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Striving for the Common Good

by Jill Tellez
Last night we had the honor and pleasure of listening to Johnston McMaster, author of "A Passion for Justice", on the topic of Ethical and Shared Remembering.  As Ireland approaches its centennial remembrance of a very defining decade of legacy and conflict in it's history (1912-1922), McMasters, in collaboration with Maureen Hetherington of The Junction, have developed a strategy and program of work as a means of approaching the decade of commemorations creatively and constructively.

Here is an excerpt from his Introduction: 

"The events of 1912-1922 provided a decade of enormous change in Ireland leaving a legacy for good and ill.  The events shaped the rest of the 20th century and still cast a long shadow into the 21st century.  Everything had changed by 1922, not least because of the Great War, but the decade was also a decade of intense and often brutal, sectarian violence.  The centenaries of these dramatic events will be remembered between 2012 - 2022.  The critical question is how?  Living in the past can reduce us to being the flotsam and jetsam of history, debris washed up on the beach of time.  More than ever we are global citizens, planetary beings, struggling with a fragile peace process in Ireland, but part of a web of globalization with all its interdependency.  Both the change and the violence need to be remembered and acknowledged together in Ireland and Britain, because the decade is both Irish and British and European history, as is the legacy."

The project includes a methodology along with resources that address five key strands:

1.  Remembering in Context
2.  Remembering the Whole Decade
3.  Remembering the Future
4.  Remembering Ethically
5.  Remembering Together

As a class we were all fascinated with the dedication and commitment of the work that McMaster and Hetherington are doing as part of the peacebuilding process in Northern Ireland. 

This course has provided us with an incredible opportunity to be immersed in the culture of Derry and hear and learn first hand about The Troubles and the struggles of Northern Ireland to find peace on their tiny island. 

The Rev. Johnston McMaster is s lecturer and co-ordinator of the Education for Reconciliation programme, Irish School of Ecumenics, Belfast.  His doctorate is from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, USA on Methodist Stewardship in Irish Politics.  The research was interdisciplinary including history, theology and politics and critically examined the period from the first Home Rule Bill of 1886 to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 ( 

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