THE local launch of a new book examining the Presbyterian experience of the troubles will take place at Rosspark Hotel next week.
Based on interviews with 120 people, including 50 women and 77 people from the border counties, north and south, ‘Considering Grace’ is the result of a three-year project led by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to understand how the Church responded to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and how members from all walks of life coped with unimaginable trauma and tests of faith.
A moving and deeply personal book, it resonates with wider human experiences of anger, pain, healing and forgiveness.
Considering Grace records the stories of ordinary people’s experiences of the Troubles, exploring how faith shaped their responses to violence and its aftermath.
Presbyterian ministers, victims, members of the security forces, those affected by loyalist paramilitarism, ex-combatants, emergency responders and health-care workers, peacemakers, politicians, people who left Presbyterianism and ‘critical friends’ of the Presbyterian tradition provide moving and often poignant insights on this particular period in Ireland’s history.
The first book to capture such a full range of experiences of the Troubles of people from a Protestant background, it also includes the perspectives of women and people from border counties, and features leading public figures, such as former Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon of the SDLP, Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, and former Victims’ Commissioner Bertha McDougall.
Considering Grace contributes to the process of ‘dealing with the past’ by pointing towards the need for a ‘gracious remembering’ that acknowledges suffering, is self-critical about the past, and creates space for lament, but also for a better future.
About the Authors: Gladys Ganiel is a sociologist of religion at Queen’s University Belfast.
Her previous books include Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland; Evangelicalism and Conflict in Northern Ireland; Unity Pilgrim: The Life of Fr Gerry Reynolds CSsR; and The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity, with Gerardo Marti. Jamie Yohanis focuses on the intersection of confessional faith and state-funded education.