A Soul for the Union?

A Soul for the Union?

Faith-based perspectives on the EU Referendum

An event held on Monday 13 June 2016 to help people of faith and others explore some of the issues to be considered in a deciding on how best to vote in the forth-coming referendum. To download a copy of Ben Ryan's talk click here. To listen to a recording click here. To read Evangelical Alliance's summary of the event click here.

Keynote speaker – Ben Ryan (Theos Think Tank)

Ben first joined the Theos think tank as an intern in September 2013 and graduated to a researcher in early 2014. He read Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge and also has an MSc in European Studies from the LSE European Institute. He is the author of the Theos reports A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK and A Soul for the Union.

Responders giving a N.I. perspective:

Colin Harvey (Professor of Human Rights Law, Queen’s University Belfast) responded with reference to Human Rights and Constitutional issues. Esmond Birnie (Chief Economist PWC in Scotland and N.I.) responded with reference to Economic and Financial issues. The Referendum is a democratic opportunity; the outcome will influence our relationships for years to come. Politics is inherently spiritual since God gives us the responsibility to govern within His sovereignty. This evening explored issues of sovereignty and subsidiarity, business and bureaucracy, security, migrants and other national and local challenges we all face in making a decision on how to vote. It encouraged and helped in making an informed response and not just one that thinks of self-interest!

Art, Faith and Peace The Bogside Artists: the Story Behind the Murals

On 8 April 2015 Contemporary Christianity held a series of events with Dr Adrienne Chaplin, a philosopher of art, and Tom Kelly, Kevin Hasson and William Kelly, often known as the Bogside artists. This was a unique opportunity to learn about the story of faith and hope behind the city's well-known - but often little understood - Bogside murals. Below is a video of the lunchtime event and a recording of the evening event. Art, Faith and Healing: Adrienne Chaplin in conversation with Tom Kelly. Tom spoke talk about the role of faith in his work, and the potential of art and storytelling to promote healing and peace.   Art, Faith and Truth: A talk by Adrienne Chaplin gave an address exploring how the murals, and other art throughout the ages, can disclose truth beyond words.

In Conversation With … Joe Campbell

Conflict in the Congregation: Opportunity and Danger?

This event was held on Tuesday 24 February, 7:30pm Many churches face the challenge of conflict. The resulting stress for both those in leadership and in the fellowship are often deep and lasting. Joe brought bring his years of experience in opening up this important issue. Joe is a former teacher and youth worker. He spent 20 years in community relations and peace building mainly with Mediation Northern Ireland. He was profoundly influenced by spending a year on sabbatical at a Mennonite seminary in USA. Joe helped establish the Presbyterian Church's Conciliation Service and presented a report and recommendations to PCI's General Assembly in 2013 based on its experiences. From 2006 to 2010 Joe worked on peacebuilding issues with United Mission to Nepal, also working with the Nepali government's Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

In Conversation With Adrienne Chaplin and Tom Kelly

On 10 October 2014 Adrienne Chaplin spoke on the subject 'Truth in Art and Religion' in Derry/Londonderry. Her talk included references to many pieces of art, with particular reference to the work of the Bogside Artists. Tom Kelly, one of the Bogside Artists, responded to Adrienne's talk.

In Conversation With … Trevor Morrow

Equal to Rule: Leading the Jesus Way.

Why men and women are equal to serve in leadership in the Christian Church This event took place on Tuesday 25 November, 7:30pm In May 2014 at the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly Trevor launched his book Equal to Rule. Disagreements over women's ordination or women in church leadership usually bring up two prominent attitudes: on the one hand, a number of people assume that the plain teaching of Scripture prohibits it; on the other hand, for a number of people, it simply feels right and they do not get to grips with biblical teaching. Both parties end up in the same place; reluctant to study the biblical text freshly, objectively, with the willingness to go where it leads. Dr Trevor Morrow has written Equal to Rule in order to show why churches like the Presbyterian Church in Ireland ascribe to full equality for men and women in leadership in the churches on the basis of the teaching of scripture. It is the fruit of years not only of biblical study and preaching, but also of experience in applying the gospel to the lives of women and men in different cultural contexts. The Very Rev. Dr Trevor W. J. Morrow is the recently retired minister of Lucan Presbyterian Church. In 2000, he became the youngest ever Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and studied Theology at the University of Edinburgh. Carys, his wife, is Welsh. His son, Peter, who is married to an American, is Canadian. His daughter, Ceri, is a Dubliner with an Enniskillen husband.

In Conversation With … David Middleton

Untold Story - the Church in the Middle East

Tuesday 23 September, 7:30pm Many of us are overcome by recent reports from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon Gaza and other Middle Eastern countries. As we look on at the sectarian divides and conflicts that are now being exposed in the Arab world; the open hostility in Syria and Iraq; the way that the region’s national borders drawn up a century or so ago are dissolving – what is happening to the Church in the Middle East?  What is the real story of what is happening.
  • What can we do?
  • How do should we pray?
  • Are we now  reaping what we sowed in the past ?
  • As Christians in “the West”, what can we learn from our brothers and sisters in extremis?
  • Are there examples from the Christians which demonstrate love peace and reconciliation to those outside it, when living under such pressures?
David Middleton worked in Istanbul for 9 years where he established the Christian television ministry that is now SAT-7 TURK. He continues to work as a Director for the channel, based in Belfast and travels regularly to Turkey and the Middle East.

In Conversation With … Geraldine Smyth

The end of  Memory and Mourning?

This 'In Conversation With ...' took place in Holy Week 2014, providing an opportunity to reflect together on the significance of remembering  and mourning in times of transition. Geraldine Smyth is a native of Belfast, a Dominican sister and Associate Professor at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin. She is a trained psychotherapist. Her research interest  is in Ecumenics especially in relation to the intersections of theology, psychology, faith and politics, particularly in addressing divisions, and the challenge of reconciling memories and of forgiveness in building a peaceful future.

In Conversation With … Philip Orr

Our 2014 series of In Conversation With ... events focuses on Faith and History.

Remembering 1916

In 2016, there will be centenaries for the Somme and for the Easter Rising. How will these two events from deep in our collective past be remembered in just over two years time and whaat could or should the church be doing in to contribute to process?