Bishop of Derry and Raphoe's parting plea to politicians

Bishop Ken Good Image copyright Diocese of Derry and Raphoe
Image caption Ken Good has been the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe since 2002.

The retiring Bishop of Derry and Raphoe has urged politicians to "take courageous steps" in the wake of Lyra McKee's murder.

The Right Reverend Ken Good said the killing was one of the darkest days of his 17 years in the role.

"There have been so many dark days, they seem all the more dark because of the brightness that generally pervades our life now."

Ms McKee was shot observing rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate.

The New IRA said its members were responsible for the April 18 attack on the journalist.

Bishop Good joined other church leaders, politicians and the community in Creggan the day after the journalist was killed.

"There was a shared horror. There was an outrage that was deeper because things have got so much better," the Church of Ireland bishop said.

"We have got used to peaceful times and we don't want to go back to that."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Bishop Ken Good alongside political leaders Colum Eastwood, Naomi Long, Mary Lou McDonald and Arlene Foster at a vigil in Derry for Lyra McKee.

Bishop Good urged politicians to "take courageous steps" following the death of the 29-year-old.

"At Lyra's funeral, you could visibly see a sense of pressure on the faces of the politicians who were sitting in the front row as the momentum built from the back to the front," he said.

"None of us envy the role of a politician. They are in a tough bind and the impasse at Stormont is quite deep, but they have the backing of us all to step forward in a decisive way."

Bishop Good said although the last year has been difficult, his parting thought is one of gratitude.

"Seventeen years ago, I came to a city that I didn't know at all to work with people I hadn't known before.

"I now feel a sense of real belonging and identifying with the people, I am so grateful for that."

'Sense of identity'

"In the north-west, we have a chip on our shoulder about being a bit deprived when it comes to roads and transport systems justifiably.

"But people have a strong sense of identity, we are proud of where we are from."

He first came to Derry in 2002 when he was appointed as Bishop of Derry and Raphoe.

"My first memory is the warmth of the people here.

"I walked up Shipquay Street and people stopped me to welcome me. They said, 'I'm not from your church but I know you are the new Church of Ireland Bishop' and shook my hand."

Image caption Bishop Good addressed the Church of Ireland's general synod when it was held in Derry earlier this month.

Bishop Good oversaw the first visit of the Church of Ireland General Synod to Derry in more than 150 years as one of his last official duties.

He said it was "an honour and a blessing to host this great Church occasion".

His retirement was announced last year to allow a successor to be appointed ahead of the next Lambeth Conference in 2020.

It is expected that a new Bishop of Derry and Raphoe will be in place by September.

"I am confident that my successor will inherit a committed and talented team of clergy and lay people to help develop God's kingdom in this diocese," he added.

Retirement plans

The clergyman said he and his wife, Mary, plan to stay in the north-west after his retirement, and spend more time with his family.

"We have a house in Fanad in County Donegal, so we will be spending a lot of time there.

"We have three children and three grandchildren, so I'm looking forward to having more time to spend with them.

"I'm 66 and I am in good health. I love playing golf, so I'd like to get out on the course more often.

"I plan to do volunteering too, I have lots of things in mind."

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