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The Exile – Towards the Healing of a Wound (Parish of Christ Church (Derry & Raphoe Diocese))

Diocesan News

Added on 30/01/2013

How do we deal with the past in a wounded community? Is it possible to do it in a way that doesn’t stir controversy but that heals? The Exile – a series of forum–theatre workshops, run by the Church of Ireland, will address a wound in the history of Derry / Londonderry. Taking place in venues right across the city, in the first week of February, it will look at the large–scale movement of the Protestant population during the Troubles.

Over 90% of the Protestant people living on the west bank of the River Foyle moved away from the city side between 1969 and 1979. This movement, referred to by many as ‘The Exodus’, is one of the most significant and yet untold stories of the city’s recent past.

The Exile is being organised by Christ Church, a Church of Ireland Parish in the city. It has commissioned playwright Jonathan Burgess to write a series of short dramas to bring the events of that time to life. Run in a very informal atmosphere each drama is followed by facilitated discussion, as people share their experiences and perceptions of that time. It is hoped that people from all across the community will attend.

So why is it worth looking at difficult events from the past? Is it not better to simply leave well alone? Perhaps in our community we can only take so much ‘truth’ in case fragile relationships begin to unravel? One historian describes the past in Ireland as “a convenient quarry which provides ammunition to use against enemies in the present”.

Talking about the motivation behind The Exile Archdeacon Robert Miller, Rector of Christ Church said, “The Exile is about finding a way of dealing with a wound in our city in a way that heals rather than divides. We know only too well that memories have helped shape life and our relationships in this community”. He continued, “Hurt that is not addressed damages everyone. Our aim is not to reopen old wounds but to allow them to find healing”

Rev Earl Storey is the Project manager for The Exile. He said, “The story we tell about ourselves as well as ‘the other’ shape much more than our relationships. It shapes our own psyche, self–belief and enterprise to create a place for our neighbours and ourselves”.

Bishop Ken Good, in commending The Exile said “This is an attempt to create a safe space for people to begin to hear stories and to understand the experience of others from that time. It is all with the purpose deepening understanding”.

Playwright Jonathan Burgess summed it up when he said, “The past forty years have shaped the psyche of all of us who share this city. In The Exile we want to create a healthy process for reflection that has integrity, honesty and humility in it”. Quoting the words of Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Dublin, “With the benefit of historical hindsight, we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all” he concluded, “The Exile is about allowing a story to be told, and heard. The purpose is not about point scoring – its about building peace”.

Admission is free and no booking is necessary. The Exile Project is being run by Christ Church Parish (Diocese of Derry and Raphoe). For details of times and venues visit www.derryandraphoe.org or www.cccmsp.derry.anglican.org

Where & When:  Venue:
Tues 5th Feb
Caw Community Centre, Nelson Drive, Waterside
Tues 5th Feb
Christ Church, Infirmary Road, Bogside
Wed 6th Feb
Ráth Mór Centre, Bligh’s Lane, Creggan  
Thurs 7th Feb
The Diocesan Office, 24 London Street
Fri 8th Feb
Newbuildings Community Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland  

Derry & Raphoe

For further information please contact:
Diocese of Derry & Raphoe



Mr Paul McFadden
Diocesan Communications Officer

Tel. 028 7126 2440
Email:  press@derryandraphoe.org
Website: www.derry.anglican.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DerryAndRaphoe
Twitter: www.twitter.com/DerryAndRaphoe




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