The Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher and President of the Irish Council of Churches, has welcomed the Northern Ireland launch of Open Doors' Hope for the Middle East campaign at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. This is a seven-year campaign aiming to guarantee a solid place and future for Christians and other religious minorities as a valuable part of society in the Middle East - with a particular focus on Syria and Iraq.
The campaign was launched by First Minister Arlene Foster. Speaking at the launch, Bishop McDowell said: "I was very interested to come today, both because of the very pressing subject but also because the Irish Inter-Church Meeting is addressing the issue in a similar way in November. Hopefully, that will add just a little more profile to something that the Church in the West needs to take to its heart."
Eddie Lyle, CEO of Open Doors, explained that Christian communities have been part of those societies for 2,000 years and are playing a leading role in humanitarian work in both countries. Addressing MLAs, he remarked: "History teaches you that walls do fall eventually, that darkness does consume itself, and those with a vision do not perish."
Parishes can find out more about the campaign at www.opendoorsuk.org/saveme
At launch of the Hope for the Middle East campaign
Pictured at the launch of the Hope for the Middle East campaign are (left to right) the Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher and President of the Irish Council of Churches; Eddie Lyle, CEO of Open Doors; the Revd Bill Mullally, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland; the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister; the Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor; and the Rt Revd Frank Sellar, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.