Monday, June 15, 2009

all that jazz

I'm sorry I've been belated in my blogging! Life has gotten very busy, but I have lots of pictures to show for it...

-I was on a training retreat for Preparing Youth to be Peacemakers through the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and enjoyed a couple of days in Derry. Derry was one of the places hardest-hit by the Troubles (Bloody Sunday happened there), and remains a place where tensions bubble beneath the surface as communities insulate themselves from one another. Today, there is a very small minority of Protestants in Derry, with a lot of the Catholic population actively seeking Republican ideals. This "free Derry" wall was painted to show British soldiers decades ago where the Catholic community began. It remains today as both a sign of Republican fervor and a tourist attraction.
As we went through the training, I found that I was able to instantly engage and enjoy it, but realized that as much as I love and am called to this place, this is not my history. I then looked around and saw my colleagues engaging and unmasking their stereotypes and was amazed at their openness. I only hope that, when engaging with my own history in all its complicity of racism and fear, I can approach it with the same openness to transformation.

-We went on two walking tours in Derry, one with a Protestant guide and one with a Catholic. They told very different stories and celebrated very different histories. But both were proud, kind and lovely people.



-A little comic relief...now that is one dapper looking badger!

-I loved driving through endless verdant hills with Ruth in her mini. I never get tired of the green here.

-Catherine and I went to Rowallane Gardens for a picnic (another one) and jazz. It was nice and sunny, and it turned out that Joanna from Fitzroy was playing in the youth jazz orchestra. My day before this was really hectic, but after relaxing in the beautiful gardens it was all forgotten.

-There were people there grilling fancy fish and drinking champagne as their "picnic", but I thought homemade pasta salad and smokey chorizo sliced was pretty fantastic.


-And Catherine provided a sweet ending to a lovely evening!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Miss Whitney,

Would you be so kind as to give my new friend Ryan Cook a shout by email. He is getting ready to go before our Presbytery and since you just finished the same lovely experience, I thought you could help him with his jitters. We just hauled him down from South Dakota or Iowa or one of those cold places north of Colorado to be our youth director and he's having to deal with my three kids, his new job, new apartment and the lovely Texas summer heat and humidity. Thank goodness he brought his wife along or this would send him running back home!!
His email address is mrryandcook@gmail.com
Much love to you and your wonderful parents. Jay and I are such slackers at only 20 years!
Kristie Swoboda

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