Clergy and members of the four main churches in Londonderry gathered in the city’s Guildhall on Tuesday afternoon for an event to celebrate their work together to build a better community for citizens young and old, and of all denominations. They were welcomed formally by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, Councillor Patricia Logue, who congratulated them on the work they were doing to build a better city and a more cohesive community. 

The afternoon of fellowship arose from an initiative begun two years ago by four inner city churches – St Augustine’s (Londonderry), Long Tower Chapel, First Derry Presbyterian Church and Carlisle Road Methodist Church. Since then, a number of other churches have ‘come onboard’, and that was reflected in the variety of people who came together for today’s celebratory meal at the Guildhall.

Among the church leaders present were the city’s two bishops, Rt Rev Andrew Forster and Most Rev Dr Donal McKeown; the new Moderator of the Derry and Donegal Presbytery, Rev Susan Moore; the Chairperson of the NW Methodist Mission, Rev Dr Stephen Skuce; the Archdeacon of Derry, Ven Robert Miller; the Dean of Derry, Very Rev Raymond Stewart; the minister at First Derry Presbyterian, Rev Colin Jones; the Rector of St Augustine’s, Rev Nigel Cairns; the Administrator of St Columba’s (Long Tower), Fr Gerard Mongan; Rev Peter Morris of Clooney Methodist Church; and Fr Stephen Ward (Long Tower).

Speaking at the start of the event, Bishop McKeown said this was a city and a community that had shown it believed in the resurrection. Early on, when politicians found it hard to even sit in the same building together, church people in the city were working hard, laying foundations, trying to build a better city.The Bishop singled out Mrs Joan Doherty, of the Methodist Church, for the work she had been doing to bring the churches together over recent years, and for helping to organise today’s event.