Be Reconciled: Local churches urged to become local peacemakers.Monday 16 April 2018
A new resource called Be Reconciled was recently launched to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Be Reconciled is a 6 week biblically based small group course, designed to inspire and equip local churches in peacemaking.
Created by Revd Catherine Simpson, curate of Seapatrick Parish Church, Banbridge (pictured above at the launch), the course was developed in partnership with the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland and with support from local Church leaders from across the denominations. Catherine was inspired to create the course while writing her dissertation in training for the ministry.
“We have been offered this incredible gift of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. For those of us who accept this gift, we are charged and commissioned to live out new identities and reconciled relationships – not only with God, but with our neighbours and even our enemies.”
Speaking about the launch, David Smyth, public policy officer at the Evangelical Alliance NI commented:
“This timing is not a political move but a prophetic one, in the sense that it calls the Church to look back to the reconciling message of the gospel and forward to the reconciliation of all things through Christ. Whatever anyone’s views about the Good Friday Agreement, it’s clear our society still has a long way to go when it comes to peacebuilding. Politics and legal agreements can only ever take us so far together.”
The course is designed to be led by laity or clergy through a series of videos to watch each week and a discussion booklet. It have been developed with an evangelical audience in mind who may be sometimes nervous that peacemaking in Northern Ireland means laying down any doctrinal differences between the Catholic and Protestant Churches. This is not the case and this resource is not a call for theological union, it’s about living well together as neighbours and friends amidst our genuine differences. This resource seeks to firmly place peacemaking in the context of our witness and discipleship as followers of Jesus Christ.
The introduction to the resource states, “reconciliation is one of the biggest moral and social justice issues facing Northern Ireland today. In a culture emerging from conflict, death and broken relationships local churches in Northern Ireland have a role to play in giving local context to the Gospel. In this part of the world, religion has often been unhelpfully conflated with politics. Sadly this has turned some people from Jesus. The heart of Be Reconciled is missional – Christians reclaiming their radical message and radical love for God, all people, and this place.”
This is very much the heart and prayer behind the resource – that participants would be challenged to think and live differently in our divided society because of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The course including videos and a PDF of the resource booklet can be downloaded for free at www.bereconciled.co.uk.