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No matter what playwright may think, religion does great good for a great number of people

Letter of the day: Church controversy

I was pleased at the positive title on the Belfast Telegraph's front page about Marie Jones and her astonishing night at the church of Pastor McConnell (April 28).

I turned the pages quickly, thinking and feeling that at last we have some positive news and views of the Church.

But I was horrified to discover her motive in attending was to research a new work called Sinners. It made me reflect on my own experience of God, Bible, Church and community.

It is 38 years since I went to Crossmaglen to remind the people of God's love. I was there for the hunger strike and the many levels of pain and seasons of uncertainty. I didn't go on a grant from government, but on the grace of God.

I went to live at Darkley, established Crossfire Trust and a community house, providing accommodation and support.

My faith in God gives me hope and I deliver it to the prisoners in Maghaberry and Magilligan, mental hospitals and those who take dope on the street.

So, please don't think, Marie Jones, that people are in it for themselves, personal need, or preacher personality.

Some actually follow Jesus, because of a living presence and a set of works which is appropriate, meaningful and in very big demand.

Perhaps one day there will be an honest look at faith-based projects that are impacting the community for good.

IAN BOTHWELL MBE

Director, Crossfire Trust

Belfast Telegraph

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