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Like McGuinness, we need to forget past and vote for a shared future where we can all respect one another

letter of the day: search for peace

Surely, there is no difficulty in acknowledging and living with the tension of Sinn Fein and Martin McGuinness having their political roots in violence and later becoming purveyors of peace, or at least democracy Northern Ireland-style?

Christians must live with the daily tension of being "in the world", but not "of the world".

It is a reality that we must live with what has gone before, but always expectant and striving for a better future.

We are called to work with people who have "changed their spots" all the time, whether in employment, community, politics, or myriad facets of life. This is the reality of being "in the world". The former Dean of Belfast Cathedral is right when he says it should never be forgotten that Martin McGuinness was a terrorist, just as Ian Paisley flirted with paramilitarism and violence.

But these men, for whatever reasons, "changed their spots" and made a contribution to towards peace and consensus government in Northern Ireland.

As the President of the Methodist Church wanted to highlight in Martin McGuinness's journey: no more, no less; a contribution, like many, many others.

Let us all make another contribution by voting in this election. What one of us isn't a sinner with skeletons in our cupboards?

Let us throw our weight in with the struggle for fully-fledged peace and good governance as a Christian responsibility and joy.

It is a cherished freedom and contribution to democracy that we have an opportunity to vote for progressive parties, willing to coalesce across the constitutional and religious divide with respect and esteem for each other not shown by the previous coalition.

rev colin hall thompson

Senior chaplain, Mission to Seafarers, Belfast

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