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C of I: Bishop’s call for healing as rising of 1916 marked

15 May 2015

Church of Ireland

Preacher at the Easter Rising service: Bishop Storey, pictured with Dr Ken Fennelly at the Irish General Synod 

Preacher at the Easter Rising service: Bishop Storey, pictured with Dr Ken Fennelly at the Irish General Synod 

THE Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Most Revd Patricia Storey, told a congregation at the annual service commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin that next year's centenary should be characterised by a healing of national relationships.

She expressed surprise and gratitude that a female Northern Protestant should be invited to preach at a "Catholic, Republican commemoration". The congregation included the Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and President Michael D. Higgins.

"It is not part of my story, but I want and I need to try to understand it. I need to walk in your shoes generously. That means listening when I would rather speak; hearing your story when I would rather tell mine; relating to the commemorations of your community when I would rather remember wrongs done to mine," she said at the church close to where 14 of the executed leaders of the rebellion are buried.

Bishop Storey said that it was vital to remember all who had died, but also to engage in the process of mending. She recalled growing up in Belfast, "waking up every morning, particularly through the '70s, to death. I do not believe that there is anyone who wants to go back to that. We reeked of death. I passionately believe that this is a time for resurrection.

"In the original Easter rising of our faith, Jesus showed us a different way: one of hope and healing. If we want to do what Jesus radically instructed in our gospel reading this morning, 'Love your enemies, and do good to those that hate you,' you will be aware, I am certain, that it is the most difficult thing on earth to even be willing to forgive past wrongs done to you."

It was a challenge for all to reach out to each other, she said. "So are you in? Or are you out? Will you be in the business of mending? Will you commit to listening generously to the other? As we go forward, will you be standing at the point of resurrection, or at the point of death?"

Bishop Storey said that she was deeply sorry for the lives lost in the country's history, both in the Rising and more recently. "But I do not want to end our history there. I cannot let death, or even commemoration, have the last word. I am in this for the long haul: mending; generosity; resurrection. And that is what it will take."

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