Past Festivals

2019 Festival

Scandalous Forgiveness

4 Corners Festival 2019

Scandalous Forgiveness


Jan 30th



Learning the lessons of forgiveness through sport


We kick off our seventh 4 Corners Festival with ‘Game of Three Halves’ in which young people between 8 and 16 from all parts of Belfast come together on integrated teams to play GAA, soccer, rugby and other sports such as basketball.


The event is inspired by and modelled on the annual Belfast Interface Games, hosted by the

charity PeacePlayers International ~ Northern Ireland. Many of the participants will be

renewing friendships forged during the Interface Games but new contestants are welcome and encouraged to apply.


This event will offer participants the opportunity to try their hand at playing games they may

never have thought possible given their community background.


Coaches and mentors from the PeacePlayers cross-community programme will in the course of the evening explore the concept of forgiveness in sport as well as provide an insight into the values that can be instilled through participation in team sports.


Jan 31st



Declaring the scandalous forgiveness of Christ’s cross


Barbara Dass presents a body of artwork driven by wanderlust for the nooks and crannies of her beloved Belfast. The images, mainly of crosses, began to be imagined during Belfast’s Passion Walk on Good Friday 2016 when Dass, along with walkers from diverse communities of faith journeyed through the streets of the city centre, meditating on Jesus’ final hours.


Over the next two years Dass walked the four corners of Belfast exploring public spaces, parks and playgrounds, wandering through alleyways and streets, and recalls that her journeys sculpted a landscape of strange artefacts in the imagination, declaring the presence of the scandalous forgiveness of Christ’s cross. The exhibition is the visual narrative of Dass personal passage through Belfast’s terrain, the imagining, the making, the thinking and the praying.


Feb 1st



Why is forgiveness so difficult?


Sixth form students from post primary schools in all four corners of Belfast congregate to deliberate on the issue of forgiveness. The pupils will participate in an hour-long workshop

conducted by academic Hedley Abernethy of Ulster University’s Transitional Justice Institute in which they will wrestle with the question ~ if forgiveness is considered so important, why is it so difficult to do?


This event is the fruit of a partnership between the 4 Corners Festival and Ulster University now in its fourth year. The students will also have an opportunity to participate in other forgiveness- themed workshops on subjects such as animation, fashion and politics.


Feb 1st





How does it fit in with everything



Professor Robert D. Enright, arguably the world’s foremost expert in forgiveness education, will engage with an audience of school principals, heads of pastoral care, RE teachers, governors and interested others around the theme of ‘Giving the gift of forgiveness to our students.


Or Enright, co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute and professor of

educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a pioneer in the scientific

study of forgiveness.


He has been described by Time Magazine as ‘the forgiveness trailblazer.”


His programmes have already been used successfully in schools in Northern Ireland and

30 countries including Greece, Iran, Israel and the West Bank, Liberia, Pakistan, and Spain.


Prof Enright will discuss how the theme of forgiveness fits into the Personal Development

for Mutual Understanding and Learning for Life and Work curricula.


Feb 1st





A family event about the scandal of forgiveness in these classic children’s stories


This special family event transports children and their families into the magical world of Narnia. It will help the audience think about the story of CS. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in new ways. So, join us for an evening of entertainment for all ages

(particularly for age 8+) with drama, film, quizzes, conversation and plenty to talk about, as we consider what the story means for us.


“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the

inexcusable in you.” CS Lewis.


Feb 2nd


BUS TOUR Untold stories of building peace at the grassroots


This unique bus tour offers you the opportunity to hear about peacebuilding that has taken place quietly and patiently away from the glare of media attention in the four corners of Belfast over the past 50 years. Your host, Dr Emily Stanton, who has considerable experience both in research and practice in the area of conflict transformation, says that while peace is often viewed as the product of political agreements hammered out after lengthy negotiations, the role of ordinary people working at grassroots level is often overlooked.


The tour is narrated in a faith-based context and will include several stops at churches along the way. There will be a break for refreshments in the Houben Centre in north Belfast.


So, come along and learn of the ordinary folk who, despite an extraordinarily difficult time of

conflict, played an unsung role in helping to build a durable peace across Belfast.

Feb 2nd



Coming to terms with a painful past?


‘Beneath the Harp and Crown, a play by historian and dramatist Phillp Orr, addresses the

impact on a security force family of the violence they experienced during the Troubles


It begins when a veteran of the Ulster Defence Regiment reveals that he has just received a

letter from the sister of a man who killed his son, asking for a meeting.


The drama vs first performed in 2018, supported by the Good Relations department of

North Down & Ards Council and it is the work which the author undertook over several

months at Decorum, a drop-in centre for security force veterans and their families who are sil

suffering from the painful impact of the past.


The actor in this one-man piece is Brian Payne.


The play will last 50 minutes and afterwards Philip Orr will chair a 30-minute panel discussion

in which former Ulster Defence Regiment members will tell their own stories and offer

their thoughts on whether reconciliation is possible.

Feb 3rd




Self-forgiveness – easy to say but hard to practise


Alive” ecumenical service broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster.


The preacher is Fr Gregory Boyle 5, author of several books including Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship and Tattoos of the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Music and singing by Rev Kiran Young Wimberley and The McGrath Family.


“This will be broadcast on 94.5 FM, on DAB and on-line.


Everyone welcome.


Feb 3rd





“Nobody has ever met a hopeful kid who joined a gang.” – Fr Gregory Boyle SJ


This is the moment when we give a warm Belfast welcome to our festival keynote speaker, Fr Gregory Boyle, 5J, whose forebears left Dunloy, Co. Antrim several generations ago. Drawing on his experience over three decades of working with countless men and women who have been caught up in gang warfare on the streets of the wounded and wonderful city of Los Angeles, he will challenge us to consider the role of compassion, of what he calls “radical kinship” and of forgiveness in the face of violence, injury and death. Fr Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in LA, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. He is the author of several books including Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship and Tattoos of the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion


Fr Boyle will be accompanied by two former gang members, Jose Arellano and Steve Avalos, who will contribute to the discussion.


Tim Mars, temporary Assistant Chief Constable of the PSNI will respond to Fr Boyle’s address.


Feb 4th



Exploring forgiveness with the adults of tomorrow


Play it by Ear, a Christian drama company, will be delivering workshops on forgiveness as a life skill over these three days in eight primary schools, involving a total of 48 pupils from across Belfast.


The project is based on materials provided by the International Forgiveness Institute.


The company and pupils will be rehearsing for the play They Started It! that they will stage in

Stranmillis University College Theatre on Thursday evening, (See below)


Schools taking part from the respective four corners of Belfast are: Holy Cross Girls and

Cavehill in the North; Botanic and Holy Rosary in the South; St Matthews and Victoria Park in the East and Glenwood and St Kevin’s in the West.


Feb ath





Learning from the night before


Young clergy, seminarians, and Queen’s students (on the MRes in Theology & MA in Conflict

Transformation & Social Justice) will be invited to a lunchtime event for more in-depth discussion on the previous evening’s keynote by Fr Gregory Boyle. They will be required to attend that event in the Skainos Centre.


Participants will share a complimentary lunch in small groups, discussing what they learned and the implications of that for their ministries and/or for public theology in Northern Ireland.


The event also will enable them to meet withtheir counterparts from other denominations in

an informal setting, laying the groundwork for future collaborative relationships and the forging of friendships,


This event is supported by the Senator George) Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Feb 4th



Does Hope and History rhyme?


Heaney’s masterful retelling of Sophocles “Philoctetes” was originally staged at a time

when Great Victoria Street, including the Europa Hotel, was a target for repeated bombings. It explores how someone wounded and left behind may hold the key to ending the conflict, and despite being repeatedly quoted at key times in the early years of the peace process (notably by Bill Clinton, who stayed in the Europa during his first visit to the city) it is arguable that the key lessons of this play have never really been learned here. A group of public figures perform a rehearsed reading of Seamus Heaney’ The Cure at Troy under the direction of Trevor Gill of The Bright Umbrella Theatre Co. Those taking part include MLAS Naomi Long, Claire Hanna and Méirtin Muilleoir, former MLA Sammy Douglas and Glenn Bradley, chair of the Northern Ireland Business and Human Rights Forum.


At the conclusion of the performance we are honoured that the poet Michael Longley, CBE will read his 1994 sonnet “Ceasefire.


This event is being organised in association with The Bright Umbrella Drama Co and has been kindly sponsored by the Linen Quarter Business Improvement District.

Feb 5th




Life after gangs


Fr Gregory Boyle 5), the Catholic priest from Los Angeles who has dedicated haff hs life to

addressing gang culture through compassion and radical kinship.” is the principal contributor

to a unique seminar that will seek solutions to similar behaviour here, inquiring where

forgiveness might have its place.


He will be accompanied by two former gang members, Steve Avalos and Jose Arellano, who

served prison sentences and who now hold senior positions in Homeboy Industries, the

intervention and rehabilitation programme founded by Fr Greg, the largest such

programme in the world.


The seminar will appeal to people who are interested in finding ways of ending all

paramilitary assaults, beatings and shootings and responding positively to anti-social



Those attending will include representatives from the PSNI, Probation Service, social services and Churches as well as community workers and youth workers.


Feb 5th



Is there a song for forgivers?


For twenty-five years Brian Houston has been writing songs about Belfast, love, God and

justice. Tonight, Steve Stockman will be digging deep into Brian’s catalogue,


Chatting to him about the themes therein and asking Brian to perform them. 


Expect an evening of emotion and spirituality, inspiration and hope.

Feb 6th



Challenging Churches on forgiveness, justice, reconciliation and repentance


Two Christian leaders from Northern Ireland, Rev Dr Lesley Carroll and Derek Poole, who have both visited Rwanda, will share with the audience their impressions of how Churches

there responded to the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.


Carroll will draw on her meetings with victims, survivors and Church leaders and Poole on the study guide ‘Lessons from Rwanda; which he researched and wrote for Thrive Ireland/

Contemporary Christianity. They will explore scandalous forgiveness in the light of concerns

about justice, repentance and reconciliation and other issues.


The discussion will be chaired by Diane Holt of Thrive Ireland who will invite questions from the floor.


This is a unique opportunity to hear at first hand local insights into the legacy of one of the

darkest moments in 20th century history and to reflect on possible lessons for us here as we

contend with our evolving post-conflict experience.


Feb 7th




Exploring forgiveness at school


This is a family show created by Play it by Ear, a Christian drama company and pupils from eight primary schools across Belfast which looks at what it means to forgive- for both the forgiven and the forgiver. There will be plenty of silliness, lots of laughs and hopefully moments which will get you thinking.


Schools taking part in the respective four comers of Belfast are: Holy Cross Girls and Cavehill in the North; Botanic and Holy Rosary in the South; St Matthew’s and Victoria Parkin the East and Glenwood and St Kevin’s in the West.


The show is derived from forgiveness workshops that Play it by Ear will have conducted with pupils from these schools earlier in the week. (see entry above).


Feb sth




How has it been for you?


Ten days in and with the working week drawing to a close this is a golden opportunity for those who have been to 4 Corner Festival events to come along to discuss with the Committee and some prominent festival speakers their impressions so far. What angles to the “Scandalous Forgiveness” theme inspired you, uplifted you, irritated you, frightened you? What have we been missing?


Over a Bring Your Own lunch we would like to hear your feedback and give you an

opportunity to put questions to speakers you didn’t get a chance to ask earlier in the week.

We’ll wrap up by 2 pm.

Feb 8th




Searching for the role of forgiveness in promoting peace and reconciliation. This one-hour film documentary produced by ‘Youth with a Mission Ireland director Jonny Clark and English film-maker Josh Eaves of Global Fire Creative uses stories of courage and compassion

from the Troubles to make a powerful plea for peace and reconciliation.


‘The film’s title, Guardians of the Flame comes from a quote by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “Religion is like fire, and like fire it warms, but it also burns, and we are the guardians of the flame”.


Contributors to the film include Alan McBride whose wife and father-in-law died in the Shankill bombing, Eugene Reavey whose three brothers were killed in the Whitecross shootings, and Beryl Quigley whose husband was shot by the IRA.


Forgiveness, scandalous or otherwise, is a strong thread with contrasting angles evident.


‘The audience will have an opportunity to engage with a panel afterwards when well try to shed some light on the role of forgiveness in post- conflict healing.



Feb 9th



From West to North and back with poetry along the way


Join us for a three-hour wonderful wander from West to North Belfast, affording some of the most breath-taking views of our city. Beginning in Ballymurphy, we will walk up the Whiterock Road toward the mountain towering above Belfast.


At the top of the Whiterock we will take the Mountain Loney, a small road that winds its way upward, to the foot of Black Mountain where we will pause to listen to some words from our wandering poets, Jim Deeds and Glenn Bradley. There on the high line between West and North we will be able to explore where forgiveness plays its part in the lives of the people below. Moving on we will follow the Mountain Loney on down to our finish in Ballygomartin, North Belfast. It’s sure to be a wonderful wander!


This walk involves a steep gradient in places and will last up to three hours with a few stops off points along the way for rest and comfort breaks. Good walking gear and a reasonable fitness level are a must.


Feb 9th



A celebration of Outrageous Forgiveness with members of the New Irish Choir and Orchestra


A beautiful eclectic choral and orchestral concert in St Peter’s Cathedral, with stories and music about grace and forgiveness.


The music will range from classical choral works to popular songs on the theme of forgiveness. New Irish Choir and Orchestra is part of New Irish Arts, a diverse Christian charity which aims to present Christianity through the Arts. They produce around 15-20 concerts per year as well as making recordings for BBC and RTE radio and television.


They appear frequently on BBC Songs of Praise and their Christmas event regularly sells out the Waterfront Hall. Their Greater Love World War 1 production toured the region successfully in 14 venues, culminating in a recent Gala Finale in Belfast City Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Belfast. New Irish Arts is delighted to be associated with the 4 Corners Festival, as one of many partnerships with churches, charities and major events across Ireland.


Feb 10th


Reflecting with grace and thanksgiving


On the last night of the 4 Corners Festival 2019 we look back at the theme of the Festival, Scandalous Forgiveness, and ask ourselves what we should do with what we have heard over the past 12 days.


What should we do about this word forgiveness? How can we all work to ensure that our engagement together during our festival will contribute even in a small way to the transformation we seek in our beautiful yet divided city?

We are delighted to have Canon David Porter, chief of staff and strategy at Lambeth Palace and Dr Nicola Brady, general secretary of the Irish Council of Churches, as our speakers.

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