The fourth annual Four Corners Festival is set for 28 January – 7 February and once again the people of Belfast are invited to consider what boundaries they might cross through attending events at the festival and engaging with the people they meet there. This year’s theme is ‘the art of listening’ and the events are designed to help us hear what others have to say about how the city can be transformed.
The festival was the idea of Rev Steve Stockman of Fitzroy Presbyterian and Fr Martin Magill of Sacred Heart Parish, and is organised by ‘a group of Christians who wish to promote unity and reconciliation in the midst of our city’s – and our islands’ – troubled past.’ Attendance at the events has grown each year as more people – Christian, secular, and from various religions – have caught the vision of the festival … or simply been attracted by the quality of the events on offer.
There are 15 events over the course of this year’s festival, which deliberately follows on from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January).
There is a schools arts competition and more events focusing on young people this year, reflecting the organisers’ hopes to make the festival inter-generational.
Events are free, but donations are welcome to help cover costs.
The festival will be launched 22 January at 11 am at the newly-opened Girdwood Community Hub in North Belfast.
Here’s a sampling of the events:
FROM SYRIA… WITH GRACE
How can the Belfast Churches respond to the Refugee Crisis? We join Embrace for an evening of information and inspiration.
Saturday 30 January 2.30-5.00pm
Four churches of four different denominations. St George’s, High Street (Church of Ireland) at 2.30pm. From St George’s we will proceed to First Belfast Presbyterian Church in Rosemary Street (Non-subscribing Presbyterian). Then we will walk to St Mary’s, Chapel Lane (Roman Catholic) and, finally, make our way to Sandy Row Methodist Church. In each church we will be welcomed by the Minister or a parishioner who will tell us about the life and ministry of that congregation. We expect to spend about 20 minutes in each church, so, with the time for walking, the event should last about two and a half hours.
THE ART OF LISTENING; BBC MORNING SERVICE
SUNDAY JANUARY 31st at 10.15am Fitzroy Church, University St
4 Corners Festival hosts the BBC Morning service. Speaker will be Rev Heather Morris.
TALKING ABOUT… RELIGION: IS ANYBODY LISTENING
Wednesday FEBRUARY 3rd at 6:45pm | Ulster Museum
We will be exploring how religion is reflected in the BBC’s output. Hosted by William Crawley in conversation with Caroline Wyatt, the BBC’s Religious Affairs Correspondent, Roger Bolton, of BBC Radio 4’s Feedback programme, Bert Tosh, formerly Head of Religion with BBC Northern Ireland and Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s Head of Religion and Ethics.
LET THEM SPEAK – LISTENING TO OUR YOUNG LEADERS
Friday 5th February at 11am | Ulster University
A gathering of students from Belfast schools tell us what they think of the city and its future.
LISTENING TO THE CITY
Saturday 6th February at 2:30pm | Girdwood Community Hub
Belfast is a fascinating city to walk, and its streets have much to tell us. We hear how artists have listened to and been inspired by the psycho geography of Belfast.
DREAMERS AND VISIONARIES SHARE DREAMS AND VISIONS
Sunday 7th February at 7pm | St Nicholas’ Church, Lisburn Road
We end the festival with some of our visionaries sharing their dreams about how we move into the future. Expect poetry and songs and the winner of our School’s Art Competition.