Church Leaders Worried by Northern Ireland Violence
The principal committee of the Presbyterian Church of Northern Ireland has voiced its concern over the current unrest in the country, after a wave of riots and violence surged throughout Belfast over the weekend.
The General Board of the Presbyterian Church, chaired by Church Moderator the Rt Rev Dr Harry Uprichard, met Tuesday to discuss the resurgence of violence.
A statement issued by the Board expressed its distress “to see injury and the threat of injury, the level of destruction to property and the continuing unrest” and said it was aware of “the many issues of concern for members of the Unionist and loyalist community”.
The statement also said that “such unrest and disorder does not assist in making a credible case. Violence does not pay”.
The church leaders urged “that views be expressed in ways which are peaceful and lawful”.
Meanwhile Church of Ireland Bishop Ken Good said: “What our community in Northern Ireland needs is hope. This is the hope that there is a real alternative to the division and sectarianism that is manifesting itself in our province at present. It is the hope that there can be a different future.”
In a response to the renewed violence, the Church of Ireland dioceses of Derry and Raphoe have organised a special diocesan conference for the 17 September, with keynote speaker Antoine Rutayisire, Vice-Chairperson of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission in Rwanda, as well as head of the Rwanda branch of African Enterprise.
“This conference will explore some of the challenges that face us as we seek to build peace in our community. No one underestimates the challenge. What we are looking for is practical advice, but also inspiration, from another community that has suffered from communal division,” said Bishop Good.