I LOVE a good conversation. We are wired for human connection and nothing beats grabbing a coffee, getting together, and having a good chat.
What I love the most about being a minister are all the amazing people I have had the honour of meeting. One of the key components to my ministry life, and indeed to peace-making, is the willingness to engage in all sorts of conversations, including the difficult ones. There is something very humbling when sitting face to face with others as they entrust snippets of their story to you. I have loved...
• All the coffees (and sometimes wine) together.
• All the stories shared.
• All the laughs.
• All the tears.
• All the challenges that shape and hone who we are.
• All the opportunities to learn and unlearn from each other, and so on.
We all know that conversations have the ability to leave us inspired, deeply moved, wounded, encouraged, discouraged, determined, deflated, wanting change.
But let’s never underestimate the power of a good healthy conversation. Colossians 4:6 reminds us: “Let your conversation be always full of grace.” What a difference the world, our country, and our communities would see if we handled all our conversations with grace.

Last week I mentioned that I have joined the Ireland’s Future team. I have been overwhelmed and encouraged with people who have contacted me to let me know that they want to be part of conversations regarding our future.

I believe that there are a growing number of precious people who want to work for a better future, and they are willing to explore the possibility of a united Ireland. Such conversations are already happening. Ireland’s Future has announced an extensive series of public meetings to be held across the island of Ireland starting later this year.
Our Chairperson, Senator Frances Black states: “Our series of public meetings will present an opportunity for conversations on a new Ireland to take place in the heart of cities, towns, villages and communities across Ireland.”
The bottom line is people matter. You matter. I’ve always stressed that the starting place to conversations regarding Ireland’s future is the acknowledgment that this is already our home. We all belong, no matter what our background. No-one is an addition. It is through good and healthy conversations that we discover shared values, shared goals and seek together to build a shared future.
I have family, close friends and colleagues who are strong Unionists. Our relationships and sense of togetherness is not ruined simply because one of us (me) is engaging in conversations regarding a united Ireland. Why? Because we know each other. We love and respect each other. We do life together. And we all know that at the end of the day if a border poll is called – the people will decide.
There is nothing to fear in having the conversation. I pray our conversations will always be “full of grace”. You are welcome to be a part of our discussions. Come along – I’d love to see you there!