Fermanagh Churches Forum

creating community ~ celebrating diversity

Service for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Photo: © Tonya Fitzpatrick, World Footprints. All Rights Reserved

Photo: © Tonya Fitzpatrick, World Footprints. All Rights Reserved

We hope that you will be able to join us once again at our annual Christian Unity Week Service, which will take place on Thursday January 18th at 7.30pm in Enniskillen Methodist Church. The material for this year’s celebration has been prepared by Christians in the Caribbean, and its themes raise some of the contemporary issues addressed by churches in the region.

The reflection will be given by Dr Fergus O’Ferrall, Lay leader of the Methodist Church in Ireland. As you may remember, he gave a brilliant talk to the Forum in October, as part of our Reformation/reformations series.

As always, the service is open to everyone, and a warm welcome is offered to all. Tea and coffee will be served afterwards, giving us an opportunity to meet and talk with old and new friends.

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2017 AGM

We are very pleased to invite you all to this year’s AGM, which will take place on Thursday 16th November at 8pm in the Riverview Room of the Bridge Centre (the hall at the Presbyterian Church) East Bridge Street, Enniskillen.

Our guest speaker will be Jonny Hanson, co-founder of Jubilee, an interdenominational Christian cooperative focused on agriculture and environmental stewardship. Jonny, who was brought up in Monaghan and Malawi, will be talking about the Jubilee Farm project, which integrates care farming, community-supported agriculture and conservation education and engagement, all in a two acre walled garden in the centre of Larne. As always, refreshments will be served and there will be the opportunity to chat to old and new friends.

Please note also that our membership year begins at the AGM and there will be the opportunity to pay your subscription (still only £10) during the evening. If you are not yet a member, this is the ideal opportunity to join us!

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Autumn Seminars 2017


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2017 Fermanagh Churches Forum Conference

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(in association with Fermanagh and Omagh Council and the Irish School of Ecumenics)

Our conference this year will be held at the Killyhevlin Hotel Enniskillen on Thursday September 21st 2017 from 10am  until 4pm and our theme will be Civil Society Engaging with Politics

The conference will explore, through input and interactive discussion, the ideas of common good, equality and democracy as key to the flourishing and wellbeing of all the people of Northern Ireland.The purpose of the conference is to encourage and empower all of us to be engaged in the politics of human and eco flourishing. It is about faith in action as we endeavour to play our part in participatory and deliberative democracy.


10.00am – 10.25am Registration – Tea / coffee on arrival
10.30am Welcome
10.40am – 11.10am Dr. Johnston McMaster: ‘Saving Democracy For The Sake Of Equality’
11.10am – 12.00 noon Interactive Group Discussion
12noon – 12.45pm Questions and Answers. Facilitated Plenary Discussion
12.45pm – 1. 45pm Lunch
1.45pm – 2.15pm Dr. Johnston McMaster: ‘Is a Common Good Possible In A Contested
2.15pm – 3.00pm Interactive Group Discussion
3.00pm – 3.40pm Questions and Answers. Facilitated Plenary Discussion
3.40pm – 4.00pm A Way Forward ?
4.00pm Closing Reflection

To book your place or if you have any questions, please click here to email us.  The conference is free of charge but booking is essential for catering purposes. We need to receive your booking by Monday 18th September.


Photograph from the Killyhevlin Hotel website at www.killyhevlin.com

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Study trip to Donegal

Mount Errigal, photo from Wikipedia

Mount Errigal, photo from Wikipedia

This year’s Fermanagh Churches Forum study trip will be a visit to Donegal, on Saturday 10th June. The outline for the day is as follows:

8.15am Meet at Ardhowen car park for 8.30 coach departure.

(Timings from here are approximate)

10.45 Arrive at Dunlewey Cultural Centre for tea/coffee and scones. Meet Dr. Joe Kelly, our guide for the day.

11.30 Depart for trip with commentary to visit Loch Gartan, political and religious sites in Cloughaneely Parish and arrive at Óstan Loch Altan in Gortahork for a soup and sandwich lunch.

2 – 3.30pm Visit the Gortahork grave of Constable Charlie McGee, the first RIC man to die in the Rising. Further tour to visit Olpherts’ estate.

3.30 – 4pm Return to Dunlewey Centre and depart for Enniskillen.

6.30pm (approx) Arrive back at Ardhowen car park.

To secure your place on this trip, we are requesting a small payment of £5 per person, which will be donated to Christian Aid and Trócaire. The costs of the trip, including coach, refreshments as mentioned above, and any entrance fees are being met by the FODC Good Relations Programme.

If you would like to join us on the study trip, please email Tanya before Monday 5th June.  The coach for this trip is relatively small, and so places will be limited to around 30 people.

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Forthcoming events


Poster for the Darling Street Concert


The Faith and Friendship group, an interdenominational Bible study, fellowship and prayer gathering, sharing the reflections of Rev. Ruth Patterson, will meet on Wednesday 8th March from 12.30 to 2pm, in St Michael’s Parish Centre, Enniskillen. All are very welcome. Tea and coffee will be provided – please bring your own sandwiches!


On Wednesday 15th March we are holding the first of this year’s Lenten lunches from 12.45 to 2pm in McArthur Hall, Enniskillen Methodist Church, Wesley Street entrance As in previous years, we will share a simple lunch, provided by the church community, followed by Scripture reflection and prayer. There is no entrance charge but a collection will be taken for Christian Aid and Trócaire. Further Lenten lunches will be held in Enniskillen as follows, all on Wednesdays from 12.45 to 2pm.

22nd March – the Bridge Centre at the Presbyterian Church

29th March – St Michael’s Parish Centre, next to St Michael’s Catholic church

5th April – St Macartin’s Church of Ireland Cathedral Hall

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – service on 19th Jan


Left to right: Rev Chris MacBruithin (curate, St Macartin’s Cathedral), Margaret Barkey (FCF committee member), Eileen Gallagher (FCF chair), Ronald Brown (FCF treasurer), Catherine Mulholland (FCF committee member), Tanya Jones (FCF secretary), Very Rev. Kenneth Hall (Dean, St Macartin’s Cathedral)

Crossing Barriers is the theme, especially relevant to us, of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated from 18th to 25th January. The material for this year’s celebration has been prepared by Christians in Germany, based on the words in 2 Corinthians reminding us of how we share in God’s love and in a commitment to his message of reconciliation.

There are fifty million Christians in Germany who, traditionally, have mostly belonged to the Roman Catholic Church or one of the Protestant State Churches. Recent developments, particularly the reception of refugees and asylum seekers, have begun to change this balance and other Christian traditions are finding expression. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany experienced how a seemingly insurmountable wall could be brought down. The fall of this wall is a symbol of hope that, with the love of God, nothing is impossible.

For many years the Fermanagh Churches Forum has coordinated a service in Enniskillen to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. At first this was held in neutral, secular venues, but recently it has rotated among four Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Methodist and Catholic churches in the town centre.

This year the service will be hosted by St Macartin’s Church of Ireland Cathedral on Thursday 19th January, beginning at 7.30pm. The Dean, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall, is delighted to welcome all to an inspiring evening of shared liturgy and music. Lay people, clergy and choirs from different Christian traditions will take part in the service along with young people from many schools in Enniskillen. The guest preacher will be the Cathedral’s curate, Rev Chris Mac Bruithin. After the service, refreshments will be served, giving the congregation the opportunity to share socially as they have in their worship.

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AGM 2016

tpciWe are very pleased to invite you to this year’s AGM, which will take place on Thursday 17th November at 8pm in the Riverview Room of the Bridge Centre (the hall at the Presbyterian Church) East Bridge Street, Enniskillen.  Our guest speaker will be Dr. Gladys Ganiel, whom many of you will remember from her visit to Fermanagh a few years ago.  Her new book, Transforming Post Catholic Ireland, includes a chapter about the Fermanagh Churches Forum, and it will be fascinating to hear her insights into the work which we do.  As always, refreshments will be served and there will be the opportunity to chat to old and new friends.

Please note also that our membership year begins at the AGM and there will be the opportunity to pay your subscription (still only £10) during the evening. Additional donations are also very welcome.  We will also be electing our new management committee.  If you would be interested in helping in this way, please let me or another member of the current committee know.  It does not require a great deal of time, and no special skills, but is essential to the continuation of the Forum.


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The Importance of Being Human

This year’s course with Dr Johnston McMaster begins next week, on Thursday 6th October at 8pm. Anyone who has been to these courses in previous years will know how enormously invigorating and inspiring they are, and what a privilege it is to hear Johnston speak and to share in the conversations which his ideas spark.

This year’s topic will be especially thought-provoking for all of us. In The Importance of Being Human: Biblical Insights on Being Human Together Johnston will be looking at what the Bible tells us about our humanity. For much of our lives we live out of labels invented by society and these labels define and confine us. We uncritically buy into them and live by them. So we are Protestant or Catholic, Irish or British, Christian or Muslim, male or female, straight or gay. And there are more! They are all about categories of superior/inferior, dominant/dominated, normal/abnormal. But who determines all of this? None of it is who we really are. So what does it mean to be authentically human? How can we be human together? How can we enable human flourishing and promote and sustain human wellbeing?

The course this year will be held at the Bridge Centre , 16 East Bridge Street Enniskillen (the hall beside/behind the Presbyterian Church) from 8pm until 10pm on Thursday evenings from 6th October to 3rd November (see course outline below). Each evening is self-contained, so if you can’t get to all of them that isn’t a problem. They are entirely free of charge, open to everyone, and there is no need to book. Please feel free to share this post with family, friends and colleagues.


Course Outline


Week 1 (Oct 6)

Beginning with the Human : Genesis 1 and Reimagining Who We Are

Week 2 (Oct 13)

Being Human and Humane Together : Jesus as Son of Man and Truly Human

Week 3 (Oct 20)

The Practice of Being Human Together : The Micah Vision of a Humane Society

Week 4 (Oct 27)

I Consume Therefore I Am! : Beyond Individualism to Neighbourly Covenant

Week 5 (Nov 3)

Remember, You Are Dust: Every Wednesday an Ash Wednesday to Realize Our Vulnerable, Authentic Identity

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Building The Future Together: Embracing and Celebrating Our Global Citizenship


image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blender3D-Erde.png


What kind of future can we build in the context of Brexit? How will our lives change as the influence of the West, including the United States, declines while that of Asia grows in the years to come? Can we meet the challenges of globalisation without resorting to hard borders and the building of walls? What do the events of 500 years ago teach us about reform and renewal?

These are some of the questions which will be raised and discussed at a day conference at the Killyhevlin Hotel on Friday 23rd September, organised by the Fermanagh Churches Forum with the support of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

Part of Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week, the conference is titled Building The Future Together: Embracing and Celebrating Our Global Citizenship. The main speaker will be Dr. Johnston McMaster of the Irish School of Ecumenics, an inspiring and energising writer and speaker well-known to many in Fermanagh. There will be the opportunity for participants to share their insights in small workshops and open discussion, and the ethos of the event will be inclusive, respectful and positive.

All are very welcome to the conference, which begins and 10am and ends at 4pm, including lunch and refreshments. It is free of charge, but booking is necessary for catering purposes: please contact Eileen Gallagher at eccgallagher@yahoo.co.uk by Monday 19th September.


Johnston writes:

The day conference is a partnership between the Fermanagh Churches Forum and the local District Council. The Community Relations Week theme will be explored in a much wider context than Northern Ireland. There is a formidable challenge to building a future after the European referendum. What kind of future do we build in the context of Brexit? All has changed and no one really knows what will change in the years ahead for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the European Union. And the future will be built in a world of geopolitical change, tectonic shifts, with the West in decline and the East on the rise.

Brexit is not the game changer but one of the symptoms of a Europe which is no longer a world power, shaping the politics and economics of the planet, and of a US no longer sure of its place in the world, a superpower on the way down. For the West it is a disturbing time with neonationalism and narrow ethnocentrism on the increase, and the desire for hard borders and building of walls.

The Conference will try to avoid a Northern Ireland focus turned in on itself, and to explore the building of the future within global horizons and citzenship. With the European Union under question there will be an exploration of the moral foundations of the EU, to curb excessive nationalism, outlaw war, a social justice basis and a peace and reconciliation praxis.

In the second session of the conference attention will be given to the global dynamic of Easternisation, with which we will increasingly live. The future is Asia and this will impact our politics, economics, culture and perception of ourselves as a people. In this context attention will be given to pooled sovereignty and the major global challenges which no single nation can resolve. The common good and global Citzenship will be explored and critical questions will be raised as to whether our past in Ireland and it’s competing ideologies are any longer relevant in a radically changing world. We may need new political and economic models.

Some brief attention will be given to a slogan that emerged from the heart of Europe 500 years ago next year : reformed, always to be reformed. It was and is more than a slogan, but a dynamic for continuous reform and renewal. Does this emphasis on continuous reform have implications for Brussels, London, Dublin and Belfast and their political and economic structures, systems and institutions? The conference may have more future questions than answers but hopefully a larger perspective on interconnectedness, global vision and citzenship, a shared humanness and neighbourliness, and a commitment to champion, nurture and struggle for our common, eco-human good.




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