14 Jul 2023
Corrymeela hosts thousands of people each year at our Ballycastle centre.
Over the past several months our sense of community has been enriched by the various folk who have been a part of Corrymeela.
In APRIL we welcomed over 20 groups, including:
Youth Link Alliance (with us twice): this group brings about 40 youth from 4 areas in NI together along a shared learning journey.
NIACRO, which brings 30+ people from families of those in custody together to share experiences, understanding and knowledge.
Lighten our Darkness – the group of 20+ young people from Mullingar who have created a dramatic production that responds to the climate crisis with faith, hope and action.
Our Past, Our Places, Our Perspectives: the Heritage Leadership project that brings a diverse group together to share narratives of the past that can make possible a more inclusive future.
Washington Ireland Programme: 35 emerging leaders heading to Washington DC to strengthen connections across the Atlantic –– and to learn how deeper relationships inform our politics and our policies.
We’ve also had Corrymeela’s North Down Cell Group, the Inner Outings retreat, a Resilient Spirit retreat, a wedding on the grass between Davey Village and the sea, two Enneagram workshops, a day visit from Vineyard Compassion Coleraine. We hosted a Trauma Informed Approach to Practice training, provided a welcome to refugees/aslyum seekers, and helped create a sense of belonging for some who are marginalised by our society. We were also able to welcome back a half–dozen former volunteers, host our own Belfast/Good Friday Agreement conference, and hold a Community Weekend with over 150 members, staff and volunteers taking part.
MAY brought us into a busy season at the centre with 25 residential groups and additional day bookings.
Guests included those from locals schools: 48 from Enniskillen Intregrated Primary and 59 from Oakfield and Acorn Primary.
Local community groups: Shankill Women’s Centre; Youth Work Alliance; Rainbow Refugees, which provides support to LGBTQ+ asylum seekers; Colin Carers, which is group of women from West Belfast;
Universities: University of Georgia; Westmont College; Belmont University; Centenary College; Coe College; University of Minnesota; Mars Hill University; Hope College; INcore; University of Mary
International peacebuilding and volunteer organisations: UK Peacebuilding Network; German FIF volunteers; Kroc School for Peace Studies;
Retreat seekers: Unplug and Recharge Yoga; Retreat space;
And our Own Programme: Belfast/Good Friday Agreement review; Corrymeela 11th Cell group; Climate Justice Group and 2 residentials offering Trauma–Informed Training
We started JUNE with a residential for 23 individuals receiving support as part of the Widowed Young group. Then 28 from Slemish College and 30 from Holybank Primary overlapped for a few nights while 25 volunteers from Citi Bank spent a day labouring in the garden. We also welcomed 42 participants on the Potala Kadampa Buddhist meditation retreat.
5 guests from MOAI Health, which looks to optimise relationships in medical teams, spent a night with us on the same day 30 participants arrived as part of his Ireland Retreat. 59 from Rowandale Integrated Primary were with us, along with 16 university students from Grand Valley State studying the psychology of peace and reconciliation.
Two members–led events overlapped in mid–June, with the Cancer Focus NI residential on site the same weekend that 34 arrived from Lagan College‘s Student Leadership Team. 54 students from Friends’ and St. Dominic’s stayed with us as part of a shared education residential –– at the same time 8 pupils from Landhead Primary visited (see photo above).
22 from Westminster Presbyterian in Alexandria, Virginia were with us just before a weekend when another church from Virginia, 28 from Old Donation Episcopal overlapped with 40 youth from New Farm Loch.
In the the final week in June we hosted 12 in the Women in Faith group, 19 for the Rites and Rituals conference that Shona Bell led, and a CO3 Retreat for 17 –– as well as day groups, including 10 from the Ballycastle area taking part in a Wellness Day, and 15 from Grove Community Housing.
One of the best things about residentials is the unplanned interaction between groups on site. To see youth groups from different parts of the world –– or school groups from different parts of the province discover each other is a great reminder of the encounters that remains at the heart of our work.
We always look forward to welcoming new groups to Corrymeela –– or welcoming back those who have already become a part of Corrymeela’s story. If you would like to book a stay or visit to Corrymeela with a group you are a part of, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at Bookings – Corrymeela.