Statement on Paramilitary Violence

The paramilitary violence we witnessed this past weekend is dangerous and indefensible. It reminds us of dark days in the past when blood was shed in the streets of Derry/Londonderry and beyond.

We call on those involved to turn away from destruction and to play their part in building up our cities and communities.

There is a strong thread throughout the Bible of reconciliation; broken relationships being healed and broken identities being made new in Christ.

We believe one day there will be no more violence and death. In the meantime, we live out the values of the Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed. The story of the God who died for his enemies on a cross is one of scandalous reconciliation and almost offensive grace. This sacrifice and resurrection is the basis for the transformation needed in building a restored society.

We dare to see one community where relationships can flourish, the other can be honoured and we are united by a common good. We see a place of safety for young and old, Catholic, Protestant and dissenter alike. This is possible and in many cases is already happening now and we encourage the Church to play it’s part - embodying the grace of God who invites his enemies to become his friends.

One small and initial step could be to explore Be Reconciled - a free six week resource we co-created aimed at helping evangelical churches consider their message of reconciliation in the context of Northern Ireland - find out more at www.bereconciled.co.uk.