Day 2 in Northern Ireland began with church at Bloomfield Presbyterian where our group got some special recognition from minister Frank. Following the service, we remarked on the similarities and differences between COS and Bloomfield. We all mentioned that we were thankful to be there on a day they served communion.

After the service, members of the church treated us to a great lunch and “good Craic” (Irish for lively, fun conversation). We gathered around tables, enjoyed soup and sandwiches, and got to know the members of Bloomfield a bit better.

We stuck around Bloomfield after lunch for a short documentary on the history of The Troubles. As we watched, we were encouraged to hold onto the questions “How did things begin?” And “Were the troubles justified?” These questions opened up a lot of great discussion.

We then caught a ride to Fitzroy Presbyterian church for Corrymeela in the City. This was a small gathering hosted by Corrymeela that followed a short liturgy of prayer and song. We COSers felt right at home with a liturgy in our hands. The short service, and reflections, were focused on forgiveness and reconciliation. 

Day 2 concluded with a trip to the botanical gardens where we divided into groups to discuss our book on reconciliation. But before that, we had to take a look at Union Theological Seminary (where Pastor Karen studied!). Once in the garden, and divided into our groups, we were guided by the questions “Who is ‘the other’ in our own contexts” and “what is the price of peace?” Needless to say, these were not short discussions. As night drew near, we returned to our host families, thankful for a wonderful Sunday in Belfast.