In Northern Ireland, where renewed violence this summer stalled the peace process, Presbyterians and evangelical Catholics are exchanging public offers of forgiveness as a means to reconcile the region's divided people.
Ken Newell, a Presbyterian pastor, and Paddy Monaghan, an evangelical Catholic, are emerging as key figures in motivating church leaders to a more active part in the peace process. In addition, an Irish Christian magazine, Bread, is playing a critical role in advocating peace between Protestants and Catholics.
Newell has been involved in dialogue with Republican and Loyalist politicians for the past 20 years. Monaghan is a founding member of the Evangelical Catholic Initiative in Ireland, which was created in 1991 by a group of concerned lay leaders and clergy in the Roman Catholic church.
DAY OF REPENTANCE: Monaghan has succeeded in obtaining the support of 130 Protestant and Catholic church leaders for a National Day of Repentance this month. "Evangelical Catholics and evangelical Protestants need to come together to repent," he says.
The call for repentance says in part: "Is it not time for all Christian leaders and pastors throughout the country to call their congregations together in repentance before God and each other for the sectarian bitterness and strife? If we can do this, God will hear, God will forgive and God will heal."
Also, Christian peace activists have turned to South African leader Michael Cassidy of African Enterprise as a new resource. At an October national prayer breakfast attended by top Irish politicians from the North and the Irish Republic, Cassidy detailed how Christians helped broker peace talks and black-majority rule in South Africa.
An important peace breakthrough occurred in late ...1
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