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Keeping the Faith in Times of Uncertainty - Leadership Panel Discussion

Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 12:00 to 14:00
The Skainos Centre, 241 Newtownards Rd, Belfast BT4 1AF

Faith and charities have a long-standing history, many of the earliest charities were formed by religious groups and faith leaders, who stepped in and up to support the most vulnerable in society.

Presently, the Faith sector forms a key part of the wider charity (aka Third) sector.  A sector which is very much centred on leading forward on social change. 

Today, we find ourselves in a unique position with no functioning government for over 18 months and a deep sense of frustration at the lack of political leadership. Yet life continues, and for those in leadership roles, they are leading forward to make a difference in a world that is surrounded by uncertainty as best they can.

CO3, a leadership based organisation for charity leaders, has organised a panel discussion to examine the role of faith-based leaders and the opportunities to work in closer collaboration with the wider Third sector.

In the current political vacuum, those leading charitable organisations particularly those in faith-based organisations, this will be a space to actively reflect on how we can provide leadership in our communities.

  • Where do faith-based charities and churches bring unique strengths to the sector, and where do they achieve the greatest impact for their beneficiaries?

  • What is the wider leadership role of faith based charities and churches to work in closer collaboration with the wider charity sector?

  • How can we encourage and support more collaboration across the wider charity sector?

  • Is there an opportunity to enhance the broader role of Third Sector leaders in the absence of political leadership?

These will be some of the questions that we will be exploring with a range of faith based leaders as part of this unique workshop.

Leadership Panel

  • Peter Lynas

  • Maria Garvey

  • Rev Harold Good OBE

  • Rev Ruth Patterson

Chaired by Andrew McCracken, Chair of CO3.


Date:     4 October 2018

Time:     12pm – 2.00pm

Venue:   Skanios Centre, Belfast

Peter Lynas

Peter is passionate about faith in the public square and in the workplace. He leads the team at Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland. Peter worked as a barrister in Belfast for five years, before completing his M Div at Regent College in Vancouver where he serves on the Board. He is a regular commentator in the media and has taught at Westminster Theological Centre and Belfast Bible College. His work can be found at www.reimaginingfaith.com 







Maria Garvey

Maria is former CEO of L’Arche Ireland and Northern Ireland, experienced organizational consultant, group facilitator, leadership coach and certified mindfulness teacher. In a career spanning over 30 years in education, community, health and social care Maria’s life and leadership has been enriched and sustained by a regular mindfulness practice. Out of her commitment to passing this on to others she now leads 8- Week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction intensive programmes in Belfast and Omagh and over the past few years she has brought mindfulness retreats and workshops to organizational leaders and employees in community, voluntary, statutory and church sectors in Northern Ireland and beyond. For further information go to: www.kridyom.uk






Rev Harold Good OBE


Harold Good was born in Derry / Londonderry but spent his formative years in East Belfast.

Ordained as a Minister of the Methodist Church in Ireland in 1962, he has served in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United States of America.

A period of study in the USA in the 1960’s had significant impact upon his understanding of divided communities, peace making and human rights. Upon his return to Ireland in 1968 he was appointed to the strongly “Protestant” / “Loyalist” inner-city Shankill Road in. In 1973, he was appointed Director of the Corrymeela Centre of Reconciliation.  .

As well as his vocation as a parish minister and responsibilities within the governance of the Methodist church, Harold Good has held several appointments in both the public and voluntary sectors.  Amongst them …Adviser to Government on social policy; Human Rights Commissioner; prison chaplain; Chairman of the N. Ireland Association for the Care and Re-settlement of Offenders; Member of the Coiste Steering Group for ex-political prisoners; founder member of Healing Through Remembering   Chairman of the Advice Services Alliance; Governor of Methodist College, Belfast and Edgehill Theological College. For his ‘Services to the Community’ he was awarded an MBE in 1970 and an OBE in 1985.  In 2001, Harold Good was elected President of the Methodist Church in Ireland

Throughout these long years of conflict in Northern Ireland he has been discreetly involved with people from all sides in the search for a peaceful resolution. 

As a result, and having earned their trust, in 2005 he and Father Alec Reid were invited to be the independent witnesses who verified the de-commissioning of the weaponry of the IRA. 

In October 2008 he and Fr Reid were the joint recipients of the Gandhi Foundation award.



Rev Ruth Patterson

Ruth Patterson is a Presbyterian minister, and for the last 27 years has been Director of Restoration Ministries, a non denominational, Christian organisation committed to peace and reconciliation.  In 1976 she was the first woman to be ordained in Ireland.  She was the recipient of the Alumna of the Year 2000 award (Edinburgh University / Royal Bank of Scotland), in 2001 an honorary doctorate from the Presbyterian Theology Faculty of Ireland, and in 2003 was awarded an OBE for her efforts in reconciliation.  She has authored five books and numerous articles stemming from her commitment to unity and peace.  She produces annual scripture guidelines for Faith and Friendship, a movement in Northern Ireland inspired by Jean Vanier.  She is one of four church representatives to L’Arche International and holds the post of Ecumenical Canon in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.  She is on the Board of Oneings, a bi-annual publication of the Centre for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.






Chairperson, Andrew McCracken

Andrew McCracken became Chief Executive of the Community Foundation in July 2014.  Andrew is also the Chair of CO3, the charity for third sector leaders in Northern Ireland.  Andrew has strayed far from his original degree in Physics and has worked on major organisational development projects, led highly successful national fundraising campaigns, facilitated significant change within local and international charities, and provided advice and support for charity leaders on people and fundraising issues. Amongst other roles, he has 13 years experience of working within Tearfund, an international development NGO, latterly as their Global Fundraising Director. He has recently joined the board of Oxfam Ireland. Andrew and his partner Harriet live in Belfast and have a large and noisy family of fostered, adopted and birth children.