Meet Barney (that’s not his real name, but I keep forgetting his real name and calling him Barney, so Barney it is) – one of our Dock regulars who arrived into the cafe today bearing a suspiciously large zipped bag. Interrogation revealed that the bag contained a fiddle and that Barney had been know to play a tune or two.
A bit of bribery later (a cup of coffee and a macaroon) and we spent Friday afternoon being serenaded by a fantastic trad session. This is one of the highlights – the tune (I’m sure it has an actual name but will be forevermore known as:) That Bit Of Fiddle-Dee-Dee Music They Jig To In Titanic When Kate And Leo Spin Around:
Some of you will know that as well as drinking too much coffee in The Dock, I moonlight as a ‘proper’ minister at St Clements, a lovely friendly church on Templemore Ave in East Belfast. (This means that I have the longest job title in Christendom: ‘Chaplain to the Titanic Quarter/Part-Time Bishop’s Curate of St Clements Belfast’. Thankyouverymuch.)
It also means that, having handed the 24-7 Prayer Scroll on from The Dock to John at neighbouring parish St Patricks Ballymacarrett last weekend, he promptly handed it back to me a week later in my role at St Clements!
So here’s the invitation: for any of you who were inspired and encouraged by our stint of 24-7 prayer in Dock Cafe (or any of you who missed it), you have another chance! The lovely people at St Clements would love to see you – just call in at any time, day or night. (If the doors are closed at night, just knock & someone will be there to let you in!)
Like the setup in The Dock, you’ll find lots of creative and imaginative stations where you can engage in prayer at your own pace, and just spend some quality time in God’s presence.
As you can see from the pics, the team at St Clem have done a fantastic job turning the interior of the church into a beautiful, inspiring prayer room – added to which, there’s something lovely about taking time to dwell in a gorgeous old church building as well.
The 24-7 marathon continues at St Clem until 9am on Tuesday morning, when the baton passes on again (hopefully to someone who won’t pass it straight back to me this time) – so catch it while you can!
The story of the first three days (and nights) of 2014 in The Dock…
If you’d like to see more pics of some of the 25 prayer stations, check out The Big Wooden Box’s flickr photostream here.
As well as the stations you can see in the vid, we also had some fantastic impromptu events during the few days – such as beautiful live music from Nigel and Julie, and a moving Taize service led by Dock Volunteer Lindsay…
And as well as praying all around the world (as the different stations reminded us to do), more than a few prayers were said for the situation right outside our doors – especially as the water levels rose on Friday morning…
(Thanks Chris for the pics!)
And no better way to round off the few days than by squeezing into 2nd Class Upper on SS Nomadic on Sunday night. (Amidst flood warnings yet again – although there is something very smug about receiving a text about a flood when you’re actually on a boat…)
(Thanks Sonya for the pic!)
You can read Fr Martin’s account of his experiences on board here, or read the Nomadic crew’s own description on their website here. For me, the days of prayer followed by that joyful, inspiring service were a model example of How To Start A Year. Let’s hope the rest of 2014 maintains the standard…!
What an amazing start to 2014… A still night, a friendly crowd, the Titanic slipways magnificent under a blanket of stars, flocks of birds circling overhead as the ships’ horns sounded out the new year…
Bishop Harold launched the year of 24-7 Prayer and handed the baton to Dock Cafe (or judging by the pics I wrestled it off him – so rude) to continue the chain of prayer for the first 3-and-a-half days of the year:
And so it begins! I can’t say enough about the wonderful team who are keeping the whole show on the road for these few days – spending days and nights to make sure the cafe is open, the kettle is on and the chain of prayer is unbroken. Call in and keep them company!
And such creativity, bubbling up as part of this 24-7 initiative. Every table in the cafe is devoted to one particular aspect of prayer – discover how it can be an act of prayer to taste honey, play monopoly, lift a dumbbell, read the newspaper, write in the sand, and loads more!
We’ve had musicians fill the cafe with music, and already loads of people have called in – either because they were intending to be part of the 24-7 movement, or because they were passing by and were intrigued! There’s something very special about spending the start of the year in the joyful, peaceful, prayerful atmosphere of this place.
And the cafe itself has benefited from all this creativity too – as well as constructing our beautiful new arbour – a sunlight-filled corner of the Prayer Garden, full of trellises, stone, water, greenery, light and peace – Wesley has created a unique cross for the wall:
It’s made from bits of shipyard metal he found around the Titanic Quarter – old and new, creativity and Christianity blending in one unique piece of art. Perfectly Dock!
(The practicalities: if you’d like to be part of these 3 special days, you can book online here or just call by the cafe at any time, day or night – if the door is locked just knock! The prayer stations are dotted all around the room at the cafe tables – feel free to engage with the stations as a team or group, or on your own if you prefer. No-one will pressure you to pray out loud – just engage with it all at your own pace!)