The Church Leaders, meeting today in Armagh (12 March) note the announcement regarding a Church service being planned for later this year to mark the Centenary of the partition of the island of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland.
The Church Leaders are deeply mindful that the events of 100 years ago evoke a range of responses from communities across these islands. For this reason, this point of reflection will provide an opportunity to affirm our common commitment to peace, healing and reconciliation.
The service will therefore be at the initiative of the Church Leaders and the Church Leaders will be wholly responsible for its planning, organisation and design.
On St Patrick’s Day, the Church Leaders, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Most Rev John McDowell, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, Rev Dr Thomas McKnight, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Most Rev Eamon Martin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, and the Very Rev Dr Ivan Patterson, President of the Irish Council of Churches, will make a significant announcement together about their prayers and work throughout this year.
Sovereign, wise and gracious God, in whose hands lie the past, present and future, we acknowledge before you our failures, our divisions, and the hurt we have caused you and one another. Forgive, restore, and heal us. The events of partition and formation, which took place one hundred years ago on this island, changed, shaped, and determined the outlook for this place which we all call home. As we reflect upon those times and bring to mind what happened then and in the years since, we acknowledge before you our different and often polarised interpretations of history. As we travel onwards in our journey, may we learn from the experiences of the past and from those who trod these roads before us, so that the inheritance we pass on to the next generation is the gift of understanding, peace, and hope. In faith we pray, and humbly ask, in the name of him who is the light of the world and giver of all hope, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.