Choosing Hope: From Enmity to Reconciliation
1pm, Sunday, November 4, St. Paul’s Chapel
6pm, Tuesdays, November 6, 13, St. Paul’s Chapel
Reconciliation is a choice. Where relationships have broken down and harm has occurred, we can live in ongoing enmity or take the difficult journey to heal and restore. This is true whether the hurt is between individuals or nations, among peoples or within communities.
Christians understand that in the life and ministry of Jesus, God has reconciled all things and has entrusted to us the divine mission of reconciliation. Our faith calls us as a reconciled people to witness to God’s love and hope, justice and mercy in a world of fear and hostility, vengeance, and oppression.
Over the course of three talks we will explore something of what this means through the lens of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the post-war experience of Coventry Cathedral, and the challenges for the global church in a changing and divided world.
The sessions will be practical and interactive. Participants will share a light meal.
Sunday, November 4, 1pm
Knowing Hostility and Learning Hospitality
For those growing up in Belfast in the 1970s, the violent conflict shaped who we became and the choices we made. In this autobiographical reflection on identity and belonging, faith and mission, we will explore how the history of one community’s experience resonates with the world we are in today.
Tuesday, November 6, 6pm
Transforming Conflict and Building Peace
Reconciliation may be an elusive quest, but there are solid practices and deep wisdom that creates the possibility of new beginnings. The story of Coventry Cathedral in 1940 puts forgiveness at the heart of this quest. Today’s conversation is more focussed on the role of truth and justice in building the peaceable kingdom. How we draw from across these perspectives will be the theme for this presentation.
Tuesday, November 13, 6pm
Celebrating Diversity and Living with Difference
Global Christianity is a reality in our modern world, predating and even a precursor to globalisation. Yet all our Christian traditions are finding that the cultural context and difference we inhabit can actually inhibit our recognition of the unity in diversity that is the body of Christ. Proclaiming the good news of reconciliation is as much a part of who we are and what we do, as it is of what we say. Facing this challenge will be the theme of the final talk in this series.
Canon David W Porter
Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, David moved to Coventry in the summer of 2008 to become Canon Director for Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral. While there he was responsible for the international network of the Community of the Cross of Nails and for establishing St Michael’s House reconciliation learning center.
In 2013 he became Adviser for Reconciliation to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Alongside enabling churches to transform the often-violent conflicts which overshadow the lives of so many throughout the Anglican Communion, he helped develop creative ways for renewing conversations and relationships around deeply held differences within the Church.
From 2016 he has served as Chief of Staff and Strategy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, based at Lambeth Palace.
An experienced community relations activist and peacebuilding practitioner, he was involved with the peace process as co-founder and Director of ECONI (Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland).
David was a member of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and also served on the Northern Ireland Civic Forum, chairing its working group on peacebuilding and reconciliation. He was appointed to the independent Consultative Group on the Past chaired by Lord Eames, which set out proposals for how to deal with the legacy of the conflict.
He has served as an honorary Research Fellow in Peace Studies at Coventry University and in 2006 was Visiting Practitioner Fellow at the Center for Reconciliation, Duke Divinity School.