Another day in the engine room, I’m afraid. Our Administration Board deals with finance and budgets and the management side of things – management and church remain something of an oxymoron around here. But we do our best and we’re getting there steadily.
And then on to another oxymoron, the Faith and Order Board. This deals with the sort of stuff you can really get your teeth into – like where the commas go in liturgy and in intricacies of revision of the Canons which govern church life.
Meanwhile the papers are full of the Paisley/Adams pictures. Yesterday I was feeling very moved by it all. And I can appreciate that what we are looking at is the result of courageous political leadership on both sides. It has that ‘Berlin Wall Coming Down’ quality. I always believed that it would come and that, when the moment arrived, it would be quite sudden. Today the sadness kicks in as I watch two extreme politicians making a stilted peace in the relational wasteland which they themselves have helped to create. The worst thing is the way in which the troubles have been prolonged unnecessarily – the generations of able young people who have left to build other communities in other places. I think of the way in which Ian Paisley built his power base by dividing other parties and other churches – condemning as traitors those who would have made peace sooner. And as I look at Gerry Adams, I think again of the haunting criticism directed at Sinn Fein leadership at the time of the Belfast Agreement by Bernadette McAliskey when she said, in effect, that they too could have settled sooner. Wikipedia reports her as saying acidly that ‘IRA volunteers had not died to create “a common teaching qualification”‘