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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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April 6, 2013

Peacemaking Travel Study Seminar in Northern Ireland: Reconciliation in the Celtic Context

An Up-Close Look at Belfast's "Peace Wall" and the Neighborhoods It Divides

Sharing messages of peace on the "peace wall"

Sharing messages of peace on the "peace wall"

Post by Andy Gans, pastor of Fort King Presbyterian Church in Ocala, FL

Today was the day we hit the streets of Belfast! We got a first hand look at the physical differences between the two factions. I was very surprised to learn about a wall that divided Catholics and Protestants. This wall stands 20 feet higher than the wall around Bethlehem and has stood longer than the wall around East Berlin. This wall is called the Belfast "Peace Wall" and was built to keep the fighting factions apart and create an air of peace in the region. This wall began as a 20 foot wall and has been increased in size

over the years. This wall separates neighborhoods and people. Over the years access to the other side has relaxed and people can now cross to either side without inspection or delay during daylight hours. There is still fear between the groups so these gate closures provide some sense of security during the night.
The gates at the wall read "The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war." When will we learn that separating people doesn't create peace, but bringing people together in conversation creates a lasting peace for all people. Today we were invited to leave our message of peace on this massive wall.
May we, the church, work at tearing down walls and build relationships that bring in the Kingdom of God.

Categories: Nonviolence, Northern Ireland, Peace, Societal violence

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