Tireless peace worker honoured

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Mrs Myrtle Kerr, who at the height of ‘The Troubles’ worked tirelessly for reconciliation alongside her husband, The late Revd Cecil Kerr, has been honoured with the Royal Maundy money.

She is a parishioner of Kilbroney Parish, Rostrevor, and was nominated by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Revd David McClay.

In 1974 Cecil and Myrtle moved their family to Rostrevor, County Down, where they founded the Christian Renewal Centre.

Bishop McClay said: “The Christian Renewal Centre was a beacon of hope, a centre for prayer and a place that brought Roman Catholics and Protestants together during all the years of the Troubles. It was a place where people found refuge and healing at a time when division and sectarianism kept communities apart.

“Over several decades, Myrtle and Cecil worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and played a significant role in all that eventually led to the Peace Process.”

“Cecil became ill with Alzheimer’s in 1999 and died in 2010 but Myrtle continues in her own quiet and gracious way to bring people together in her home in Warrenpoint. Her ongoing commitment to the work of reconciliation in Northern Ireland is legendary. Myrtle also quietly helps out in her local parish church showing kindness and hospitality to many in her community who need a listening ear or practical encouragement. Her Christian faith is deep and real and has been lived out in costly and sacrificial ways for decades, without ever looking for or expecting any acclamation.”

Myrtle, who is now 84, said: “I feel very honoured to receive this gift from the Queen and I accept it on behalf of Cecil and the interdenominational community in Rostrevor who made the ministry possible. It’s only by the grace of God and his call on our lives that the Christian Renewal Centre came into being. It was totally a faith venture, but God never let us down. It was a privilege to serve there for many years, especially when Cecil was around.”

For the second year in a row the Maundy Service planned for today in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, is not going ahead because of the restrictions around Covid–19.

Myrtle, however, received her Maundy coins and a signed letter from the Queen by Special Delivery.

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