Christian Leaders in Northern Ireland Urge End to Street Violence

ARMAGH, Northern Ireland, SEPT. 6, 2002 ( Leaders of the principal Christian communities of Northern Ireland called for an immediate end to the street violence plaguing Belfast in recent weeks.

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The ecumenical meeting Thursday was attended by Armagh’s Catholic Archbishop Sean Brady; Dr. Russell Birney of the Presbyterian Church; Dr. Robin Eames of the Church of Ireland; and the Reverend Winston Graham of the Methodist Church.

In their final joint statement they said: «We are deeply concerned at the immense fear of those people in areas affected by street violence at present.»

«We acknowledge the significant efforts of groups and individuals who are working for peace on the ground in those localities. We wish to encourage these efforts,» they added.

«We call for an immediate end to all street violence. We believe that a period of calm would pave the way for honest and sincere communication between those involved and could lead to a lasting peace. All of us have a responsibility to build peace,» they exhorted.

«We call on people to pray and renew our own commitment to continue to pray and work for a lasting peace,» the statement concluded.

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