The Republic of Ireland

Learning to Think Together

A Life-long Learning Course for Interchurch and Community groups, provided and supported by The Irish School of Ecumenics Trust and The Irish School of Ecumenics (Trinity College)

During the decade 2012-2022 all over Ireland there will be acknowledgements of events which happened one hundred years ago and which shaped much of the history of Ireland for the remainder of the 20th century. Their influence continues into the 21st century.

For forty of these years, the Irish School of Ecumenics has been conducting adult education courses all over Ireland where communities themselves have invited their support. In the last decade, the emphasis has been almost exclusively on work in Northern Ireland and the border counties. Assisting the Peace Process to bed down was of fundamental importance. For many of these years, some 1800 students in 22 centres learned to think together in the ISE Education for Reconciliation Programme. Some of the wisdom culled from learning in that programme has been distilled in the recent book by Johnston McMaster, the programme coordinator.  Entitled Overcoming Violence, this lucid book is seminal for all who want to contribute to a reconciled and reconciling future for all of Ireland. Some of that thinking has inspired what is now proposed in the Learning to Think Together Programme.

Local interchurch groups and locally based community groups wishing to understand the wellsprings influencing at the deepest level the cultures of Ireland as they now are will be able to put together programmes based on the following components:

Learning to Think Together about:

  • Theology of Ecumenism
  • Ireland and the rest of the world
  • Rescuing the Bible from religion
  • Reading the Bible as a socio-political text
  • The new Irish and their faith practices
  • The practice of reconciliation
  • Biblical perspectives on Citizenship
  • Ecology and Creation

Each of these components is designed to open up new vistas of understanding so that individuals and communities may better comprehend why we have been as we have been and how we may become less divided and more reconciled as we undertake the task of learning to live together.

Local programmes can pursue learning in depth or in breadth – or both – for sessions ranging from a small number of weeks to much longer periods of learning. Groups will be supported in their programme planning by ISE Trust provided staff linking back into the resources of the Irish School of Ecumenics (Trinity College) led by Professor Andrew Pierce.

The ISET would appreicate your support to raise funds for this programme.