First Derry Presbyterian Church to host Martin McGuinness peace event

The Martin McGuinness Peace Foundation is to stage a major reconciliation event at First Derry Presbyterian Church.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 9:56 am
2011... Rev. David Latimer and Martin McGuinness outside First Derry Presbyterian.

The special evening, which will take place on Wednesday, October 20 (7pm), is being hosted by the church’s elders.

Explaining the significance of the venue, a spokesperson for the Foundation said: “During his time as deputy First Minister, Martin worked tirelessly to help secure the funding for a million-pound refurbishment of First Derry Presbyterian Church on the City Walls. It is, therefore, wonderful that the Church elders have agreed to host this night in such a special place.”

It’s understood the evening will focus on Mr McGuinness’ legacy and, in particular, his work for peace.

First Derry Presbyterian Church, Magazine Street.

The event - titled ‘Reconciliation and Reflections’ - will include contributions from the Rev. David Latimer, former Minister at First Derry Presbyterian Church, who struck up a remarkable friendship with Mr McGuinness.

Maria Doherty, speaking on behalf of the Foundation, told the ‘Journal’: “There will also be a keynote address from Congressman Richard E. Neal, Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Friends of Ireland Caucus.

“Interspersed with musical and poetic interludes, this promises to be a moving and memorable evening.

“However, it is also intended to be an important reconciliation event. A wide spectrum of representatives from all communities have been invited to take part and we very much see this as building on Martin’s work for a truly reconciled and peaceful society here.”

The Martin McGuinness Peace Foundation was launched by his family and friends in October 2019 to celebrate the late republican’s life and legacy.

The organisation celebrates his life, work and achievements as “a leader, a political activist and an international statesperson – promoting his aims, objectives and progressive ideals”.

The Foundation says it is promoting these goals through an inclusive programme of education, sport, debate, art and culture which is open to all.

Mr McGuinness passed away in March 2017 after battling a rare disease known as Amyloidosis.

Rev. David Latimer, who retired as Minister of First Derry in 2020, has described his friendship with the former deputy First Minister as “very close” and says it was “cemented” by their joint commitment to peace building and improving the lives of Northern Ireland’s young people.