Becoming Beloved Community
hosted by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee
facilitated by Rev. Dr. Gary Mason
“Our goal is to create a Beloved Community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Join DEI Committee and Rev. Dr. Gary Mason for discussions about how hearing the stories of your opponents can change your heart and your relationships.
The class will meet each Sunday at 5:30 p.m. from January 10 - 31.
The first week, Dr. Mason will be joined by Sean Murray and Winston Irvine, men on opposite sides of the historic N. Irish conflict who have found reconciliation and relationship beyond their differences. For the remaining 3 sessions, Dr. Nichole Phillips will join in conversation about the role of the church in societies divided by racism, sectarianism, and toxic theology.
Join us for the first step toward Becoming Beloved Community at St. Luke’s!
Rev. Dr. Gary Mason is a Methodist minister and directs a conflict transformation organisation based in Belfast called "Rethinking Conflict." Prior to this he spent 27 years as a Methodist clergy person in parish ministry in Belfast and has played an integral role in the Northern Irish peace process. He played a key role in establishing the $30 million Skainos project which is a world class urban centre developed in a post conflict society as a model of co existence and shared space, it is acknowledged as the largest faith-based redevelopment project in Western Europe. Mason is a close advisor to Protestant ex-combatants on the civilianisation efforts of paramilitaries. He was instrumental in facilitating negotiations with paramilitaries and government officials, and in 2007 his contribution was formally recognised by the Queen. In 2009, Mason’s church was the stage from which Loyalist paramilitaries announced their weapons decommissioning.
Mason has lectured in political and academic forums throughout Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the U.S.A. on lessons from the Irish peace process. He has been interviewed on CNN, BBC, ITV and various radio programs. He holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Ulster, completed his theological studies at Queens University, and a Bachelor’s in Business Studies from the University of Ulster. Gary also holds an honorary doctorate from Florida Southern College for his role in peace building in Ireland.
Gary is a Senior Research Fellow at the Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at Maynooth University in Ireland. He is a Adjunct Professor at the Candler School of theology at Emory University in Atlanta lecturing on reconciliation, peace building, the history of the N Ireland conflict, racism, sectarianism and conflict transformation. Gary is a faculty advisor and partner to the Negotiation Strategies Institute a Harvard University programme on negotiation. Gary is an international advisor at the European Wasitia Graduate School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Flensburg in Germany.
Sean Murray currently works on a full-time basis for Sinn Fein. He is the policy lead for that party on legacy and policing and justice issues. He is rooted in his own community having served for over a decade as chair of both the local Residents Association and the Clonard Neighbourhood Development Partnership.
Mr Murray has been a Republican activist since he was 16 and served a total of 9 years in prison during the conflict.
Winston Irvine is an experienced mediator, negotiator and conflict resolution practitioner who played a key role in the
1994 Loyalist ceasefires and was directly involved in discussions with Loyalist combatant groups and their political representatives as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Irvine was the Director of Communications for the Progressive Unionist Party and is currently the Project Manager for Intercomm Ireland, an NGO which works in the field of peace building, reconciliation and conflict prevention. He is a graduate of the Harvard Program for Negotiation and has a Master’s in International Peace building, Security, Development & Practice from the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Maynooth.
Dr. Nichole R. Phillips is Associate Professor in the Practice of Sociology of Religion and Culture; Director of Black Church Studies at Emory’s Candler School of Theology. In addition to her role at Candler, The Rev. Dr. Nichole R. Phillips is associate faculty in the Department of Sociology at Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and a senior faculty fellow at the Emory Center for Ethics. A sociologist of religion and public theologian, she teaches courses in community and congregational studies.
Her research interests lie at the intersection of religion and American public life with a focus on community and congregational studies where she investigates the moral commitments and vision of community and congregational members. Her scholarship treats religion, critical race, gender, and cultural memory studies. She is also developing new research interests in the sociology of science and religion.