By Sarah Mac Donald - 09 January, 2014
A joint statement was issued on Wednesday on behalf of the Catholic leader as well as the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, Rt Rev Dr Richard Clarke, the Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Rob Craig, the Methodist President, Rev Dr Heather Morris and the President of the Irish Council of Churches, Fr Godfrey O’Donnell.
In the statement, the Church leaders applaud the “strenuous and sincere efforts put in by all involved in seeking to find solutions to some of the most contentious issues we face.”
“This is an important time for our society,” they acknowlege and add that the momentum for building peace should not be lost.
“We are aware of the focus and effort that the forthcoming elections will require of our politicians but encourage all within the Executive to keep going with the work that has begun so that an acceptable process may be developed.”
Recognising the “profoundly challenging” nature of the issues to be addressed, they said they firmly believed that “a peaceful and reconciled society is possible.”
The Church leaders also said that while the deadline for the Haass negotiations may have passed, the responsibility to work for the common good remains.
They encouraged the NI Executive “to keep going with the work that has begun so that an acceptable process may be developed.”
The faith leaders also make clear that the responsibility does not only lie with political leaders but is shared by every individual.
“As Christians we emphasise the value of building trust, in a spirit of generosity and forgiveness. We encourage every member of our community, church and parishes to be instruments of reconciliation and peace-building.”
“While recognising the significance many in our community attribute to issues of culture and identity, we affirm that for all Christians their primary loyalty is to the Lord Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.”
“We continue to offer support to the many who carry deep and genuine hurts from the past and commit ourselves to continually strive together to address issues arising from the need to build a peaceful and reconciled society. We encourage all to do likewise.”
“The deadline for the Haass negotiations may have passed but the responsibility to work for the common good remains,” the faith leaders conclude.