The 25th Anniversary of the signing of
THE BELFAST /GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT
‘What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6:8
The Agreement was signed on 10th April 1998, which that year was Good Friday. It was a political deal designed to bring about the end of ‘the Troubles’, which, after nearly thirty years of violence and conflict on the streets of Northern Ireland, had resulted in more than 3,500 deaths.
This year marks twenty-five years since the historic agreement was signed but the reality is that people from different parts of the community will approach this anniversary with mixed emotions. We can all be thankful that many lives were no doubt saved as a result of the Agreement but the relative peace that it brought came at a cost. Prisoners, those serving time for murder, were released back into the community and were able to return to their families, while victim’s families had to show tolerance and acceptance, despite the reality that their loved ones would never return home.
We must remember that the signing of the Agreement was not the end of the journey to peace in Northern Ireland. It marked simply the first faltering steps down a very long road to a new, brighter, and shared future. That road will continue to be shaped by tolerance and respect for our differences, and a recognition of the need for greater understanding and reconciliation. The principles of the Agreement were based on ‘partnership, equality and mutual respect’. As we reflect on how far we have travelled, we must fully appreciate the sacrifices that were made as we capture a vision for what lies ahead.
In the journey from Good Friday to Easter, from death to new life, as people of faith we believe that love is stronger than hate and that the light of hope shines brightly in the darkness.
The following resources are offered by The Church Leaders Group (Ireland) for use in times of private prayer and public forms of worship marking the anniversary, recalling the events of the past and looking to the future.
The Most Reverend John McDowell
Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of All Ireland
The Most Reverend Eamon Martin
Catholic Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of All Ireland
The Right Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Reverend David Nixon
President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
The Right Reverend Andrew Forster
President of the Irish Council of Churches
Click Here for A Prayer Service to accompany this message.