Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his sojourn in Northern Ireland'

A lonely week,
suited for contemplation

Jon Kennedy  

JONAL ENTRY 1280 | April 18 2013

The mind of the wise makes his speech judicious, and adds persuasiveness to his lips.

— from Proverbs 16-17,
from today's lenten Orthodox
lectionary readings

Diary: The young women students staying at the Loom for the weekend, Amber and Rainier, caught an early flight and were gone before I was up on Monday, though as on the previous Mondays I was up at 7 a.m. for a prayer meeting. The previous Mondays, the Rev. Jack Lamb had been here, but this time he also had a flight . . . he was on his way for Mumbai, India, for a six-and-a-half-week mission exchange with a missionary working there who had earlier ministered in his church, Townsend Presbyterian.

Usually, most of the attendees of the Monday morning prayer times are affiliated with the Belfast L'Arch community, which provides housing and support for people with disabilities. None of them made it this Monday, but John Grant, a New Zealand retiree who is making his way through Europe on public transportation and bicycles that he procures as he goes along and who had found the Townsend church and got baptized there a couple of weeks ago, came. With him at the door (but unbeknownst to me at the time, unknown to John till that moment), was Peter Palyn. The three of us constituted this week's prayer meeting and John and I took advantage of most of the time to get acquainted with Peter. He had attended earlier, but not since I arrived just over a month ago.

Marda and Ward have set aside the front second-story bedroom as the Loom's prayer room, where the meetings are usually held, but this time, since our third student, Johnny, was sleeping in to catch a later flight, we three sat, talked, and prayed in what we Americans usually call the living room, the ground-floor front room. Shortly after John Grant and Peter Palyn left, Johnny came down for breakfast. The photo below, showing much of the prayer room, was taken today.

Ever since Johnny left, around 11 a.m., I've been alone, except for one excursion outside. On Tuesday I went to the Vine center, about a normal city block from here (there are about four "short" blocks with cross streets between here and there, which is why I call it a "normal" city block's distance) for an afternoon course that Marda had enrolled me in. I guess the Vine Center and other community centers around Belfast are sharing grant money for the course, because it was tuition free and they put me in a taxi across town to the museum on the Queen's University campus; all I had to do was sign, not pay, for the taxi over and back.

I much prefer courses or seminars in which an expert presents material which students take in by listening and discussing, but this was the more "modern" type of "instruction," based on things like breathing exercises and yoga techniques, very "new agey" in my not-so-humble opinion. But I'm here to learn, so didn't complain and am just reporting now, not complaining. Maybe I'll "get" what this approach is good for by the time it's over, sometime in June, I think they said. There was no handout, so I'm not even sure what the "course" is called (but thought from earlier mention that it was about creating dramatic scripts), LOL.

It was too rainy for me to walk to the midweek lenten service at my parish last night, so it has been a lonely week except for that taxi excursion. I did enjoy being on the Queen's campus and arriving early enough to have tea in the eclectic environment of the museum cafeteria. The photo below was taken through the glass wall where I was sitting to have my tea; a view much like those available at most of the campuses I've been on throughout my life, from Pitt to Santa Barbara and Stanford to Belfast. It's still cold here (daily highs now in the low 50s), despite the sunshine in that picture and as indicated by the heavy clothes on the students.

Scripture: Is "judicious" a word you would use to describe your talk, your speech patterns? Do you "rehearse" every conversation you expect to engage in day by day, to make your words more palatable and less alienating by those who hear them? If not, why have you neglected this biblical precept, this word from the Lord?

I am adding my address and mobile phone number below, not primarily because of this week's loneliness, but for convenience in the absence of business cards.

§     §     §

If you missed my overview of my venture in Northern Ireland, check it out here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 07772197118.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


related pages

The Nanty Glo Home Page

Previous blog:
A campus ministry in Northern Ireland

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I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on. A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office, no less.


Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

— Ephesians 4:19

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