Whatever You Say, Say Nothing’: Report on Experiences of Border Protestants
Whatever You Say, Say Nothing’: Report on Experiences of Border Protestants

A ground-breaking new report commissioned by the Church of Ireland’s Hard Gospel Project looking at the views and experiences of Border Protestants living in the Diocese of Clogher was launched on 25 September 2008. The report, entitled ‘Whatever You Say, Say Nothing’, has been written by Mr David Gardiner and was launched by the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd Michael Jackson, and the Director of the Hard Gospel Project, the Revd Earl Storey, at the Clogher Diocesan Synod held in Aghavea Parish Hall, Brookeborough at 4.30pm on Thursday.
In undertaking and producing the report the Hard Gospel Project sought to encourage members of the Protestant / Church of Ireland community to: share their personal experiences of ‘the Troubles’; their experience of the church during the last thirty years; to articulate to the wider community how they see its role in sustaining the community in the future; and to contribute to building a peaceful community by enabling members of the Church of Ireland to engage with other communities to address difficult issues. The study was undertaken by David Gardiner through extensive meetings and the use of questionnaires; he says, ‘This report is a social enquiry, an exploration and examination of how personal, social, cultural, religious and political beliefs and personal experiences influence people’s attitudes, behaviours and outlook on life.’
In launching the report, Earl Storey remarks, ‘Part of the power of the project is that it happened. This report addresses a difficult and immensely painful period. It does so in a way that is honest and that seeks to be constructive. I believe that it enables experiences to be voiced in a way that will be heard by other parts of the community. It is one of the most important initiatives that the Hard Gospel Project has been involved with. We are immensely grateful to all those who shared their experiences and thoughts’.
Bishop Jackson feels that Clogher Diocese has broken fresh ground, ‘in the quest for understanding and mutual respect in the asking “the invisible questions”. He says, I have every confidence that, while particular to Clogher Diocese, it will resonate by its honesty of its insight into every corner of the Church of Ireland and beyond.’

· The Hard Gospel Project is a Church of Ireland initiative set up to address the issues of sectarianism, racism and dealing with difference in the rapidly changing island of Ireland in the 21st century.
· Mr David Gardiner is a former director of youth work with experience in research. He is currently an independent facilitator and consultant with a background in cross-community work and community development.

Issued by the Hard Gospel Project

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Date: 26-Sep-08