One of the great delights of this year promises to be a visit to Melbourne by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Pádraig is a poet and community development worker from Belfast, but neither of those descriptions do him justice. His poetry and songs have been a constant soundtrack in the office here over the last couple of years, and in every context in which I’ve used his work, people have spoken of how it finds the raw space inside them which they have never known held by words. He’ll be speaking at a few internal UCA staff events here, mostly as we explore how to be a reconciling community – to hear stories that are too painful to hear, and to create a space where forgiveness might come. He’ll also be speaking at a handful of public events.
The first of these is a one day workshop for anyone interested in community development work, and in particular hearing some of the stories and processes used by the Corrymeela Community and the Irish Peace Centres. This is an opportunity for anyone who’s interested in exploring different ways of entering into justice issues and responding to issues of reconciliation, forgiveness, revenge, sorrow, safety… It’s a full day workshop on Tuesday 27th March, at an inner Melbourne venue to be announced very shortly [registration details to come by the end of the week].
The second is an afternoon workshop and evening contemplative space on Wednesday 28th March, down in Queenscliff. This looks particularly lovely… The afternoon and evening focus around the sea as a character in the stories of faith, interwoven with stories of land, shelter and belonging.
The third is an another afternoon workshop and evening poetry performance, this time at Chalice in Northcote, Melbourne, on Friday 30th March. Again… lovely… The afternoon workshop, for writers and community artists, will explore how to give sorrow words. The evening performance will, as the brochure says, give a poetic insight into how life in a post-conflict society continues to reverberate from aftershocks, as well as pointing to the timelessness and hope that is inherent in the heart of humanity.
Like I said, I can’t wait for this. His visit already feels like such a gift, at such an important time. I hope you can come.