The Church Leaders Group is asking for prayerful support for the Service of Reflection and Hope which will take place in Armagh this Thursday, 21 October.
They write: “As you may know, a Service of Reflection and Hope to mark the centenaries of the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland will take place in Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, on Thursday, 21 October 2021.
“The service is being organised by the Church Leaders Group, as part of their wider programme of collective engagement around the 1921 centenaries, with an emphasis on our common Christian commitment to peace, healing and reconciliation.
“Armagh has been chosen as the location due to its significance as Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital – a status which has its origins in the 5th Century when the present site of the Church of Ireland cathedral was presented to Saint Patrick for building his ‘great stone church’.
“This Christian act of worship will involve people from across the community, from diverse backgrounds and traditions, and with different beliefs and aspirations, coming together to pray for the healing of past hurts and to seek God’s guidance in a spirit of hope for the future.
“The ongoing risks of Covid–19 will restrict the space for in–person participation, but the service will be broadcast on both BBC One and RTÉ One from 10.30 am on Thursday 21st.
“In addition to encouraging people to view the service, we would be grateful for the prayers of our fellow Christians from across these islands as we offer this space for reflection and hope. You may wish to consider using the following prayer:
Sovereign, wise and gracious God, in whose hands lie the past, present and future, we acknowledge before you our failures, our divisions, and the hurt we have caused you and one another. Forgive, restore, and heal us. The events of partition and formation, which took place one hundred years ago on this island, changed, shaped, and determined the outlook for this place which we all call home.
As we reflect upon those times and bring to mind what happened then and in the years since, we acknowledge before you our different and often polarised interpretations of history.
As we travel onwards in our journey, may we learn from the experiences of the past and from those who trod these roads before us, so that the inheritance we pass on to the next generation is the gift of understanding, peace, and hope. In faith we pray, and humbly ask, in the name of him who is the light of the world and giver of all hope, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“As we continue to deal with the impact of Covid–19, in a context of significant political challenges to relationships and cooperation on these islands, across Europe and beyond, our society needs a message of hope. In particular, our young people, and those who have been the victims of violence and injustice, need to know that they are heard and supported. ‘So then let us pursue the things that make for peace and the building up of one another’ (Romans 14:19).
“This service is but a moment on a much longer journey towards reconciliation which will require the prayerful support and engagement of Christians across these islands.”
Church Leaders Group
The Church Leaders Group comprises the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Primates of All Ireland, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the President of the Irish Council of Churches.