Added on 02/01/2013
The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore, urges us ‘to be peacemakers, and not just peace–talkers, together in 2013’.
“Hogmanay is a great opportunity to look back over the past year and forward to the next. It is a ‘hinge moment’. In many ways 2012 was a great year, with so many important celebrations. It was the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the centenary of the Titanic, with the opening of the fabulous new interpretive centre, Titanic Belfast, and a great year of sport with the Olympics, the Paralympics, and our great local hero, Rory McIlroy, in golf.
“But it is with a real sense of foreboding that many of us approach 2013 because of the threatening events of December. It is so sad to see images of division and sectarianism yet again projected to the world. These are damaging to tourism, local business and inward investment at a time when this province needs these things most.
“Part of the reason we find ourselves in this dangerous time is that we have not really managed to agree a shared future together where all have a place, all cultures are respected, victims are honoured, and we can rejoice in what different communities have to bring to the common table. It is more than urgent for this matter to be progressed at Stormont, and the focus on a shared future needs to be given absolute priority by all of us. Otherwise a dangerous vacuum is created which paramilitarism can fill, when underlying, and usually hidden, tensions are brought to the surface.
“But it is also vitally important for the Christian faith to bring hope to the table. The Jesus born on Christmas Day has not gone away by 1 January! He finds himself as a little baby in an even more dangerous political situation than ours. The cruel ruler, Herod, is out to destroy the message of peace, and the Jesus is exiled to Egypt for his safety. It looks, as it always looks, as though the way of peace is about to be snuffed out. But the truth is that this message, Christ’s way of peace and reconciliation, is the only truly lasting and loving option. We all need to commit ourselves to be peacemakers, and not just peace–talkers, together in 2013.”
For further information, please contact
Down & Dromore Diocesan Communications Officer
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
Tel: (028) 9032 2268
Fax:(028) 9023 1902
Mob: 07595 231958