Monday, February 18, 2013

Lambeth Palace appoints new "Director of Reconciliation"

Canon David Porter
In one of his first official acts as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has appointed Canon David Porter in a newly created position on his staff called "Director of Reconciliation."

Canon Porter, who will continue to be the Director of Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral, will assume the new role at Lambeth Palace on a part-time basis.  According to Lambeth Palace,  the new position was created to "enable the Church to make a powerful contribution to transforming the often violent conflicts which overshadow the lives of so many people in the world.

Canon Porter's "initial focus will be on supporting creative ways for renewing conversations and relationships around deeply held differences within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion," the Lambeth Palace statement said.

“I am delighted to welcome Canon David Porter, Canon for Reconciliation at Coventry, who will join my personal staff part time as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation," Justin Welby said in a statement. "David brings a wealth of experience in reconciliation and peacebuilding from his work in Northern Ireland and through the Community of the Cross of Nails in Coventry.

"Conflict is an ever present reality both in the Church and wider society. Christians have been at the centre of reconciliation throughout history. We may not have always handled our own conflicts wisely, but it is essential that we work towards demonstrating ways of reducing destructive conflict in our world - and also to setting an example of how to manage conflict within the Church."

In addition to his work at Coventry Cathedral, David Porter has served as the chair of the Northern Ireland Civic Forum and has served as a member of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council

Here is Canon Porter discussing his work at Coventry Cathedral:

UPDATE:  Here is more on Canon Porter's background, from here:

Since September 2008 David  has been the Canon Director for Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral, England.  An experienced community relations activist, peacebuilding practitioner and community theologian he has thirty years experience in regional, national and international faith based organisations.

In June 2007 he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to the independent Consultative Group on the Past, to advise the British government on dealing with the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Their report was published in January 2009.

In 1987 he co-founded ECONI which until 2005 acted as a catalyst for Evangelical Protestant involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process. Becoming its first full time Director, from 1996 he was responsible for policy and programme development. A political activist he contributed to media and government on key issues in the political and peace processes and to ongoing public policy debate on good relations, equality and human rights.

Prior to this he was Community Relations Co-ordinator with the YMCA in Belfast and until recently he was Director of the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland, a faith based research, training and resource organisation.

As a practitioner David is widely experienced in peacebuilding, group facilitation and training and has developed and managed a number of major social research and publishing projects.  He has particular expertise in political mediation and track-two dialogue. He was both part of an ongoing private dialogue with Irish Republican leaders and an advisor on the Loyalist Commission which brought together Protestant paramilitary leaders to work for peaceful change within their organisations.  During 2008/09 he was Chaplain to the Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast.

He is a member of the N Ireland Community Relations Council and as a member of the Healing through Remembering project he serves on their Truth Recovery and Acknowledgement Sub Group.
In 2000 he was appointed a member of the Northern Ireland Civic Forum set up under the 1998 Belfast Agreement as a consultative body to the legislative Assembly, chairing its working group on peacebuilding and reconciliation.  For 13 years he was a member of UK Board of the Evangelical Alliance, serving as its chair for 2 years and as a member of the EA policy commission and a commissioner for the Faith and Nation Enquiry.

David previously worked for eleven years with Interserve, an international Christian mission working in South Asia and the Middle East. Over the years his peacebuilding and international interests have combined in work in other countries dealing with community conflict. This has involved teaching and workshops with groups in the Balkans, the Baltic States, Columbia, Egypt, and Sri Lanka as well as contributing to international consultations and conferences in Asia, Europe, UK and the United States.
An honours graduate in Theology from the London School of Theology, for eight years he was a Visiting Lecturer in Missiology at Belfast Bible College and has completed a Masters in Peace Studies at the University of Ulster. During 2006 he was Visiting Practitioner Fellow at the Centre for Reconciliation, Duke University Divinity School, North Carolina, USA. In March 2009 he was made an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies, Coventry University.

His particular interests are: the relationship between religion, politics and national identity; religion as both a source of conflict and a resource for peace; relating community peacebuilding to political processes; handling diversity in multicultural societies; and the theological foundation, moral vision, spiritual formation and practical outworking of reconciliation, particularly in dealing with the deep wounds of historical conflict.

1 comment:

Tregonsee said...

I seldom quote Richard Dawkins, and even less often with approval. However, he got this right.

When two opposite points of view are expressed with
equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly
halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be
simply wrong. - Dr. Richard Dawkins, Ph.D.

We really need correction, not reconciliation.