Sunday, April 11, 2010

Connections Through the Volunteer In Mission Trip to Belfast

When you start a new venture, you never know where it is going to lead or who you will meet along the way.

Saturday night the United Methodist Men of the Pawling Avenue United Methodist Church in Troy with the help of the entire Pawling Avenue United Methodist Church (The Welcome Church) held a fund raiser for the Volunteer In Mission organized Peace Mission to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Also, others from outside the local church came in support to work, to entertain, or to donate for their meals. I am proud and humbled by the amount of work people did and by the outpouring of well wishes and support.

I cannot name everyone here, but I want to especially thank the Boy Scouts from Troop 2502 who turned out to seat people, serve, and clean up.

I thank everyone who helped and everyone who came for a meal or ordered take out.

As I went from table to table or talked with people at the dinner, many told of their connections to Ireland, to people of Irish descent, or, in some cases, of their connections to Northern Ireland. I treasure every one of these personal stories! And even those with no obvious connection, were generous in their hopes and prayers for the people in Ireland and for the people of Ireland to develop the ability to learn to live in peace and reconciliation.

Now, with God's help, I will endeavor to fulfill our mission to the best of my ability.

The mission is to help support the people of Belfast in Northern Ireland who are attempting to grow the peace between the Protestant and Catholic cultures. In our media driven world, once a place is no longer in the headlines, we assume people live in peace in relative affluence, or are, at least, getting better and better. We don't think about the pain, the changes, the work, the prayers, the risk taking, or the implementing God's love it takes to improve the world, to get people to forgive, to reach across the gulf between groups, to bond with their brothers and sisters.

You will be able to follow the progress of the mission on this blog in the coming weeks.

The leaders of our group have a description about the mission trip here:

The ecumenical community group in Northern Ireland we will be supporting have a web site here:

Watch here for future updates and links to even more.

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