Faith Matters

Now. Here. This. - 2018 4 Corners Festival aims to challenge and inspire

Twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement, next month's 4 Corners Festival wants to ask questions about where we are now, how can we deal with the past here - and what God calls us to do about this, explains Steve Stockman

Steve Stockman

IT is only three weeks until the start of this year's 4 Corners Festival.

The last planning meeting took place last Friday afternoon. We have a wonderful creative menagerie of people on the planning committee - Fr Martin Magill, David Campton, Jim Deeds, Gladys Ganiel, Ed Peterson, Elizabeth Hanna, Megan Boyd, Michael Sloan, Neville Cobbe and myself - and we literally belly laugh our way through the year.

By this stage of the year - somehow against the run of play, we would say by the grace of God - we have an amazing festival of events to look forward to.

The 2018 4 Corners Festival is our biggest and most exciting yet: 4CF18 is full and wide and deep and we hope it will make a mark in Belfast and across Northern Ireland.

Highlights include rock music legend Ricky Ross, a Concert Of Choirs, three theatre companies, author Cole Moreton, Church leaders including Rev Dr Heather Morris, Rev Dr Ken Newell and Fr Brian Lennon, rock journalist Stuart Bailie, walks across the city, prayer rooms, a BBC Radio church service and a very special banquet for organ donors.

The 2018 4 Corners Festival is our biggest and most exciting yet. It is full and wide and deep and we hope it will make a mark in Belfast and across Northern Ireland 

The theme of this year's festival is 'NOW. HERE. THIS.'

It comes from a phrase that Jim Deeds used at one of our events last year. Jim discovered it through the work Fr Greg Boyle.

It is a kind of mantra that Fr Greg uses in his work with gang violence in Los Angeles.

Fr Greg would remind himself that he cannot fix everything, but he can focus on the one task ahead of him, on the one person in front of him: the 'now', the 'here', the 'this'.

So, 20 years after our Good Friday Agreement, 4 Corners 2018 wants to ask where we are 'now' and how can we deal with the past 'here' and what the 'this' might be that God calls us to.

One of our committee, the Rev David Campton, minister of Belfast South Methodist Church, put it this way:

Now. Here. This.

Now

The past is important

It shapes the present

But it doesn't imprison us

Or limit our futures

The question is what we will do with it now?

Now is the time

Here

This place

This wounded and wonderful city

We can learn from elsewhere

And elsewhere can learn from us

But let's not seek to escape

Into the there and then

Avoiding the here and now

This

One thing at a time

This is enough for now

Not that or the other

But this

Now. Here. This.

  • The 2018 4 Corners Festival runs from February 1-11. The programme of events can be found at 4cornersfestival.com. The festival can also be followed on Twitter and on Facebook
  • The Rev Steve Stockman is minister of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church in south Belfast and, with Fr Martin Magill, a founder of the 4 Corners Festival.

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