Cross-church campaign to tackle sectarianism

A new cross-church campaign to tackle sectarianism has been established in the North following a summer of parade related violence.


The initiative entitled ‘Hope and History – Building Peace in Northern Ireland’ is inviting members of the churches to sign up to a statement that gives positive encouragement to those who are committed to making peace work and to improve relationships into the future.


Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week, founding member Fr Martin Magill said he hopes the campaign will “encourage and empower people to be their own peacemakers”.


“We want to convey a message of positivity and this offers those who aren’t involved in public life an opportunity to have their voices heard,” Fr Mcgill said.


“People can make a difference in their own way; they don’t have to leave it to the politicians. We hope this campaign will encourage people to take the initiative to do something positive for their community,” he said.


According to Fr Magill, there is a “real desire among all churches to work together to develop the peace process”.


“The violence is nothing like the mayhem of the past but the difficult situation over the summer has overshadowed the progress.


“At the heart of this project is relationships and getting to know each other. We have to fight now together against a narrative of negativity,” he said.


Leaders from the Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Catholic Churches are endorsing the new campaign in support of the upcoming talks by US diplomat Dr Richard Haass to encourage all who are taking part and the wider community to seek the common good at this time.


The campaign has been devised by members of various churches and has now been endorsed by the Catholic Primate of all Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, Church of Ireland Primate of all Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Dr Rob Craig and President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Dr Heather Morris.


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