BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS
Sunday February 4th @ 7.30pm
Skainos Centre, 239 Newtownards Road
The 4 Corners Festival 2018 starts on Thursday (1.2.18). As it has developed over the last 6 years it is a varied mixture of events - concerts, book readings, plays, walks, banquets etc. Around our imaginative programme, the Sunday evenings have become the theological underpinning. So it is again this year.
On the first Sunday (4th) as well as the BBC Radio Ulster Service in the morning, we are gathering Church leaders from across the denominations to reflect on how the Churches have been, haven’t been and should be involved in Peacemaking in Northern Ireland.
The speakers on the evening are Rev Dr Heather Morris former president of the Methodist Church, Fr Brian Lennon one of the founders of Community Dialogue, Karen Sethuraman (photographed) pastor of the Down Community Church and my good self. Hosting the event is Dr. Gladys Ganiel from The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and also one of the directors of the 4 Corners Festival. Jonny Fitch will add some prophetic songs.
Twenty year after the Good Friday Agreement our societal peace has a long way to go. Indeed as the 4 Corners Festival begins our political peace is a little more brittle than fragile. There is an urgency for Church leaders, among other civic leaders, to play their part in helping our peace process to move forward.
I cannot speak for my fellow speakers but I will be asking if we, the Churches, were more a part of the problem of our Troubles than part of the solution? Though some might say that The Troubles was not a religious war, was there a cold theological war going on among the Churches that in some ways encouraged the fighting on the streets? More crucially, did that theological war that might go back as far as the Reformation paralyse the Churches from their vocation to peacemaking? Did that prolong our conflict? What should we do to repent? How do we fulfil our vocation twenty years after the Agreement?
Expect stimulating challenge and inspiration and with Gladys in the chair, frank and open questions from her and the floor.