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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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Posts with category: Northern Ireland

April 11, 2013

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

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

So now what do we do? That's the question we all have after an incredible learning experience in Northern Ireland.  How do we take this information and all we've learned back into our own context? These are the questions our group of 27 struggled with today as we engaged in a large group debriefing session. Through our discussion we observed that the stumbling blocks to peace and unity, not just here but back home as well, are ignorance, arrogance and the need for power. We felt what is needed is trust in the other and being able to see Christ in their eyes. Easier said than done isn't it?

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April 10, 2013

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

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

Derry/Londonderry was our destination today. You may be asking why the name Derry/Londonderry. The names, as with many things, have roots to the struggle between Unionists (Protestants) and Nationalists (Catholics). The Unionists call the city Londonderry because of their loyalty to the Crown of England and the Nationalists refuse to use the name with London. The name you call the city identifies you, and the side, you have chosen.

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April 9, 2013

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

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

Today was a wave of emotion for many of us as we spoke with some victims of the violence that has taken place over the past years.
Our first stop was the WAVE (Widows Against Violence Empowered) Trauma Center. The center works with victims of the conflict, both individuals and the society. They are a cross community volunteer organization founded in 1991 that offers care and support to anyone bereaved or traumatized as a result of the Troubles. One of those victims, Alex, shared with us his horrific story.

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April 8, 2013

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

Post by Rev. Carl Horton, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program staff member

On the first Sunday after Easter, our peacemakers set off in small groups to worship with 7 different congregations in the Belfast area.  Some went to the "leafy suburbs" to worship with congregations surrounding the city and mostly removed from the contexts of violence.  Others, went to congregations in the Shankill Road area, places highly impacted by the sectarian bombings and violence of their neighborhoods.   One congregation at the epicenter of the Troubles, still to this day locks its doors during the service with a posted sign in the narthex that reads:  "These doors to remain locked at all times.  Abductions have occurred from this church."

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April 7, 2013

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

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

Today was our day to venture through the beautiful countryside of Ireland as we visited the historical sites of St. Patrick.
Patrick was born in Northern Britain around 400AD and grew up in a Christian family. As a teenager he was kidnapped from a privileged lifestyle by an Irish raiding party and sold off as a shepherd slave in Ireland.

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