> Thursday, April 13, 2017 will be a Hospitality Room workday. If you would like to help with the painting, picture hanging, lifting and moving, please contact Emily Bentley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-575-2477 Ext. 106.
> Full details including agenda have been published for our upcoming “Ministry WITH” training workshop, May 24-27. Learn more.
> Companion Reflection: Monday, April 17th, 5:15 – 7:15 p.m. All companions are invited to join Mark and Emily for a community reflection time in the dining room. We would like to begin these quarterly gatherings by reflecting on the word “companion” itself. Please consider the following two questions between now and the 17th: 1. When have you experienced the gift of a good companion? 2. What have you learned about companionship through your time at Haywood Street? Dinner will be provided!
A Haywood Reflection from Cappy:
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Bright blue eyes and a distinctive Irish brogue are an indication that a visit with new Haywood Street companion, Jack McCann, is bound to be interesting, especially if the conversation includes food and history.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Jack grew up in a household that embraced learning and being curious about the world. “Our family moved a lot due to my father’s work in international business,” explains Jack, “so living in places like Geneva, Switzerland, Frankfurt, Germany and various locations in South Africa, was a wonderful opportunity for a young boy to experience life in different cultures. It gave me a sense of discovery that continues today as I explore the world.”
College days were spent studying at University College Cork in Ireland and University College London in England, earning Jack a degree in history and later a PhD in archaeology. This took him on more adventures to archaeological digs in various locations, but the work wasn’t always steady, so in-between assignments, he took a job as a bartender in the oil fields of Nigeria one summer.
A friend back in London told him about an opening at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, one of the city’s most famous pubs, seeped in history and tradition; it’s said that Charles Dickens used to sit at the tables and write. It was a perfect job – back in the city he loved and sharing stories with patrons about the past and doing a bit of writing himself. He worked there for four years, enjoying the camaraderie and steady paycheck.
“Adventure is always a “carrot-on-the-stick” promise for a wanderlust like me,” remembers Jack, “so when a job offer in New York City came about, I packed my duffle bag and headed for the Big Apple. Unfortunately, plans with the new restaurant fell apart and I found myself without a job. I needed to work and decided to relocate to a smaller city in a milder climate. I’d heard about Asheville and decided a move to the Blue Ridge Mountains made sense.”
It’s a choice Jack is happy about, in spite of some setbacks getting settled and finding work. It’s the first time in his life he’s been homeless, but he’s taking the situation in stride and turning it into a positive experience and a possible book in the future.
“Fortunately, I discovered Haywood Street Congregation the first week in town,” he explains, “I felt such a welcoming sense of community right from the start when first walking in the door on a cold Wednesday morning in November, 2016. The smiles are genuine here and hospitality warms one’s heart.
In return, Jack decided to give back, attending a volunteer orientation and becoming a new HSC companion last month. You’ll find him in the kitchen cooking and serving up platters of hearty and nutritious meals on Wednesdays and Sundays for the Welcome Table. He’s also there on prep days, arriving early and staying late, washing pots and pans and making sure everything is ready for the next meal.
Jack enjoys talking recipes and menu ideas with HSC Banquet Steward, Dave Holland, and is more than happy to explain to folks what bangers and mash are and why mint jelly brings out the flavor of a good cut of meat.
A positive attitude helps Jack stay focused on finding steady employment and a place of his own. He just hopes any schedule he gets allows time to continue volunteering at Haywood.
Yes indeed, Irish eyes are smiling – in the kitchen and everywhere this young man travels. So happy you found Haywood Street Jack. You bring smiles to all of us!
Find more pictures and stories from our congregation here.