Valued Voices with Maureen Wilkinson

Derry-Londonderry is hosting a two-day conference examining the issue of peacebuilding (Wednesday 15th  Thursday 16th). The Hope Beyond Hurt conference, which has attracted a range of international speakers, is part of a wider project that will culminate this summer with the opening of the City Centre Garden of Reflection, a major new shared-space for community relations and cross-border relationship building in the centre of Derry-Londonderry.Almost 100 conference delegates are discussing issues such as international conflict and peace & reconciliation with speakers who have witnessed recent conflicts. Pictured with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion, are speakers (L-R) Laila Atshan, a UNICEF consultant from Palestine, Giles Duley, an acclaimed photo-journalist who was severely injured in an explosion in Afghanistan and award-winning film maker Mair?ad McClean.Funding has been provided through the European Unions PEACE III Programme, managed by the Special
Derry-Londonderry is hosting a two-day conference examining the issue of peacebuilding (Wednesday 15th  Thursday 16th). The Hope Beyond Hurt conference, which has attracted a range of international speakers, is part of a wider project that will culminate this summer with the opening of the City Centre Garden of Reflection, a major new shared-space for community relations and cross-border relationship building in the centre of Derry-Londonderry.Almost 100 conference delegates are discussing issues such as international conflict and peace & reconciliation with speakers who have witnessed recent conflicts. Pictured with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion, are speakers (L-R) Laila Atshan, a UNICEF consultant from Palestine, Giles Duley, an acclaimed photo-journalist who was severely injured in an explosion in Afghanistan and award-winning film maker Mair?ad McClean.Funding has been provided through the European Unions PEACE III Programme, managed by the Special

The SEUPB/Peace 4 Valued Voices programme, continues on Monday 4th December at 10am with a session at Holywell DiverseCity Community Partnership discussing both “Resilience and Forgiveness”.

This session will be openhearted, accepting and non-judgemental. Amongst those participating will be Maureen Wilkinson who knows personally the suffering that happens when a relative is tragically shot dead.

Creggan woman Maureen is well known as a local actress performing in many theatre productions over the past twenty years. Monday’s discussion will be kick-started by a short piece of drama (written especially for this morning) featuring both Maureen and her daughter Shannon. Seamus Farrell and Archdeacon Robert Miller will then offer their own insights around resilience and forgiveness feeding into a group discussion where all voices are welcome.

Says Seamus: “Gordon Wilson is rightly praised for his forgiving nature after the horrific Enniskillen bomb which killed his daughter and ten others. But I am absolutely certain that the last thing Gordon Wilson would have wanted would have been for what he did to become a pressure upon other people. And I know victims who have felt (or actually have been put) under pressure to forgive using examples such as that of Gordon Wilson Or who have been told to forgive “for the sake of peace” Victims need to be treated justly. They need what truth can be uncovered to be uncovered. Victims need society to acknowledge their pain, to help them in every possible way to deal with it and recover their lives and sense of well-being.”

Archdeacon Robert Miller has recently co-authored Forgiveness Remembers with Father Paul Farren. Archdeacon Robert spoke eloquently about the “journey of forgiveness” after the destructive attack on Christchurch just a few weeks ago. Said Robert,

“Faced with the devastation in Christchurch, it wasn’t and isn’t easy to forgive the perpetrator. But that for me is “the direction of travel.” But like Seamus I am aware that we cannot pressurize people into forgiving. But we can support their resilience in the face of the unspeakable hurt that might have been done to them.”

This two-hour session will be the first of a number of sessions exploring these challenging themes.

All are welcome to what is a free event which will be followed by a light lunch.

To book a place, please ring Eamonn Baker at 02871261941 or email: emaonnbaker@thejunction-ni.org or come along on Monday morning.