This week Fr Martin Magill returned to the Titanic Quarter for the monthly service on board The Nomadic, which focused on the themes of class and equality. It was also a celebration for the first year of the Nomadic being opened to the public.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: The Dock on the Nomadic
As this was the first Sunday of the month, I attended “worship on a boat,” which was the Dock service on the Nomadic. The theme this month was “class” and was led by the chaplain, Rev Chris Bennett.
Chris invited us to sing “Happy Birthday” to the Nomadic crew to celebrate the first year of the opening of the Nomadic to the public.
Chris led us in prayer at the start of the service with a few moments of quiet and then an opening of thanksgiving.
The opening hymn was: “How deep the Father’s love,” which was then followed by “For the cross”.
After the hymns, Chris talked about our equality in the eyes of God. He pointed out as a consequence of this, we need to challenge ourselves to discover if we treat others differently.
He then introduced us to Maggie and Gail from the Nomadic crew. Gail welcomed us on board the SS Nomadic and she focussed on the different classes onboard. At the time of the building of Nomadic in 1911, the ship was very class orientated. To make this point, Gail invited us to move to second class to see the change of decor and facilities. We then went to third class. As she showed us around, Gail also emphasised the theme of equality. It was very easy to see the part class played in the construction of the ship as we moved around the Nomadic.
When we returned to our seats, Chris commented on how class-orientated Nomadic was even in 1911. He commented on the efforts made for first class passengers for a 40 minute journey. Nomadic was basically a water taxi to take passengers to the Titanic.
We were reminded again of how we need to challenge ourselves on the way we treat others.
Chris then showed us a piece from Youtube and an experiment in France conducted to show how class plays a part in how we respond today. It finished with the memorial line “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
Chris then asked the question – have things changed that much? He invited us to speak out some examples. We heard: racism, sectarianism, ageism, sexism. He then invited us to think about the different “isms” within ourselves. He talked about toxic attitudes within our hearts.
Chris handed over to Rev Karen Spence, the “co-chaplain” to read the word of God. Karen invited us to listen to God’s word and allow it to settle within our hearts. She read the story of the Good Samaritan. Karen then asked to consider who we were in the story.
We then stood to sing “The humble King,” “Faithful One,” and “You make me brave”. The final hymn had the line: “you call me out beyond the shore into the waves”.
Chris finished by showing us some pictures of Titanic Belfast – and the slipways at the back of the building and the representation in grass of the numbers from the different classes who perished on the Titanic. He challenged us again to be aware of the different “isms” within ourselves. We then went to the Dock cafe for refreshments.