THE NEED to bring reconciliation to communities affected by the present miners strike has been highlighted this week by two separate ecumenical efforts.
In South Yorkshire, a document, The Churches in the Dearne Valley and the Future of the Coal industry, has been given warm support by Bishop Gerald Moverley of Hallam, the Anglican Bishop of' Sheffield, Dr David Lunn, and the regional heads of the Methodist, United Reformed, Baptist and
Salvation Army Churches.
The Dearne Valley area includes Cortonwood Colliery, one of the threatened pits which sparked off the miners strike which is now entering its eighteenth week.
The document while in no way questioning the legitimate desire of miners to keep local collieries "open and productive for as long as can be", also recognises that in view of government policies most of the collieries in the Dearne Valley will be subject to "decreasing capacity". It is this change that the churches are seeking to respond to, the paper states.
Recognising that the closure of collieries affects the whole community, the document calls on local political organisations and trade unions to address themselves to ''long-term questions of people's futures" with "honesty and realism".
The coal industry as a whole is urged to provide an "adequately funded programme of care, advice and information" for all those affected by redundancy. In the mining village of Keresley on the outskirts of Coventry, a service of prayer for reconciliation was held by the local Anglican, Roman Catholic and Free Church ministers. The pressing need to heal wounds caused by the dispute in the community was stressed.
The effort has been praised by, the Executive Council of the, British Council of Churches as a good example of the role of the Christian community in promoting reconciliation in the current strike.