So ends the first day at Corrymeela, an organization in Northern Ireland dedicated to ‘transforming division through human encounter.’
Our group of fifteen women were warmly welcomed, oriented to the building and our rooms, heard about the origins and practices of Corrymeela and had lunch. We spent some time getting to know each other a little more deeply, intimacy and trust has been increasing even in the short time we have been together.
Shona Bell, one of the programme staff led us in an interactive exercise that helped us have a visual overview of the complexity of the overlapping identities, beliefs and culture of the people of this part of the world.
This afternoon we were invited on a walking meditation around the grounds, wherever we wanted to go, holding a handful of ordinary garden dirt and invited to ponder our roots. As I wandered, looking out over the ocean, I had a sudden sense of place! I WAS ON THE NORTH COAST OF IRELAND! I had located Corrymeela on a map a few days before the start of my journey, and suddenly I knew exactly where I was in time and space!
This evening, Derrick Wilson led us in The Theory and Practice of Peace and Reconciliation. He made the mistake or plan of asking us what we wanted to talk about and never did get to his presentation! Some of us wound up in a spirited discussion on gender roles in reconciliation work and how that is played out in different situations and circumstances.
After that, time for worship in The Croi, pronounced cree. Hot chocolate and toast awaited us, and then we went our separate ways. Some to check in with those at home, some to coordinate leadership for the following day, some to bed.
Sunset on the way to worship.