This year marks the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland. It provides us with an opportunity to look back and reflect on the last 100 years, and also to look forward in the present to the future that lies before us.
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 came into force on 3rd May 1921, partitioning Ireland and creating Northern Ireland. The first election to the Northern Ireland Parliament took place later that month, and on 22nd June 1921 the new parliament was formally opened by King George V at Belfast City Hall. In his speech, the King called for “… all Irishmen to pause, to stretch out the hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget, and to join in making for the land which they love a new era of peace, contentment and good–will.”
Sadly, this call was left unheeded by some sections of society at various points in the last 100 years with tragic episodes of conflict, discontentment and ill–will. Thankfully, good has prevailed over evil with a new era emerging in recent times and a fresh commitment to peace, prosperity and power–sharing resulting in better relations between North and South, and East and West.
The focus of this service is on good governance and civic responsibility. The prayers of repentance encourage us to learn from the mistakes of the past, individual and corporate. As HM Queen said in her speech in Dublin ten years ago, “With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all”. The prayers of thanksgiving invite us to give thanks for all that has been good and true over the past 100 years, and the prayers of intercession remind us of our various needs and the needs of others as well as our continued dependence on God for his help and succour.
Click on the links below to download the resources: