Embedding a chaplaincy in Titanic Quarter is the mission of Chris Bennett, Karen Spence and The Dock helpers and supporters.
Hundreds of apartments have sprung up over the past few years behind the Odyssey. Thousands of people work in the white/glass buildings that stretch from Citi, past PRONI, past the Paint Hall and down to the NI Science Park. Thousands work and study at the new Belfast Met campus. And thousands of tourists (and locals) will shortly embark on a pilgrimage to the Titanic Belfast building to find out about the boat that was all right when it left here.
In the midst of this, a team of Christians representing a wide range of denominations (and none) are working hard to make sure that Titanic Quarter is more about people than buildings.
While the ultimate plan is to be based on a boat moored in behind the Odyssey, The Dock recently got the keys for one of the vacant shop units under the ARC apartments under a 'meanwhile lease' and have opened it as a café. (A meanwhile lease allows a charitable organisation to have the use of a vacant space until a permanent paying tenant can be found.)
The café sources
everything as much as possible everything locally. A milk float delivers glass milk bottles. The tea and coffee are manufactured in the city. The buns are from a local bakery. The art on the walls are from a local gallery. Much of the furniture is second hand (with just a little help from Sweden).
Open Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 7pm, and on Saturday from 11am to 5pm. A place to meet, to talk, to work, to think.
Call in and Tegan the barista will brew you up a hot cup and select one of the very fine buns. Given The Dock's lease, there is no price list and no charge. Instead you can show your appreciation by dropping something into the honesty box.
As you can see from the silent video above, the café officially opened on Thursday afternoon with a packed crowd. You can also catch The Dock in Sunday night’s Songs of Praise from Belfast which is celebrating the Titanic.