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Trust will bring us together

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Dr David Latimer is minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church

Dr David Latimer is minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church

Dr David Latimer is minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church

Rebuilding trust between Northern Ireland's two fractured traditions is turning out to be a daunting task.

A sense of helplessness and hopelessness has taken hold.

For things to change for the better, we all must change. None of us should forever cling to a limited, outdated view of another person, because everyone changes and grows over time.

It is perplexing - especially in the most religious part of the United Kingdom - that both traditions have still not learned to live in harmony.

Somewhere along the way, the theory has fallen out of step with the practice.

If peace is to be the final destination, we will have to resist speaking badly of one another.

We will also have to commit to working alongside those whom we may not especially like.

More than ever, new energy is needed for peace-building measures that will progressively remove the misery from all that went before.

This will also permit a generous measure of healing to reach out to all who were bereaved, injured and traumatised during the Troubles, and reduce the risk of relapsing into conflict.

Why should any of us spend another day pursuing ways of living that are so pathetically unproductive?

Walls of resistance can fall and rivers of compassion can flow if like-minded people band together; people who will learn to live and grow as part of the solution - not part of the problem.

People who, by their daily practice, will seek to be the change they wish to see.

Having faith in each other's purposes, hope in each other's future and charity towards each other's shortcomings will undeniably enable us to build bridges that will help us live in better relationships than we have hitherto managed to achieve.

To do this, we must consciously dedicate ourselves to what the ancient Greeks wrote long ago, namely, "tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world".

Now is the time and we are the people.

By co-operating with each other, we will build a better and a brighter future for everyone.

  • Dr David Latimer is minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church

Belfast Telegraph