The Way of Courage: Reflections on the Corrymeela Community in light of Mark 9: 33-37

THIS YEAR we in the Corrymeela Community mark our fiftieth anniversary. Corrymeela was established in 1965 as a response to the growing tensions and divisions in Belfast and across Northern Ireland. These were the years before the Troubles broke out, but the tensions were brewing, and the establishment of a centre for faith and dialogue to explore political, national and religious differences was timely, perhaps prophetic.

In this fiftieth year, we’ve had a range of events to mark this milestone — festivals, meals, storytelling events, liturgies of prayer, liturgies of lament. Any time of celebration like this is a time to look back. There’s always a danger that remembering and commemoration can become acts of solidification, wherein we tell a story that’s too shiny, too pristine, too clean in the name of coherence. There’s also the danger of idolising the past in such a way that we fulfil Leon Uris’ famous line, “In Ireland there is no future, only the past happening over and over”. This article takes a look at the idea of the past through the lens of a text in Mark’s gospel and considers Corrymeela’s past, future and present in light of this text.