All my working worlds collided rather beautifully on Sunday morning – I got to simultaneously be a Dock Cafe barista, a Dock Chaplain and a Wee Tram conductor!
The event was the very moving launch of Lagan Search and Rescue, a brand-new purpose-built emergency response group for the Belfast Harbour area. We’ve had informal links with these guys ever since Dock Cafe (in its very, very early state) provided a base for an emergency response operation back in early 2012 – but it was a huge privilege for the Dock Chaplaincy team to be asked to be the on-call Chaplains to the Lagan Search and Rescue team as they now become an official entity.
Speaking at the launch ceremony on the beautiful Titanic slipways on Sunday morning, Dock Chaplain Wes told of how his own Father was saved from drowning – and offered the support and time of the Dock Chaplains not just for those high-intensity situations when the Search and Rescue team would be called out, but also the quieter (but also possibly more difficult) days in between when the team need to process and talk about some of the things they’ve seen.
As the service finished the rain started to pour – so it really was perfect that we’d planned for the whole gathering to be transported to Dock Cafe by Wee Tram! Everyone piled on board and we tootled off own the Queens Road to a waiting cuppa at The Dock.
And so to our wonderful shabby-chic sanctuary of a cafe, where the coffee and the conversation flowed. Amongst many others I got to share a cuppa with Belfast’s Lord Lieutenant Finnouala Jay O’Boyle, meet some Lagan Dragons and meet some of the guys running the new Urban Sports park beside T13.
Another fantastic day, another link in the chain of the ever-growing but also ever-connecting world of the Titanic Quarter. Another opportunity for the Dock Chaplains to play their part in this new community – in its darker days as well as its joyful ones.