Moravial 2011 - 'No Man is an Island'
Moravial 2011 – a delegates view
Moravial 2011 was brought to Northern Ireland between the dates of 10th-20th August and had was run by Joy Raynor, Paul Holdsworth, Sally Moody and Philip Beattie with 24 delegates collectively from Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, England and of course Ireland. Sadly the two delegates from Albania couldn't make it.
The theme of the week was "No Man is an Island" which was taken from a poem written by John Donne, which was perfect to think of whilst exploring the island of Ireland. The theme also brought to our attention that we may all be different and speak different languages but the Moravian Church is our connection and it is very easy to say that the faith, friendship and fellowship came so easily and naturally to us all; with many lifelong friendships being formed along with old friendships being reunited.
We travelled all over Ireland making stops at The Giants Causeway, Carrrick-a-Rede Bridge, Belfast, Cultra (which is where our Youth Weekend is held in November), all five Northern Irish Province Churches and Dublin, whilst experiencing as much of the Irish Culture as we could along the way. Whilst travelling we spent our nights and some afternoons playing games and taking part in Bible Studies surrounded by the beautiful scenery of White Park Bay and also Crawfordsburn Country Park.
Moravial 2011 – a leader’s view
After over 2 years planning the day for the beginning of Moravial 11 arrived. I’d visited the places we were to visit, checked buses, booked a coach, booked accommodation, invited delegates, done a register, planned a programme, food was ordered and in the capable hands of Sister Mandy Kernohan, bible studies delegated to Brother Paul Holdsworth, Sister Sally Moody had made it to Northern Ireland so everything that could be planned was, we just needed delegates to arrive. They were arriving at three different places over a period of about 6 hours but with the reliable driving of Brother Phil Beattie in the minibus and planes all arriving on time we were eventually all at White Park Bay and settled by 1am.
The youth hostel at White Park Bay has fantastic views of the coast and this was enough to take the breath away of some of the delegates, even though it was raining. We stayed there for 4 nights visiting attractions on the North Coast as well as a local pub for an ‘Irish Evening’. This was a bit of a disappointment to me as the music was a eclectic mix of pop songs, folk songs, and tunes from all around Europe; but the delegates enjoyed playing pool and taking in the atmosphere as well as a few drinks. The local delegates were very keen to show the visitors ‘Barry’s’ in Portrush, the nearest NI has to a theme park and I gather they enjoyed that.
Sunday 14th was a long tiring day. Leaving White Park Bay at just after 9am we travelled to Gracehill to lead the morning service. The delegates planned and led the whole service and included bringing greetings from their own congregations, as well as Watchwords in four languages. The bible readings focused on language, first the fracturing into many by the building of the Tower of Babel, and then the breaking down of the barriers by the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Nine delegates brought a liturgical dance to a modern song. A short presentation, a drama and prayers were also included. After the service the congregation, who had heard we had hungry young men in the group, provided us with lunch. A short tour of the settlement led by Sister Lizzy Mewha (who was a delegate herself) preceded us leaving to visit first Ballinderry and then Kilwarlin churches. Both congregations provided refreshments, which disappeared at amazing speed, and a short history of the church. One young man got locked in the toilet at Kilwarlin and this provided us all with something to laugh about all week.
Crawfordsburn was to be our base for 6 nights and allowed us to visit attractions around Belfast: Bangor, The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, and Belfast as well as enjoy the grounds. We also went to Dublin for the day.
The last full day arrived and I looked around the group. There had been some coming and goings among the delegates, 2 Dutch left early to start school, some British arrived late , but despite this the group had gelled well, made firm friendships and were very much one group, not factions. I think the numbers had a significant influence on this as 24 is a good number for everyone to get to know one another, but give choice in who you spend time with. This day was programmed to have time together, playing games, doing craft and just being. After the final evening worship, at which tears were shed, the young people completed their time together with a night out.
The morning worship on the last day included a Cup of Covenant, farewell songs from the Germans and tears. The Dutch were the first to leave with the others going in stages. The German delegates had to wait until the evening for their bus to Dublin so spent the day relaxing at University Road before being waved off by Paul, Phil and myself. At that point I realised we had done it: the event was a success, NI had been shown off, new international friendships made, and young Moravians from across Europe left feeling part of a much bigger church.
UK contact: Joy Raynor, Provincial Youth and Children’s Officer email@example.com