Local church leaders mark Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Local church leaders mark Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Leaders from the four main churches in the North West met at the See House in Derry on Friday to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which began on Thursday. They gathered to demonstrate their personal friendship and to discuss aspects of church and community life that called for a united approach.

The Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, the Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian, Rev Craig Wilson, representing the Moderator of the Presbytery of Derry and Donegal and Rev Peter Murray, the Superintendent of the Methodist Mission in the North West, were hosted for lunch by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, and Mrs Mary Good.

During the meal, the clergymen discussed a range of issues, including the Food Pantry, which is sponsored by the four main churches in the North West. The Food Pantry provides food parcels to families and individuals who are experiencing financial distress. The church leaders shared their concern that the demands being made upon the Food Pantry were increasing year on year.

As they gathered, the church leaders were conscious of the threat posed by the current cold snap, particularly to anyone who is homeless. Rev Murray – a former President of the Methodist Church in Ireland – spoke to his fellow leaders about the increasing pressure on accommodation in the Men's Hostel which is run by the Methodist Mission. He said, "More younger men than ever before are homeless these days. So, the Mission has appointed Neo Maboee – a young South African graduate – to get in touch with local churches, schools and students in college, in an effort to help people understand the causes of homelessness." The church leaders praised the work of all the paid and voluntary workers who help homeless people to get their lives back on track.

The church leaders also discussed the uncertainty over Brexit and the political situation at Stormont. They said they were thankful that talks between the main political parties in Northern Ireland and the two governments were scheduled to begin again next week in an effort to restore devolution. They asked the members of all churches taking part in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to pray for a successful outcome to the talks.


Captions: All photographs show the five church leaders meeting at the See House. They are (left to right) Bishop Donal McKeown, Rev Peter Murray, Rev Craig Wilson, Bishop Alan McGuckian and Bishop Ken Good.

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