Clergy as first responders: rethinking leadership in religion and peacebuilding

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Drawing on research about Presbyterian experiences of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, we argue that the religion and peacebuilding literature’s emphasis on prophetic leadership has meant that the field has overlooked the significance of the roles of clergy as “first responders” to violence and as providers of long-term pastoral care. These roles can be conceptualized as contributing, albeit indirectly, to everyday peacebuilding by facilitating (in some cases) personal healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The wider field of religion and peacebuilding would benefit from including the pastoral role of first responder in its conceptualizations of religious leadership in violent contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalThe Review of Faith & International Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2023


  • clergy
  • peacebuilding
  • first responders
  • prophetic
  • priestly
  • pastoral care
  • Northern Ireland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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