Dr Jon Hatch will lead faith-based reflections on Belfast’s separation barriers in a walk this Thursday, 20 June. The event, organised by the peace group at Knock Presbyterian Church, leaves from the Knock Church car park at 7 pm and will meet up with people from other parts of the city at 7.30 pm at Jury’s Hotel.
Just last week Hatch defended his doctoral dissertation at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin at Belfast, titled: ‘Transformational Theology in a Context of Division: Examining Belfast’s Separation Barriers through a Theological Lens of Idolatry.’ I have had the pleasure of reading his PhD and was impressed by its level of scholarship and its creative reflection on biblical texts around idolatry. Hatch also has an MPhil in Reconciliation Studies from the Irish School of Ecumenics and has lived and worked in North and West Belfast for 13 years with projects coordinated by Corrymeela, Irish Peace Centres, Community Relations in Schools and various faith-based organisations and churches.
Promotional materials for the event point out:
In 1969, British Army GOC Sir Ian Freeland said:
‘The peace line will be a very, very temporary affair. We will not have a Berlin Wall or anything like that in this city’.
· Today, there are 99 separation barriers in Belfast.
· Most were built after the Good Friday Agreement.
· Separation barriers continue to built and reinforced.
Hatch describes it this way:
This event will provide an opportunity to walk, talk, and think about the separation barriers. We will explore the reality of the separation barriers, reflect on them in the light of our Christian faith, and perhaps begin to re-imagine our city, our churches, and our lives.
To register your interest for the event, please contact Ethel White from the Knock Peace Group on Ethel.White@afbini.gov.uk