Day 2 Team Martin
My co-leader on this trip is Alana. This is our fourth time together in Northern Ireland. We have a lot of history here together, and we each have our own history. She first visited me when I was here for three months in the summer of 2011, and walked through the experience of my mother's death back in Canada together while visiting Dublin. It was lovely to be back in Dublin last week with her and Pat, creating new memories and seeing Ireland fresh through Pat's eyes
Alana also has spent time as a mid-term volunteer at Corrymeela, and has her own set of close friends from that time. She has also been a member of St. John’s United Church, one of the participating churches, since she was a pre-schooler, and is now a candidate for ministry from there. She brings a unique set of gifts to the group – not just her experiences as a volunteer at Corrymeela and on two previous student trips, but also her years of experience as a GO Project leader, a United Church mission program for youth aged 13-19. The program runs summer programs in six locations across Canada and offers youth an opportunity to live in community for 10 days while experiencing what mission looks like in their particular locale. She is also the co-leader of the General Council youth pilgrimage across Canada this coming summer.
Last night she led us in a wonderful exercise that helped us begin to name some of the important moments of our lives, our influences, our own contexts. After experiencing the incredibly informative Hop On Hop Off bus tour of Belfast, (no small task – it was the Belfast Marathon yesterday …) folks were already beginning to see the complexities of the history of this region. In our reflection time over dinner, the questions emerging were ones that often pointed us back to reflect on our own histories and memories.
The exercise that Alana led us through was not only an opportunity to practice some very holy listening to several others’ stories, it helped us begin to understand that our experiences shape our perspectives, and sometimes we are not even aware of our own biases.
It was a great way to start the week, and set the tone for the next few days.
This morning – off to Corrymeela! The excitement is high, and the questions are building!