Readers of this blog will know that I’ve followed the progress of Northern Ireland’s Thomas Merton Society, which is not yet one year old. Building on the success of this society, which has hosted a number of events over the year, a new all-Ireland Thomas Merton Fellowship will be launched in Corrymeela in December.
Rev. Scott Peddie, founder and Chairman of the Fellowship Committee, has circulated a press release with details about the launch, which I’m reproducing below.
New All-Ireland Fellowship for Peace and Contemplative Living to be Launched
The Merton Fellowship for Peace and Contemplative Living in Ireland is an informal network of individuals interested in living a life of peace and contemplation based on the example and writings of Thomas Merton, the Cistercian monk and spiritual writer. The fellowship, which is inter-denominational and inter-faith in composition, will be officially launched on Saturday 10th December 2011 at the Corrymeela Community’s Ballycastle Centre.
The founder and Chairman of the Fellowship Committee is Rev. Dr. Scott Peddie, Minister of the Old Presbyterian Church Templepatrick, Chair of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum and Chair of Church Action on Poverty NI.
The activities of fellowship will be overseen by an International Advisory Board which consists of the following distinguished individuals:
Br. Patrick Hart OCSO (Monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky and Thomas Merton’s last secretary).
Dr. Paul M. Pearson (Director & Archivist, Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University).
Dr. Steve Georgiou (Author & lecturer, San Francisco).
Br. Columba O’Neill OCSO (Monk at Bethlehem Abbey, Portglenone, Co. Antrim).
Fr. John Dear SJ (Jesuit priest, peace activist, lecturer, and writer, USA).
Prof. Dame Ingrid Allen (Professor Emeritus of Neuropathology at Queen’s University, Belfast).
Paul Hutchinson (Director of Corrymeela’s Ballycastle Centre, Co. Antrim).
Representative from the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain & Ireland
Commenting on the new Fellowship, Dr. Peddie said: ‘Thomas Merton had an amazing ability to speak to people across the denominations and also across faiths. A major focus of his life and work related to contemplative prayer and peace, therefore it is fitting that we are establishing a group in Ireland with a view to promoting and nurturing these twin ideals.’ Dr. Peddie continued: ‘we are delighted to be partnering with the Corrymeela Community to launch this group and we hope to hold regular retreats in Ballycastle, as well as smaller, local meetings, in the months and years ahead’.
Booking are now being taken for the launch event, which will run from 10am to 4pm and which costs £25 per delegate (inclusive of lunch and refreshments throughout the day). There is a concessionary rate for those who are unwaged. Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02820761726 for further information and delegate registration.
Further information and updates on activities can be obtained from the Merton Fellowship’s website: http://mertonfellowshipireland.wordpress.com/