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Launch of ‘From Every Nation? A Handbook for a congregation’s journey from welcome to belonging’

Launch of ‘From Every Nation? A Handbook for a congregation’s journey from welcome to belonging’

The 101st Annual Meeting of the Irish Council of Churches (ICC) took place in Gracehill Moravian Church, Co. Antrim, today. 

The Annual Meeting gathers senior church leaders and lay representatives from across its 15 member churches in Ireland, bringing together the broad spectrum of Irish Christianity. The Irish Council of Churches also maintains a structured dialogue with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference through the Irish Inter–Church Meeting, representatives of which were also in attendance.

This year’s Annual Meeting included the launch of From Every Nation? A Handbook for a congregation’s journey from welcome to belonging. The aim of this resource is to equip churches with an understanding of diversity and inclusion, and to support actions at the local church level to improve inclusion and work towards racial justice through faith.

Speaking after the launch of the handbook, Bishop Andrew Forster, Immediate Past President of the ICC, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to introduce this handbook as a comprehensive guide exploring the intersection of faith, diversity, and anti–racism. We hope those involved in church leadership will find it useful in fostering deeper belonging for all in their church.”

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland’s Director of Justice and Inclusion, Richard Reddie, gave the keynote address. Reflecting on the resource, he said: “Racial justice ‘is everyone’s business’ and ‘is unfinished business’. Often many Christians don’t engage in these matters because they do not feel equipped to do so – they don’t want to say the ‘wrong thing’ and offend people. But if Christianity is for everyone, it behoves us all to engage and it’s great to see this handbook exploring these matters within an all–Ireland context.”

Bishop Brendan Leahy, Co–Chair of the Irish Inter–Church Meeting, added: “This handbook allows space to reaffirm our commitment to promoting justice and equality for all. We hope church members will be equipped through using this resource to better understand diversity and work towards building a church where everyone belongs and is included.”

The handbook is available to download for free at irishchurches.org/belonging

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