There was a service of remembrance and thanksgiving for the life of Fr Michael Hurley SJ, founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics (TCD), on Thursday 15 September at Fortwilliam and Macrory Presbyterian Church in Belfast. It was followed by a time of refreshment and fellowship at the Irish School of Ecumenics, 683 Antrim Road, Belfast.
Fr Hurley passed away on 15 April 2011 and his funeral was held on 19 April in Dublin. It was decided to hold the memorial service in Belfast to honour Fr Hurley’s work in Northern Ireland. This included his involvement in the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation, formerly located at 683 Antrim Road, and the establishment of the Irish School of Ecumenics’ Belfast work. This work now includes a Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation taught largely at the Belfast campus, and Education for Reconciliation, a continuing education programme taught in venues across Northern Ireland.
Rev Dr Lesley Carroll, Minister of Fortwilliam and Macrory and a graduate of the Irish School of Ecumenics, presided at the service. The sermon was provided by the Very Rev Dr John Dunlop, a Sponsor of the Columbanus Community and a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
Other participants in the service included Dr Geraldine Smyth OP, Head of the Irish School of Ecumenics, Rev Dr Richard Clutterbuck, Principal of Edgehill Theological College and an ISE graduate, Dr Salters Sterling, chair of the Steering Committee of the ISE Trust, Rev David Kerr, a trustee of the Columbanus Turst and a former President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Stanley Seawright, Honorary Secretary of the Columbanus Trust, Felicity McCartney, a member of the Steering Committee of the ISE Trust and Clerk of Yearly Meeting, Society of Friends, Rev Alan McGuckian SJ, Rector of the Jesuit Community in Belfast, Rev Canon Edgar Turner, founder member of the Columbanus Community, Cate Turner of Healing Through Remembering, Rev Katie McAteer, Pastoral Director of Grouped Parishes of Christ Church, Culmore, Muff and St Peter’s in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe and an ISE graduate, Dr Cathy Higgins, an ISE graduate and staff member of the Education for Reconciliation programme, Rev Dr Joe Palmisano SJ, an ISE graduate and the first Fr Michael Hurley Post Doctoral Fellow at ISE TCD (2011-2013), and Very Rev Tom Layden SJ, the Irish Jesuit Provincial.
Click here to read Fr Hurley’s obituary in the Irish Times.
Photos include staff, students and friends of the Irish School of Ecumenics at the celebration after the service.