’re saving up for our beautiful old boat. So watch this space…!
And hopefully it goes without saying – we’re all keeping Joby’s family in our prayers, as the search moves further up Belfast Lough in this coming week.