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A great piece Steve - long may you continue, long may you thrive in this big hearted, Christ-centred vision God has given you.


Thank you Paul... Thank you for your encouragement... not everybody up here understands... central piece is North and South which I will write about later in the week... when Christy sings that live it is powerfully prophetic... thanks again...

Former QUB student

Mr. Stockman,
You are at liberty to apologise for anything you want to. You might start by apologising for being a poor Presbyterian Church Chaplain at Queens when I was there.

However, apologising for things you could not possibly be responsible for is so much more fun. It allows the apologiser to feel such a warm glow of self righteousness.

Real apology takes courage. Faux apology of the sort above is simply self indulgent self advertisment.

The simple fact is, however, that no one has given you (merely the teaching elder of one Presbyterian congregation) the authority to apologise on behalf of Protestants, Unionists etc. It is even debateable if you have the authority to apologise for anything on behalf of Fitzroy church though that is up to your own congregation.


This is the single most Christian act I have heard of this year, true leadership and visionary in every sense. May God strengthen your resolve.

John McNeil Scott

I doubt very much that any kind of apology is "much fun". And if sincere (which no one has any reason to doubt) it certainly doesn't bring any warm glow of self-righteousness.

When we seek forgiveness it is an act of grace. It doesn't have to involve direct "responsibility", but can be a recognition that context has formed us all and brought us to the place where we are. My situation in life, with its privileges and disadvantages, comes to be because of choices good and bad that I and others have made. It is appropriate and christian to recognise that and "apologise" is not a bad word to describe the acknowledgement.

Steve's apology makes me uncomfortable because I am one of those (rare?) people - Presbyterian by conviction but neither a Unionist nor even a Northerner. So I can't fit this neat "two communities" model of our history, and it rankles. But I recognise that most people do, no point in fighting it.

One of the remarkable things about our Irish situation is that out situation has never really thrown up any properly worked out contextual theology when the situation cries out for it.

The gospel is not (just) in the church or even in the pages of the Bible, but out there in our cultures.


Minister Stockman

On behalf of the West Belfast Community I would like to thank you for coming to Clonard Monastery this month with you fantastic musicians. It was a great night and very moving.

The Presbyterian Church and the Roman Catholic Church have helped one another in so many ways historically. We have a lot in common. It is very sad that both Catholics and Presbyterians faced persecution in Ireland. The fact that our Churches survived this persecution is a testimony to the determination of our ancestors and the work of God.

Christian Unity is such a beautiful thing. So many people have never experienced this but they are missing out.

Keep the good work.


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