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Remembering for good

ethical 01

Belfast and Derry/Londonderry saw the launch of a new project focused on the coming decade 2012-2022. The 100th anniversary of events that greatly shaped Ireland and still cast a long shadow over our lives together… on the island will occur during those years. The ‘Ethical and Shared Remembering’ project will use those anniversaries as a spring board for cross community education. It’s funded by the Columbanus Trust and trustee Terry Howard SJ has taken a keen interest in it.

The key resources of the project are a team of  trained facilitators and a set of six booklets written by Dr. Johnston McMaster and The Junction:
    –  Remembering a Decade of Violence and Change, 1912-22
    –  The Covenant and Proclamation: The Shared Values of Religio-Political Documents
    –  Ethical Theological Responses to Shared Remembering
    –  Lamenting in Hope: A Theology of Trauma and Healing
    –  Living with the Legacy: Key Themes of the Decade, Past and Present
    –  Ethical and Shared remembering: Visioning the Future 2012-2022

These booklets examine and deconstruct the values underpinning the various historical events that made such a dramatic impact during that tumultuous decade of Irish and British history. And they offer a way for groups to assess the events from a critical perspective, evaluating what was good and not so good, helpful and not so helpful, so that divided communities might move forward together in a constructive manner.

So the project will provide trained facilitators to work with any groups interested in exploring the value of these anniversaries from the perspecitve of sharing an ethical and shared future. Politicians, ex-prisoner groups, womens’ groups, faith groups, community and voluntary sector organisations, victims and survivors of the troubles are all welcome to apply.

As well as offering courses on the ‘Decade of Commemorations’, and seminars, information sessions, workshops and presentations on key themes within the context of the decade, the project is developing a comprehensive training resource package for use by educators, trainers, facilitators, community development and community relations activists, faith groups and clergy. And training will be offered with the resource.

The overall aim is to provide a distribution framework throughout the whole island of Ireland, so that a critical exploration of history can take place and enable a creative and constructive approach to commemoration.

It recognizes that Ireland has a deeply embedded culture of division, violence and sectarianism, born out of a past which has never been critically or ethically unpacked and challenged. It acknolwedges that  the political and religious issues that continue to divide its people  have not been resolved.

According to Terry Howard SJ, member of the Peter Faber community in Belfast, the innovative approach of this project will allow participants to unpack a ‘shared history’ encouraging people to explore significant events in their entirety, begin to understand the complexities of the past, learn from mistakes and make choices for a better future.

Specifically, the Project will seek to deconstruct the ideological, philosophical and religious views of the decade 1912-1922 in order to reconstruct an ethical value base for the 21st century.

Also, a book entitled ‘Signing The Covenant: But Which One?’ is due for imminent release and offers an exploration of the Ulster Covenant and the Judeo-Christian Covenant (and includes a comparative analysis with the Easter Proclamation).

At the project launch in both Belfast and Derry/Londonderry talks were given by Dr. Johnston McMaster and Dr. Cathy Higgins – both formerly of the Irish School of Ecumenics and now employed by The Junction (community relations centre) to drive the project. Click here to read.

The Columbanus Trust Limited was set up in 2003 in the wake of the closing of the Columbanus Community, Belfast. That cross community, ecumenical venture  was established in 1983 through the vision and hard work of Fr. Michael Hurley SJ, who passed away in 2011.