Sunday's Potential Mess for Belfast

I bumped into the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church this morning in the Green Room at the BBC – as you do! I was exiting after doing thought for the day, he was there, with Stephen Lynas (PCI Press Officer), about to enter for the big slot on Good Morning Ulster, the first interview after 8am news headlines.

We were talking about the same thing.

Unlike the ‘old’ days, when Moderators and Presidents (Methodist) and Archbishop (CofI) and Cardinal (RC) were familiar names and faces in the media, responding to this or that atrocity or that or this political shenanigan, today, I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t recognise 3 of the big 4 if you threatened me. Not only that, I can name the CofI and RC leaders, because they are incumbents for several years, but the Presbyterians and Methodists have year long posts. And I couldn’t name them. And haven’t been able to for several years, despite the fact that I worship with the Presbyterians and work for the Methodists.

All four have disappeared from the media, and that’s no bad thing really, given that their input has been patchy over the years.

Today though, I was delighted to hear the Moderator,¬† weighing in to the situation on Sunday. If you are unaware, check it out here. Not only that, but he spoke coherently and I think helpfully. Now some may say it’s a no-brainer for a Presbyterian to call on Sinn Fein to call off their protest…probably true. But it’s the fact of a Presbyterian Moderator commenting when he wouldn’t have been missed if he didn’t.

So well done Rev Dr Donald Patton.

1 thought on “Sunday's Potential Mess for Belfast

  1. This is a difficult one for me… as Remembrance Sunday also is… I want to give thanks that the soldiers are safely home… But I don’t want to give any credence to the policies that led to them serving in Aghanistan, or militarism in general… Then again I have no time for Sinn Fein’s approach which is unnecessarily confrontational and coloured by years of their analysis of “republican good” “British soldier bad,” and yet I support the right to protest peacefully.
    And… although I’m not a strict Sabbatarian I have problems with it being on a Sunday, largely for fears that there will be a sense of religious sanction… Which is also why I have difficulties with the Moderator’s intervention, which may have been nuanced, but will be percieved by both “sides” of our community as being pro-military and anti-republican… putting the protestant church in general back in its old familiar place… Lined up with the state “against” a significant part of our society.
    Or in other words… I really haven’t a clue how I feel about this event or what we should say or not say… In any other society we could have a healthy discussion about it… Here you are either for or against, like so much else…

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