Corrymeela

Corrymeela er et av de europeiske kirkeakademiene, lokalisert i Nord-Irland. Teksten er hentet fra Corrymeelas hjemmeside.

Who we are

Website: http://www.corrymeela.org/

Corrymeela is Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation. We began before “The Troubles” and continue on in Northern Ireland’s changing post–conflict society.  The organisation grew organically from the original Community members, and today almost 40 full–time staff and dozens of volunteers work alongside the eleven thousand people who spend time in our residential centre every year.

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We are also a dispersed Christian Community, and many community members volunteer regularly at the residential centre in Ballycastle. Our work is made possible by around eighty thousand volunteer hours every year.

Many of our volunteers have been working on the site for decades, generously giving time and service to the work. The Community of Corrymeela has grown too, with 150 members, 50 associate members and thousands of friends around the globe. Together we make commitments to be engaged with the world at its points of fracture, faith and potential.

We are teachers, writers, people looking for work, retired people; we are young, middle–aged and old; we are people of doctrine and people of question. We are people who seek to engage with the differences of our world. We are people who disagree with each other on matters of religion, politics and economics. We are people who wish to name our own complicity in the fractures that damage our societies. We are people of dedication and commitment. We are people of prayers, conversation, curiosity and questioning. We are people of truth telling and hope. We are Corrymeela. And you are always welcome.

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Our history

Ray Davey was the founder and first community leader of Corrymeela. During World War II he joined the YMCA to provide spiritual and physical support for troops. Ray was captured and incarcerated in a prisoner of war camp in Dresden and there bore witness to the bombing of that city.

This experience profoundly changed him. The bombing of Dresden affected Ray deeply, underscoring the futility and destructiveness of all conflict.  While a prisoner, Ray thought about building community amidst conflict.

After the war, he was appointed the first Presbyterian Dean of Residence at Queen’s University.  He was an engaging and committed chaplain, and created events where students could experience a sense of community and gathering.

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Ray and his students, became concerned at the sectarian tensions that were brewing in Northern Ireland during the 60s and wished to establish a place of gathering, an “open village where all people of good will” could come together and learn to live in community.

In 1965, it became known that a site outside Ballycastle was up for sale— a site that had an old Dutch–style holiday house on it. This Ballycastle property was purchased by Ray and the students for £7,000 in early 1965. The money was raised within 10 days. The current site was officially opened on October 30, 1965. “Corrymeela” was already the name of the area when the community purchased the property.

The word Corrymeela can be interpreted in different ways—  “Hill of Harmony,” “Hill of Honeysuckle,” and “Lumpy Crossroads” are three of the possible interpretations.

From its first days, Corrymeela has been a place of gathering, work, faith and discussion; bringing people of different backgrounds, different political and religious beliefs and different identities together. We believe that there is strength in gathering and that, when we can be with each other in commitment, no difference is great enough to break us. In the early days of Corrymeela, hundreds of volunteers gave up their holidays, weekends and summer breaks to host events, seminars, camps and conferences, as well as to literally build the Ballycastle site. In time, staff members were employed who ran the site at Corrymeela and ran programmes in the wider community.

Corrymeela has always had a healthy combination of three types of people who have invested in making it what it is.  People who, like the early founders, had their own careers but who dedicated many, many hours to the work. Those who had the time to volunteer for longer periods of time on–site and invest in the lived community of Corrymeela. And full–time staff whose skill, expertise and leadership gave shape to the permanent work of Corrymeela.

We are honoured to continue this tradition. Now, 50 years after we began, we have almost 40 full time staff, we have a cohort of 20 year–long volunteers and interns, and we have hundreds of other volunteers who come for shorter periods of time. Many of our volunteers have been working on the site for decades, generously giving time and service to the work. The Community of Corrymeela has grown too, with 150 members, 50 associate members and thousands of friends around the globe. Together we make commitments to be engaged with the world at its points of fracture, faith and potential.

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Our Community

Corrymeela is people of all ages and Christian traditions who, individually and together, are committed to the healing of social, religious and political divisions that exist in Northern Ireland and throughout the world.

We commit every year at our dedication service to this vision and to play an active part in a process of change.

We are teachers, writers, people looking for work, retired people; we are young, middle aged and old; we are people of doctrine and people of question. We are people who seek to engage with the differences of our world. We are people who disagree with each other on matters of religion, politics and economics. We are people who wish to name our own complicity in the fractures that damage our societies. We are people of dedication and commitment. We are people of prayers, conversation, curiosity and questioning. We are people of truth telling and hope. We are Corrymeela. And you are always welcome.

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Ray Davey served as the Leader of the Corrymeela community from 1965 to 1980. During that time the work at the centre evolved from being run by volunteers who gave their weekends, holidays and summer breaks to having the programmes run by the joint endeavours of volunteers, staff and those who joined as Corrymeela Community members.

From 1980 to 1994 John Morrow led the community and he was succeeded by Trevor Williams who led from 1994 to 2003.

From 2003 David Stevens led the community until his untimely death in 2010. At this stage Kate Pettis served as the leader of Corrymeela until Inderjit Bhogal was appointed in 2011 and he served until the end of 2013.

Up until this stage, the leader of Corrymeela acted as leader of the Community as well as CEO of the more formal business side of the work. Over the years Corrymeela expanded to become an organisation with an annual turnover of £1.5 Million per year and almost forty staff.

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In 2014, following a major review of governance and leadership, it was decided to create two new roles and early in 2014 Colin Craig was appointed as Executive Director of Corrymeela with responsibility for the operational side of the organisation. In September of that same year Pádraig Ó Tuama was appointed as Leader of the Corrymeela Community with responsibility for spiritual direction, vision and pastoral care. The new roles and division of responsibilities allow more time for new initiatives, greater focus on development and an enriching team leadership approach where each brings skills, expertise and analysis that enhances the leadership function.

n all of these leadership functions, both Executive Director and Leader serve the vision of Corrymeela’s work and community under the guidance and governance of the Corrymeela Council and with the expertise of dozens of staff of extraordinary skill and commitment. Additionally, Corrymeela has, at all levels of its life and work, volunteers who have given decades of their lives to further the witness to living well together in our society, combining our faith, our politics, our community relations, our explorations, curiosities and commitment to our society.

Corrymeela is often translated from the original Irish as “Hill of Harmony” or “Hill of Sweetness.”  But there is another and more probable translation.  The name comes from a neighbouring townland, Corrymellagh, in the parish of Culfeightrin.  Culfeightrin means in Irish “The Corner of the Stranger.”  Corrymellagh means “The Lumpy Crossing Place.”

Perhaps the latter etymology is more apt for us: a place where differing groups, strangers to each other, are offered the opportunity to cross over into another space.  And the crossing is “lumpy,” not easy, full of pitfalls.

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