24-7 Prayer 2014

Something amazing is going to happen in 2014.  Every minute of the year, someone, somewhere in Northern Ireland is going to be praying.

Screenshot 2013-12-14 14.40.26It’s all the bright idea of Bishop Harold Miller (who, you might remember, also had this bright idea for church in the Titanic Quarter a while back).  He has challenged the churches in his area to maintain a constant vigil of prayer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from midnight on 31/12/13 to midnight on 31/12/14.  The prayers can take many forms – spoken, written, sung, silent, artistic, interactive – but the baton will be passed from one church to another, one person to another, right throughout the year, covering our city, our nation and our world in a constant chain of prayer.

And guess where it all begins?  Correct!  The Dock is hosting the Launch Ceremony for the whole initiative, and is then the location for the first three days of 24-7 prayer – from midnight on New Years Eve until 10am on 4th January.

A Prayer Tree in The DOCKDuring that time the cafe will still be closed to the public for its Christmas holidays – so the entire space of Dock Cafe will be given over to different creative prayer stations at each table.  You’ll be able to write a prayer leaf on the tree in the Prayer Garden, or pray through the stories in the newspapers on a sofa, or pray for streets and homes on a massive map of the city, or write thanksgiving cards for all the reasons you’re thankful, or join a prayer walk around the Titanic Quarter, or… the ideas just keep coming!  You can join in praying with others, or engage in prayer on your own – it’s completely up to you.

You are very welcome to turn up at any time to be part of our three days of prayer – but what I’d really like you to do is to commit to a particular time slot so that we know we’ve got every second of our 3-day stint covered.  Have a little look at the menu bar above and you’ll see a new link for ’24-7 Prayer’.  Just click the link, pick a time and book in.  Ta!

IMG_2724And if you’d like to join us for the launching ceremony at midnight on New Year’s Eve – the launch is taking place (appropriately enough) on the  Titanic Slipways – meet at the big rusty Titanic sign outside Titanic Belfast at 11:30pm on 31st December (and bring a nice warm coat).

And finally – a little reminder from the people at the 24-7 Prayer movement of why prayer is such a wonderful, simple, life-changing thing…

What a great way to start 2014!


The Waffle Hut

IMG_4357The Waffle Hut is the absolute run-away success of Dock Pop-Up market so far.  It’s all the brainchild of Elaine, who lives in the apartments above the cafe and can frequently be found sipping coffee in The Dock.

IMG_4358During the summer Elaine treated herself to a waffle-making machine, and the results were so good that she booked the pop-up market for a few days… which was so successful that she invested in a bit more equipment and tried a few more recipes, both sweet and savoury…  which went down so well that by the time of the World Police and Fire Games in August, Elaine was selling waffles as fast as she could make them… which then led to a place on a City Council scheme for up-and-coming entrepreneurs… which then led to a stall at St George’s Market on six dates coming up to Christmas… which then led to Susan & I feasting our faces at the Waffle Hut last night!

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2013-12-09 17.46.17Elaine is a fantastic example of how a good idea and a lot of hard work can create something really special – check out the Waffle Hut’s Facebook site to tempt your tastebuds with some of the varieties of waffles!

And now, over to the rest of you!  What’s your unique talent, special recipe or unsung gift – and is it something that Dock Cafe customers might enjoy?  Fancy trying your hand at starting your own little business?  Just call in to the cafe to pick a date and pick up the little application card (below) to book the pop-up market for a day – and give it a whirl!  The only rule is – If you make it, you can sell it.

You’ll lose absolutely nothing by trying – even if the take-up on your market stall isn’t all you’d hoped for, there are worse ways to spend a day than sipping coffee in The Dock…

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Just look at some of our recent stalls for inspiration – we’ve had knits, buns, waffles, jewellery, paper products, wreaths, cards, cakes, candles, pottery, woodcraft, African art, paintings…

There’s such amazing talent out there, and I love that Dock Cafe can play a little part in inspiring and encouraging people to use and share their talents with others.  I hope Elaine’s story inspires you – at the very least to call down to St George’s Market when the Waffle Hut is in operation (4-9pm on 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th and 18th Dec) and tuck in!

Christmassy Christmassy

When Michael Buble’s Christmas album appears on the Dock Cafe stereo, you’ll know that my cold cold heart has finally melted and after a few weeks of barking “It’s too early!  People shouldn’t have their trees up yet! It’s all too tacky!”, I have finally given in to the Chirstmassyness of it all…

Of course, our fantastic night at A Titanic Christmas helped.  The storm died down in time for the Christmas lights switch-on and for Santa to abseil – what a sight!  (and I have to tell you, he was still up for going ahead with the abseiling when the wind was howling.  Santa is crazy.)

And carols were sungen by candlelight…


Music was provided by the fantastic Ambulance/Police/Fire Service combined brass band (they all met at The Dock during the World Police and Fire Games this Summer)…


And marshmallows (and cold hands) were toasted by the fire…


And mulled wine, hot punch, home-made shortbread and Anniversary cake (happy anniversary, Roberta and Phil!) were eaten and drunken:

It was just all very, very Christmassy.

So Buble is now on the stereo… the pop-up market is busy with different crafts, stocking-fillers and Christmas goodies… hot punch is bubbling away… special Suki Christmas Brew tea is on the menu… and a uniquely Belfasty decoration has appeared on the Dock tree:

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Call in soon or you’re a Bah Humbug!

(Thanks to Jeremy at thebigwoodenbox.com and to Lindsay for all the great photos.)  (The poor ones are by me.)


Christmas SORTED at The Dock!

Are you ready for Christmas?  Christmassy spirit?  Decorations?  Presents?  And a little bit of food for thought?  Well The Dock can help!


IMG_2125For Christmassy spirit, join us on Thursday 5th Dec at 5pm onwards at The Dock (and – if it’s dry – the area just outside) for toasted marshmallows, steaming punch, abseiling Santas, carols by candlelight and lots more…

Decorations?  It is a truth universally acknowledged that decorations should only go up once it is actually December.  But as soon as the calendar clicks over, we’re getting to work… From 3pm onwards on Sunday afternoon (1st Dec) we’ll be making the Dock all Christmassy – everyone welcome to join in!

And then we’ll be making our way over to the SS Nomadic for our next Sunday night service and some of that good food for thought.  This month the theme is CS Lewis, and we’ll have a couple of different people sharing what he has meant to their lives and their faith.  6pm on board – see you there!


2013-11-28 17.45.40And presents… Were you about to go online to start ordering some Christmas pressies?  It’s a bit impersonal, isn’t it?… Amazon.com doesn’t give you a steaming hot cuppa on a wintery day while you browse all the art and craft on offer.  And you don’t get to meet the face behind each individual gift.

So pay a visit to The Dock to get Christmas sorted this year…  We’re proud of supporting local suppliers, artists, photographers, bakers, sculptors, and home-made industries.  That means that a visit to Dock Cafe will supply you with all you need to purchase your Christmas presents from somebody local rather than a faceless online conglomerate.

You might pick up the perfect gift at the pop-up market stall – it’s being used all the time to sell home-made arts, crafts, knits and other thingamabobs (the only rule for hiring the market stall is: If you make it, you can sell it!)

And every day you can browse the huge range of art, photography and craft around the cafe – and then chat to a volunteer behind the counter to get the contact info, order forms or website details for every piece of artwork we display – from Tanya’s bendy Belfast, to Wesley’s panoramas, to Tim’s industrial photography, to Beverly’s local scenes, to Titanic prints or retro tourism posters – surely something for absolutely everybody!

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There – Christmas – SORTED!

Thanksgiving Day at The Dock

2013-11-28 13.41.58It’s becoming a Dock tradition every November… the Americans aren’t allowed to keep Thanksgiving Day all to themselves – we all need a little reminder from time to time to be thankful for the many blessings of life.

2013-11-28 13.40.06So every Dock Cafe customer today was given a Thanksgiving Liquorice Allsort and a little slip of paper to fill in their Reasons To Be Thankful…

How amazing and moving to glance through some of the slips of paper as they were left on the coffee bar.  People whose lives have been transformed by new friendships formed at the Belfast Met, or who have found warmth and welcome in Dock Cafe.  People who have endured difficult times which have made them so much more thankful for the basics of life.

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As we start stringing together all the slips of paper for our 2013 thanksgiving chain, have you stopped for a moment yet today and reflected on your reasons to be thankful?  I guarantee it’ll help you see the rest of the day in a new light.