News archive 2009

Church Leaders Press Conference to launch prayer and purple initiative

PRESS RELEASE
12 March 2009

Church Leaders Press Conference to launch prayer and purple initiative

Details of Church Leaders Press Conference (see below for text of Pastoral Letter embargoed until 3pm Thursday 12 March)

  • Thursday 12 March at 3pm
  • Presbyterian Church House, Fisherwick Place, Belfast
Please note that today’s press conference was organised before the Church Leaders were aware of the service at Masserene. Unfortunately it has been impossible to reorganise but the press conference will begin with a short time of remembrance of those who have died in the last few days.

At a press conference today the four Church Leaders together with the Irish Council of Churches and Evangelical Alliance, will be asking churches this weekend to offer special prayers for “our land and our people” and encouraging people to wear a purple ribbon as sign of commitment to working together for good.

Aware that people want to show their opposition to what has happened over the last few days and send a clear unambiguous message that we are one united community the Church Leaders in a pastoral letter (full copy below) ask “all our churches to offer special prayers for our land and people”, recognising that every church and community will naturally find a different way of doing this.

As a more practical sign of expressing revulsion towards violence and the determination of our community to speak with one voice, the leaders are encouraging everyone to wear a purple ribbon or other item of purple clothing. “Purple is associated with Lenten  reflection and is a strong outward symbol of people’s commitment to working together for good,” concludes the letter.

Attending the press conference will be:
Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
Rev Aian Ferguson, Methodist President
Archbishop Alan Harper, Church of Ireland Primate
Rt Rev Donald Patton, Presbyterian Moderator
Rev Tony Davison, President of the Irish Council of Churches
Rev Stephen Cave, National Director of Evangelical Alliance NI


Text of Pastoral Letter

“TOGETHER FOR GOOD”

We have all been shocked and hurt by the tragic events of the last few days, with the murders of two young soldiers and a policeman Sapper Mark Quinsey and Sapper Patrick Azimkar, at Massereene and Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon. Across the community people have been united in anger, sympathy and revulsion, but underlying the raw emotions has been a firm determination not to go back to what we all thought had been left behind. We offer our sincere sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of those who have been killed. We also assure those who have been injured of our prayers and continuing concern.

We commend our politicians for their resolute leadership, both in condemnation of the murders and their determination to draw the community together. We also offer our full support to the police service in their challenging work to make our communities safer places to live.

As Church Leaders, and in discussion with others, we are very aware that people want to do more and send a clear unambiguous message that we are one community united against anyone who wants to return to threat and violence rather than democracy and peace as a way forward.

We are therefore asking all our Churches to create opportunities for our people to send out a strong message of hope and determination to move forward together. It is particularly appropriate this Sunday, the closest to St. Patrick¹s Day, that we offer special prayers for our land and people.

Each Church and community will naturally find a different way of doing this some in the context of their normal services; some by creating special times and space for people to come together; some communities joining together with neighbours from other traditions. We are simply encouraging everyone to do something.

Some themes which may be helpful are:

  • Remembering those who have been bereaved and praying for the recovery of those injured.
  • Giving thanks for how far we have come as a community.
  • Asking for guidance for our politicians and community leaders.
  • Giving thanks for the leadership skills of the PSNI and praying that they may carry out their work safely.
  • Encouraging people to think and work for a better future and to speak and act for peace.

We are also suggesting that, as a practical sign of our revulsion towards violence and our determination as one community to speak with one voice on this issue, people wear a purple ribbon or other item of purple clothing.

Purple is associated with Lenten reflection and is offered as a strong outward symbol of people’s commitment to working together for good.

ENDS

ISSUED BY STEPHEN LYNAS, PRESBYTERIAN INFORMATION SERVICE, ON BEHALF OF THE FOUR CHURCH LEADERS

Stephen Lynas
Presbyterian Church Press Office
Church House
Belfast
BT1 6DW
Tel: 028 9032 2284
Fax: 028 9041 7307
Mobile: 07802 264 354
Home 028 2827 7325
www.presbyterianireland.org

Other Press Officers’ Contact Details

Church of Ireland Press Office
Paul Harron tel: o:028 9023 2909 m: 07787 881 582

Catholic Communications Office
Martin Long tel: o: 003531 505 3010 m: 003538 6172 7678

Methodist Press Office
Roy Cooper tel: h: 028 9181 5959 m: 0771 094 5104

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