Faith-based groups involved in peacebuilding throughout Belfast are invited to apply to attend two networking events in Belfast City Hall in January. Groups from the North and West of the city are invited to attend on Thursday 16 January and groups from the South and East on Tuesday 21 January. Both events start at 4 pm and refreshments will be served till 6 pm.
The events have in part been instigated by the 4 Corners Festival (15 January-1 February), which has issued invitations. The invitations read:
This invitation is for faith groups who are engaging in peace-building work in the north and west of the city. It is extended to two people from each faith group.
This event aims to provide opportunities to learn more about the peace building work of others. It’s also a chance to network and get inspiration for future projects.
If you are planning to attend, please forward a short paragraph (300 words max) describing your peace building work by Wednesday 8 January 2014. You may find the attached example of a peace building project helpful.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9027 0663.
An example of a peacebuilding project is the ‘knitted Christmas tree’ created by the Craft and Fellowship Group from the Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) in Monkstown and St Oliver Plunkett’s parish in Lenadoon:
In early 2013 Joan, the leader of the Craft and Fellowship Group from the Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) in Monkstown, read an article about a knitted Christmas tree. So in early spring, equipped with a pattern, Joan and the ladies from COGS set about knitting green squares.
Following a conversation with a member of the parish of St Oliver Plunkett in Lenadoon, Joan shared her hope of knitting a Christmas tree. This chance conversation was possible because previously there had been visits between the two groups of people to their respective churches, and they had attended events in one another’s parishes.
Joan shared her vision of producing two trees, one for each church, one Sunday morning at St Oliver Plunkett’s. Over the summer months members from St Oliver Plunkett’s and COGS Knit & Natter group made exchange visits. The squares, in forty shades of green, grew in number as did the knitted decorations that would be needed to adorn both trees.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas the timber structure for the trees was assembled. Joan’s dream has come to life in both churches – they now display a 7′ tree of knitted green squares and decorations.
At the end of the Christmas festivities both groups plan to sew the squares together to make blankets for those in need. The initiative generated a considerable amount of interest beyond both congregations and involved a number of women who normally didn’t attend either church. Members of both groups discovered through their meetings together that in spite of their differences, the two parishes have much more in common, such as both parishes have housing estates which have similar problems.
They recognised how they had “lots to learn about one another and ourselves”.