The bishop of Derry diocese, Donal McKeown, was among more than 30 people recognised in this year’s Lambeth Awards which were announced this week by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The awards acknowledge “outstanding contributions to the Church and wider society”. In total, 32 awards were announced to people from fields including evangelism, the religious life, safeguarding, ecumenism, theology and interfaith relations. Bishop McKeown, along with the former CoI bishop of Derry and Raphoe Ken Good, were each given a Langton Award for Community Service.
Bishop McKeown’s citation said his award was “for his exceptional and sustained dedication to the cause of peace and social cohesion in an environment of traditional interdenominational tension”.
The awards are usually presented at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace, but this year’s ceremony was cancelled because of Covid-19.
Bishop McKeown said the award would serve as an encouragement to Church and wider civic society. “It is a privilege to receive this Award along with Bishop Ken,” Bishop McKeown said. “He laboured long and faithfully in this corner of the Lord’s vineyard. Anything I have done in my few years here was built on the foundations that others had laid before my arrival.
“As the disciples on the road to Emmaus discovered, the Truth can be encountered by those who walk together. Ken and I sought to walk together as a symbol of the pilgrim Church, making space for Christ to make our hearts burn within us.
“Community is built by good relationships – and by emphasising our long, shared history rather than our more recent divided past. Along with the other main Churches in the area, we tried to look at the common heritage of St Columba. That enabled us all to look together at some of the recent contentious centenaries so that our young people could face the future with hope rather than fear.”