Wow, what a full day! We have been going for 12 hours, though not all meetings. A good part of it was travel to and from and dinner.
We left our apartment shortly after 9am to attend Mass at 10 with the people who would be in the study we were visiting at 11. There were 7 present in addition to us and they all seemed eager to share. We were publicly welcomed in the Mass (the study leader had let the priest who attends the study know that we were visiting) and warmly received in the study. We are often concerned that study participants will not open up with us there, but this group was not holding back at all. We had a wonderful discussion of Luke 13.
We followed the study leader, Ann, to her home afterwards for lunch with herself and her fiance, Gerald. Gerald normally attends the study also, but had other commitments this morning. We had a great time with them talking about their upcoming wedding in February and about the study. The future of CBSI in their church, Divine Word, looks promising indeed.
After lunch, we went for a short meeting with Robert, our national coordinator, to talk about some upcoming changes in how studies are distributed here in Ireland and other ministry topics.
To wrap up our meetings, we met Gerard at a coffee shop. Gerard serves on the board of directors of Alpha-Ireland with whom we are seeking to establish a collaborative relationship to encourage joint efforts to start Alpha courses and CBSI studies. We were not expecting to get any commitments out of this meeting and did not receive any, though Gerard seemed as eager as we are to foster such cooperation and mutual support.
We shared with Gerard that our study in Galway was already planning to start another Alpha course in January to recruit more participants and to follow that with another CBSI study that they will invite the Alpha participants to. We also told him that we are already encouraging our groups in Dublin to consider taking a break from CBSI in January to support their local churches’ efforts in starting new Alpha courses with a similar view to provide CBSI as a Bible study option to follow Alpha.
While Gerard did not make any commitments to promote CBSI as a good follow-up study to Alpha, he did like these models and gave us information about some other avenues for cooperation that we may want to consider.
One of these was a huge conference that is being hosted in Dublin in June 2012 for a week. There very well could be some open doors for CBSI to participate in that with representatives able to share in some venue how the studies are being used and impacting lives here in Ireland.
The other was an offer to use the open door he has to submit articles to the Irish Catholic newspaper to submit an article about CBSI-Ireland. We just need to send him a good description of CBSI and have some of our people submit their stories about how they’re using it and he will get it into the paper for us.
So, a brilliant meeting, as the Irish would say.
The rest of the long day was enjoying some leisure time, having dinner, and getting back home. The coffee shop where we met was in a park with gardens, so we walked around there for a half-hour or so. Having been warned by Gerard about backups on both sides of the main motorway due to a major accident, we decided to work our way through the City Centre of Dublin to get home and stop for dinner on the way. Since we were going through the City Centre, we decided to eat at a nice hotel where we held our leadership celebration 2 years ago.
After that, we decided to try to find the route to the place of my meeting tomorrow morning as I was planning to drive and would be going right by the area we were in … that would help me to know where to turn when I’m driving through heavier traffic in the morning. We didn’t make it more than a few blocks on the route before we missed a turn and couldn’t get turned around … getting totally lost and giving up on trying to find the destination. We did find our way back to the motorway which was clear by now and then back to our apartment … and decided I would take the bus tomorrow after all.
Well, it’s after midnight … just got off of Skype with our daughter and son-in-law … so need to get to bed.
Sam & Patti Allgood