SECTARIANISM is alive and well throughout Ireland, the General
The Revd Andrew Forster proposed a motion to
continue the Hard Gospel Project, an anti-sectarian initiative. He
said that the challenge of sectarian division had not gone, and
that dissident activities were on the rise.
He said that sectarianism was alive and kicking in leafy
suburbs, not just in inner-city Belfast; and in the North and South
of Ireland. Sectarianism, he said, had poisoned their past and
fractured their present, and had the potential to pollute the
future; the issue could not be ignored by the Church.
Ken Gibson (Connor) said that people had asked
why the Church was still talking about sectarianism. Statistics of
shootings in Northern Ireland, assaults on members of the Police
Force, segregated social housing and education, increased barriers,
and paramilitary attacks, showed that the issues persisted.
He said that people thought it to be solely a Northern issue,
but he referred to the Archbishop of Dublin's comments stating that
sectarianism was thriving in Dublin.
The Revd William Orr (Connor) said that he
represented a broken, loyalist community - working-class people
who, through the flag protests, had been afraid to speak out for
fear of being called bigots. He urged Synod members to take time to
listen to the disenfranchised groups within their congregations.
The people who cause sectarianism were the people who need to be
spoken to, he said.
The motion was carried.