The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) supports efforts for reconciliation, renewal and service in Ireland through partner churches and organizations and through our mission personnel. Belfast, Northern Ireland, is also one of the international sites for the PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer program.
Northern Ireland is perhaps best known for its tragic history of violence and inter-community conflict. These “Troubles,” as they are commonly known, have left behind serious economic, emotional and spiritual needs. Violence has reduced significantly in recent years, but deep sectarian division remains a feature of Northern Irish society.
The formal “Peace Process” in Northern Ireland, involving political leaders in various negotiations to secure a political solution, has gone on for over a decade now. While violence has been substantially reduced and there is broad agreement on the shape of a new society, the political process has faltered in recent years. Profound mistrust between those who favor Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom (Unionists) and those who want it linked to the Republic of Ireland (Nationalists) has prevented power-sharing arrangements from being implemented. The huge legacy of hurt from decades of fighting and deep-seated polarization along religious, political and cultural divisions both mean that movement toward full reconciliation will need to be a generational task involving the churches, voluntary bodies, and community groups, working alongside politicians.
Rapid economic development over recent years in the Republic of Ireland has brought new challenges and opportunities for the churches there. Once an overwhelmingly Christian and strongly Roman Catholic nation, the Republic is rapidly becoming much more secular. High increases in immigration and migrant workers are also leading to a much more multiracial and multi-faith population. Sadly racial prejudice and violence have also been on the increase in Ireland both south and north. In all parts of the island society and the churches have to wrestle with various living-with-difference issues.
Church of Ireland
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
New Hope Presbytery [PC(USA)] and East Belfast Presbytery (PCI) have a longstanding partnership which encourages two-way study / service trips for both youth ands adults.
Northern Ireland Journal, available from the Presbyterian Committee for Northern Ireland Web site.
We Believe Mission Stories for Youth & Adults (PDS #664901) is a 13-session curriculum produced by Congregational Ministries Publishing for summer 2009. It features Bible studies written by participants of the PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program and stories that connect participants to 13 mission sites around the world, including Northern Ireland. We Believe Mission Stories 2009 for Children (PDS #664900) is a curriculum (K–5) featuring stories from the children of PC(USA) mission personnel or PC(USA) mission personnel who work with children. Cost of each series: $29.95.
Presbyterian Committee for Northern Ireland
Presbyterian Ireland Mission Network
- For information contact Jocelyn Cadwallader.
The Presbyterian Committee for Northern Ireland is among more than 40 networks that connect Presbyterians who share a common mission interest. Most participants are involved in mission partnerships through congregations, presbyteries or synods. Network members come together to coordinate efforts, share best practices and develop strategies.
Learn more about Northern Ireland/Ireland
Visit the BBC country profile.