The Churches, Reconciliation and Addressing the Legacy of Intercommunal Violence in Northern Ireland

Gladys Ganiel, Nicola Brady

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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This article explores the role of churches in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, focusing on their efforts to promote reconciliation and address the legacy of intercommunal violence. The first part analyses initiatives that took place between 1998 and 2015, including the Methodist Church’s Edgehill Reconciliation Programme, the Church of Ireland’s Hard Gospel project, the Presbyterian Church’s Peacebuilding Programme, and the Irish Churches Peace Project. It argues that their effectiveness was limited by a lack of financial investment by the churches themselves and by insufficient communication with their own grassroots. The second part analyses two post-2015 initiatives that attempt to address the limitations of previous projects: The Church Leaders’ civil society dialogue initiative and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s ‘Considering Grace’ project. The Church Leaders’ initiative is potentially strengthening the churches’ collective voice on key issues, as it moves beyond joint statements to facilitating public dialogues. Considering Grace is attempting to address the communications failures of prior projects through a grassroots-level, facilitated dialogue on the legacy of intercommunal violence, framed around the concept of ‘gracious remembering’. It is too soon to evaluate the long-term impact of these initiatives. But it is significant that both have prioritised facilitated dialogue as a means to promoting reconciliation and addressing the legacy of intercommunal violence.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationGlencree Journal
PublisherGlencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021


  • churches
  • reconciliation
  • dialogue
  • legacy
  • dealing with the past
  • Northern Ireland
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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