On a chilly winter’s Saturday morning, fifty people braved the elements to come together and share a tasty breakfast in Dunluce Presbyterian church hall.
A team of volunteers from the Causeway Coast Peace Peace group had set up the hall and prepared the breakfast, showing the best of co-operation and skill. The group was welcomed to the hall by the Rev Alan Buick and his congregation peace members, followed by a short address by our chairperson, Eleanor Duff.
They were then led in prayer and reflection by Rev Patrick Barton, whose theme focused on the Beatitudes. This being the season of Lent was an opportunity to think of ways to “take up” or “ give up” things. Members were challenged as to which or what we will choose.
The group then broke the fast of Lent and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, Rev Patrick reminding them of this conundrum!
Following breakfast, Rev Patrick introduced a panel of four young people from the 6th form youth committee of Ballycastle High school and Cross and Passion college.
After explaining the development of their shared education project, he asked the young people for their views. They explained that they were keen to see this style of education progress in Northern Ireland, as they felt it benefitted them in lots of ways. They were proud of their own backgrounds and retained their own school ethos but could accept their differences as a positive aspect.
The Principal of the High School, Mr Ian Williamson who had come with the students, told of the benefits for the young people in academic performance, and of the current media interest in this scheme. Both schools have been working quietly and successfully and wish for this low key approach to continue.
The students fielded a number of questions very admirably and when asked how members of the Peace Group could assist them they suggested that by our existence and example of joint working, it gave them inspiration and courage to go forward.
Donation basket for Christian Aid and Trocaire raised almost £400.
Guest Speaker at the Group’s next meeting was Professor Mari Fitzduff, a former Chief Executive of the N.I Community Relations Council. Mari spoke of the conflicts raging in many parts of the world and emphasised the complexity of each one of the conflicts. She focused on signs of hope as local initiatives backed by international organisations sought reconciliation.