Posts Tagged ‘Titanic’

I don’t normally go to the office on a Friday, but yesterday Wycliffe News had to be finished and ready for the printer on Monday morning. Yes, I’ve lost the Kouya special characters in creating my visual below: it will look good in the printed version – oh by the way, if anyone’s interested, you can ask for it by e-mail…

Part of Wycliffe News front page

I was done just before lunchtime and it was a lovely day, so I decided to walk into town. First stop was the Key Centre where former Wycliffe member and theological student Nev sorted out my dodgy spare car key with a new battery.

The Key Centre

Next stop was to be Harris Rundle, my opticians, to get my temporary frames adjusted until I get a definite date for a second cataract operation… hopefully next month. But en route I got distracted by some superb Belfast shipyard murals at the bottom of Castlereagh Street featuring the Titanic and the Olympic.


Titanic's sister ship the Olympic

These are just two images from the mural – it’s well worth a visit if you are in East Belfast.

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It’s a busy wee year here in N. Ireland! And what prompted me was spotting the poster on the right: perhaps more about the Balmoral review later. For the moment see Slugger O’Toole. We’re into the so-called decade of centenaries: the First World War and especially the battle of the Somme; the Ulster Unionist opposition to Home Rule for Ireland. the Irish Republican Easter Rising… not to mention the sinking of the Titanic! How could anyone miss it? As I mentioned in my recent Who’d be a third class passenger on the Titanic?– the Titanic is even being remembered in the village of Déma in Ivory Coast!

The Titanic Bar in Déma, Ivory Coast

It really has been interesting living in Belfast as N. Ireland people have re-adjusted their thinking about the Titanic from an embarrassing disaster for the reputation of the once world famous Belfast shipyard, to… here’s something we can celebrate. Belfast shipyard built what was then the greatest ship afloat – and as the song says..

Don’t blame me and don’t blame Jimmy

She was alright when she left the Yard!

Of course with world wide interest in the Titanic, who can blame N. Ireland for building on the Titanic story to develop our tourist industry. I touched on all this in a previous blog. My Dad and I went on a very enjoyable Titanic walking tour last year, but I’m afraid all the recent activity around the opening of Titanic Belfast has been overshadowed for me by our nostalgic and very memorable trip to the Kouya New Testament dedication in Ivory Coast.

Mind you if I hadn’t gone, I would never have known that the Titanic was being commemorated in Déma in the middle of Ivory Coast far from the coast and the sea. Indeed when the Kouya team was translating the Book of Acts, there were problems finding terms for all the nautical stuff in Paul’s final journey to Rome.

My favourite is the term for anchor which back translates as “big canoe stopping metal”!

Probably the last photo ever taken of the Titanic

The story about the memorial cruise on the Balmoral retracing the route of the Titanic to mark 100 years since the ship sank – see BBC News article – featured probably the last photograph of the Titanic taken from Cobh in 1912, and has sparked my interest again. So I must go and take a dander round Titanic Quarter sometime this week… and maybe take some photos of my own.

Nice image, this

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I never thought I could write a blog combining my trip to the Kouya New Testament dedication with the Belfast celebrations of the Titanic until…

The Titanic leaves Belfast

A colleague recently used this analogy about passenger classes in a letter.

Who’d be a third-class passenger on The Titanic? When the ship sank on 14th April 1912, only 24% of third-class passengers survived; compared with 42% of second-class passengers and 61% of first-class.

In God’s reckoning, there’s no such thing as first- or second-class, according to status or financial clout. So, for example, in Luke 5, Jesus deals kindly in turn with Peter (a fisherman, probably not wealthy or well-qualified), an unnamed leper (contagious and outcast), an unnamed paralyzed man (lowered through the roof by four friends) and Levi (a tax collector,

wealthy but probably dishonest and despised by others). But there ARE two classes of people: those who know they are sinners and need to repent, and act accordingly; and those who don’t (Luke 5:32).

Minority people often have a rough time in the class-stakes.

My colleague went on to tell a story of the minority people group that he and his wife work with, while I was reminded of my recent trip to the dedication of the Kouya New Testament in Ivory Coast.

The Kouyas are a small people group by world population standards… not many more than 15,000 in number. Sue Arthur told a story in her dedication speech about what Kouyas said to them back when she and Eddie first arrived to work in the Kouya project:

Several people told us that Kouya was not a real language like French! But Kouya certainly is a real language which can be written like any other language: it has its own grammar, it has its unique way of expressing things. It is a very rich language! And since 2002, Kouya is numbered among the languages in which the Word of God has been translated!

You could say that the Kouyas are not so numerous, that you are not a big ethnic group. However you are very important in the eyes of God and now you can hear his voice in your own language – in Kouya, the language of your hearts!     (my translation from Sue’s French)

Part of the crowd at the Kouya dedication

It was so encouraging to see how the Kouya church has grown from the handful of Christians in the early 1980s. To see a multi-generational crowd of around 500 people at the dedication event. To know that Kouya men associated with the translation project are holding responsible positions in Christian organisations in Ivory Coast. To be with Kouya friends as they celebrated their first class status in God’s Kingdom!

And to return to my opening image, to see that the Titanic is being celebrated this year in the Kouya village of Déma – as well as in Belfast!

Maquis Le Titanic in Dema village, Ivory Coast

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Samson and Goliath

Humphhhhh! Disappointed that only Alan in Belfast commented on my recent post Belfast Photo Puzzle. Perhaps my enjoyment in taking some photographs on a beautiful sunny morning around the once famous Belfast shipyard just didn’t scratch my readers where they were itching.

This area now rejoices in the name Titanic Quarter! Yes, in  N. Ireland we have shed our hang-ups about the Titanic and decided to rejoice in the glorious history of our shipbuilding industry. And why should that be? Well…

1. As the chorus of a Belfast song goes: “Don’t blame me and don’t blame Jimmy; she was alright when she left the Yard!”

2. Centenaries can change perspectives – and besides the cruise ship business is bringing 33 ships and 58,000 passengers to Belfast this summer  – and they are hungry to find out more about the origins of the infamous Titanic.

By the way there is a brilliant walking tour that is a must-do if you are in Belfast – Titanic Walking Tours  – it will turn you into a Titanorac!

Crystal Serenity Cruise Ship Belfast 27th July 2011

But what’s all this about Samson and Goliath and what’s the photo at the top of the page? Well, the photo shows Samson and Goliath, the two giant cranes that dominate the Belfast skyline.

As I was doing some photo research, I came upon a UTV story about Samson and Goliath from earlier this year.

One of the most iconic features of the Belfast sky-line could be set for a revamp, as part of plans to make the Harland and Wolff cranes “more relevant” for 2012.

Initially I was filled with horror, but read it for yourself… horror turned into smiles.


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