This morning I attended the launch of Community Relations Week @The Mac, Belfast. It was one of the most encouraging and positive events I have attended in a while. Peter Osborne’s chairmanship of the Community Relations Council and of the event this morning was a lesson in how to be both inspirational and realistic. In Biblical terms, I was among, ‘a great cloud of witnesses.’
In her commentary at the beginning of the published programme the Chief Executive, Jacqueline Irwin, writes:
“The theme of this year’s Community Relations Week is Building a United Community, Building a united community is as urgent now as it was when the peace agreement was signed in 1998. We have plenty of examples of our capacity to slip back into animo sit and old ways of thinking. There is no room for complacency. … Community Relations Week is packed with great examples of the united community that is being built all around us right now.”
Time and again we are discouraged by what seems to be intractable problems and challenges. Community Relations Week provides an opportunity for us to open ourselves to new inspiration and hopefulness as we see and hear what is already going on to build united community. Our participation and consequent inspiration could help unlock many of the problems.
Community Relations Week runs across Northern Ireland from 16-22 June and you can find the programme at http://www.community-relations.org.uk/about-us/community-relations-week-2014-16th-22nd-june/