Sunday, June 8, 2014
Today our graduate class had a full day and experienced many wonderful sights and sounds.
We began the day by having a class with Dr. Hadden Wilson right here in the quaint and historic cottages of Ballydugan! After a classic European breakfast of cheese, meat, hard boiled eggs, porridge and tea, we began our session. He was gracious to share his day with us and started our morning by providing background for the life of C.S. Lewis. We grew in our understanding of C.S. Lewis’ boyhood, his contemporaries, his schooling, and conversion story.
Lewis grew up going to St. Mark’s Church, where his grandfather was the pastor. Our capable driver, Scott Jones, drove us and we feasted our eyes on the pastoral scene of rolling green hills, grazing sheep and a fleet of bicyclers out for a Sunday ride.
At St. Mark’s we were greeted warmly and joined in the morning worship and liturgy. After the service we were treated to a lovely tour of the church by one of the parishioners, Brian Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy shared with us the history of all the stained glass windows in the church, including one commemorating the Great War. He showed us the baptismal font where Lewis was dedicated as an infant and the stained glass window dedicated to the Lewis family. After our tour we went a short distance to the parsonage where C.S. Lewis’ grandfather lived while he was the pastor at St. Mark’s. There we saw the very special door handle that likely played a role in the inspiration for Lewis’ lion character, Aslan, in the Chronicles of Narnia.
On our way to high tea, we drove through several small towns. We were pleased to see a Maypole that is still used on May the first, wrapped with colorful ribbons. The town of Bangor was having a boating festival and there were many families our and about. We also stopped in to view a sculpture of the wardrobe, a key part of The lion, the witch and the wardrobe story. This piece of art also included Digory, a character from The magician’s nephew, as well. On the back of the sculpture is a letter that C.S. Lewis sent to a young girl who had questions about the symbolism in the book. We were thankful for warm windy weather and so we stopped to read it and admired the artist's work.
Late this afternoon we stopped for high tea at the Old Inn at Crawfordsburn. We enjoyed linen table service with egg salad, salmon and cucumber, ham and dijon and chicken salad finger sandwiches. Of course there were many sweets in a three-layered tier, including mini-meringues, baby ecclairs, tender scones, little berry tarts in a custard sauce and a fudge slice that was heavenly. We stayed for an extended time on small couches and leather ottomans sharing rich discussions about theology and cutting-edge professional development.
We ended the day by preparing for our school visits tomorrow. After a quick bite to eat for supper, a few of our group drove to Dundrum and explored a castle that was built in late 12th century. From there they could see the Irish sea.
JBU Graduate Education Student