The contribution was submitted by Laura Coulter, the Good Relations Officer for the Greater Belfast area. Contact information for good relations workers in other parts of Northern Ireland and the border counties can be found here. ICPP also maintains a Facebook page where you can learn about its latest activities.
The Irish Churches Peace Project –
Contact (in Belfast): Laura Coulter, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Irish Churches Peace Project is an initiative of the island’s four largest churches, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Methodist and the Irish Council of Churches. Their vision is:
“To facilitate the transformation of Northern Ireland and the border region into becoming a peaceful and stable society, with a shared and better future”
ICPP has been established to enable reconciliation in society through the churches working together. It aims to promote sustained and well facilitated cross community dialogue particularly focusing on the contentious issues that need to be addressed in order to develop good relations and promote reconciliation. It also wishes to support local inter-church/cross-community groups in their development of new grass roots initiatives that will contribute to the lasting peace.
Laura Coulter, ICPP Good Relations Officer in North Belfast, has been working with a small group of clergy who organised a prayer vigil for Belfast in December. They hoped that the initiative would bring together people from all churches and communities to celebrate diversity and to pray for the peace of the city, particularly given recent tensions.
“We want to pray for peace and reconciliation in our city at this time. We want to send out a message of hope and celebration of difference at this Christmas season.” Fr Martin Magill, Sacred Heart Parish
Around 70 people from all denominations attended an uplifting and reflective evening.
Breige O’Hare led the reflections and two young musicians from Joanmount Methodist and Sacred Heart Parish, led the singing. The ‘Prayer for Belfast,’ which has been promoted by the Lord Mayor during the year, was used during the service.
It is hoped that this initiative is a first step towards further initiatives that will promote inter-church dialogue and deepen understanding between the different church traditions.
(Image from the 4 Corners Networking event by Patrick Sanders)