STORIES OF HEALING FROM THE WOUNDS OF THE PAST
Wednesday Feb 8th 7:30pm
Holy Family Parish Church, 226 Limestone Road, BT15
Free BUT donations encouraged
It only takes a few minutes in any TV documentary about The Troubles to have me, once again, disbelieving the inhumanity to humans that was shown in Northern Ireland over a considerable chunk of my life. Blowing people up, shooting people in front of their children, innocent people people caught in the crossfire, mistake in identity or even shot just because you were there and the wrong religion.
The grief, the trauma, the pain, the injuries… the wounds. We are a country full of people with wounds. As Jenna Silverman Wilson put in the poem she wrote for the final night of the Festival last year, they are not scars, they are open wounds.
This year’s 4 Corners Festival theme is Our Wonderful and Wounded City. It was stolen and tweaked from phrase used at a Festival event by Rev Heather Morris. Implicit in the title is our desire to seek how we can heal from the wounds.
The Stories of Healing… event will give us an opportunity to hear about how some people have attempted that journey of healing. Where do you begin when you lose a father before you are born, husband, a Grandfather or the power of your legs? How does that journey go? Is there healing? Can you forgive? Have you any desire for reconciliation?
John Martin’s father, Brian, was killed on the 4th of November 1983 studying at the then Polytechnic college in Jordanstown. He was survived by his wife Iris and sister Sara-Louise (13months at the time). Iris was pregnant with John when Brian was killed. John believes that forgiveness is not something that you do once, but something that has to be done over and over. John and his family have found healing in their faith, and being reconciled to God through Christ, and believe therefore that we must be reconcilers. Although John admits he is still working this out.
Paul Gallagher was seriously injured in a sectarian gun attack by the UFF in 1994. He is currently involved in issues relating to Victims and Survivors as well as peacebuilding. Paul is undertaking a Masters (Con ict Transformation and Social Justice) at Queen’s University Belfast.
Joe McKeown’s Grandfather, Francis McKeown was killed by the British Army in July 1972, seven years before he was born but was undoubtedly impacted and some would call this intergenerational trauma. e ripple e ects of this tragic event have led to su ering and pain for the McKeown family but they have also led Joe on a journey of reconciliation and hope. Moving from a negative cycle of bitterness and anger to the search for Justice, Truth and Mercy has led Joe towards transformation and healing.
Mary Moreland was widowed in December 1988 when her husband John was murdered by the IRA. Both John and Mary served as part time soldiers with the Ulster Defence Regiment. Despite the trauma of John’s murder and with two small children to bring up it was Mary’s aspiration to ensure life for their children would continue in as normal a manner as possible. She returned to work in the Northern Ireland Civil Service and went on successfully to complete a degree in Business Studies and a Masters in Counselling and Therapeutic Communication.
The statistics of our Troubles is one thing. Remembering those killed is another. Living with the consequences of the inhumanity is something that these four people, and their families, live with every day of their lives.
It seems to me that as we seek healing for our community in general, the individual stories of the four speakers at this event can only shed light and grace on our journey towards God’s shalom.
Songwriter Dave Thompson will punctuate the evening with songs of healing. The songs on Dave’s album Newsprint Sky touch on the wonder and wounds of Belfast.
Chair for the evening is Jude Hill from UTV