The Rev Dr Ken Newell, OBE, and Fr Gerry Reynolds are the guest speakers at the annual St Brigid’s Day event at the Centre for Celtic Spirituality on February 1.
Dr Ken Newell is a former Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Ireland and Fr Reynolds will be coming from Clonard Monastery to the event in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh.
According to the old Celtic Calendar the first day of February marked the beginning of the spring season, which was called Imbolc. It was a time to celebrate the end of the darkness and to look forward to the lengthening of the days.
During the long and dark years of conflict in Northern Ireland, there were some who set examples of reconciliation for the whole of society. Dr Newell and Fr Reynolds were among them and on this evening in February they would like to share their story of how their friendship developed.
They have asked that the evening be entitled ‘Building healthy communities through honest friendship,’ because they say that if a friendship is to be real and of depth it will take those involved beyond ‘just being nice’ to dealing with the difficult and thorny issues of hurt, identity and history. These things have contributed to the underlying sectarianism that led to years of conflict and may still be residual in our society.
If the peace, which the majority of us value dearly for our children and grandchildren, is to truly flourish and bring about a healthy and stable society and community life, then at its foundation must be openness, honesty and maturity in relationships between different identities.
These are the issues which Dr Newell and Fr Reynolds will address in open conversation and there will be an opportunity for questions. The evening will be chaired by the Rev Tony Davidson, Minister of First Armagh Presbyterian Church. All proceeds will go to the work of The Centre for Celtic Spirituality and everyone is most welcome.
The evening gets underway at 7.30pm. Admission is £5 and is payable at the door.