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A Theological Conversation on Reconciliation in Practice

One of the great advantages of working at EBM and Skainos is the capacity it affords to indulge the practice and theological reflection dimensions of my interests. In the last year we’ve been able to host a number of conversations with people who have something to say; Ched Myers, Shane Claiborne, Lesley Griffiths, Pete Rollins.

Last week was the latest addition to the canon. It was organised with friends Gareth Higgins, David Campton and Lynda Gould and was sparked by a conversation with Duncan Morrow of the CRC.

Duncan is a political scientist and commentator on Northern Ireland society as well as Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council. He had delivered a lecture at another conference at which he made some theological comments from the perspective of a practitioner in peace building and community relations.

We talked about the possibility of an informal conversation between practitioners and theologians in the NI context on the issues of reconciliation, contrition, forgiveness and atonement. Whilst these appear to be the preserve of theologians these are THE live issues in NI society today as we try to make our way from conflict and division.

So last Thursday and Friday at EBM we gathered a group of practitioners and theologians into a conversation on these issues to see what we could learn from each other. We called it ‘A Theological Conversation on Reconciliation in Practice’.

Duncan opened the event with a practitioner’s perspective on the work of reconciliation, and offered some challenges to the theologians. Drew Gibson, Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological College took the reverse direction on Friday and reflected theologically before offering challenges to the practitioners.

It was profound and we hope to publish a short report on proceedings in due course.

I’ll post some comments and reflections over the next few days.

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