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Church leaders sign “We All Belong” pledge

10th June 2019

The leaders of four Churches in Derry and the North West Bishop Donal McKeown (Catholic Church - Derry and Inishowen), Bishop Ken Good (Church of Ireland - Derry and Raphoe), Rev Richard Johnston (Superintendant Minister of the Methodist Church) and Rev Colin Kibben (Moderator of the local Derry and Donegal Presbytery) have all signed the ‘We All Belong’ pledge.

The Directors of the Churches Trust were also present at the signing and their commitment emphasises the important role that we all as individuals and community leaders have in tackling prejudice and discrimination.

The pledge reads: "I pledge to oppose discrimination in all its forms against all people regardless of background, identity or belief. I will challenge hate in all its forms as I believe every person and organisation can make a difference, I recognise that diversity and difference enriches us all. I pledge to promote equality for everyone in our City and District.”

Speaking at the signing, Fiona Fagan Chief Executive of The Churches Trust said: "I am delighted that the leaders of these four Churches here in Derry and the Northwest have signed the We All Belong pledge, which recognises that all of us, both as individual and as community leaders, have a responsibility to tackle discrimination and prejudice in all its forms. We look forward to working with the campaign and religious leaders of all faiths and denominations in supporting this campaign and reducing prejudice and discrimination across the North West region.”

The Churches Trust (CT) was founded by the leaders of the Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Catholic Churches in Derry over 30 years ago, all of which recognised the level of deprivation in the area and the need for a united response to provide much needed services and support. Last year, The Churches Trust received a Queen's Award for their Voluntary Service.

The WE ALL BELONG campaign is funded through the SEUPB’s PEACE IV initiative and is dedicated to tackling prejudice and hate crime in all its forms. This includes racist, homophobic, religious, sectarian, transgender and disability hate crime. The PEACE IV Programme is supported by the European Union, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The pledge has already been signed by past Mayor of Derry City & Strabane Councillor John Boyle, Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Sinn Fein councillors, SDLP Leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood and SDLP councillors, DUP MLA and councillors, UUP and independent councillors as well as members of Destined Disability Group, Rainbow Project, Foyle Pride, Cara-Friend, UNISON LGBT NI, Out North West, Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group, Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum, NI Housing Executive, Council for the Homeless NI, First Housing and the local PSNI.

The pledge will continue to travel across the City and District in the coming weeks and months and any group that wishes to sign it is urged to contact the campaign on: weallbelong@mwadvocate.com

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