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Forgiveness seminar

LOCAL MP Alistair Carmichael and the chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service, Colin McConnell, will share the podium at a one day seminar on the subject of “forgiveness” being held in Lerwick next month.

The one day seminar Unpacking Forgiveness, which will be held at Sound public hall on 17 February, has been organised by the community mediation team at Market House.

Mediation manager Alyson Halcrow said the event follows a successful seminar on “apology” last year.

“It explores concepts that are key to our work in conflict resolution and restorative justice and which are so important in a small community like Shetland,” she said.

Clair Aldington of Shetland Arts, who jointly co-ordinates the space2face arts and restorative justice project with Halcrow, added: “The subject of forgiveness is a tricky and complex one, to forgive for some, may seem impossible.

“I have come to realize that forgiveness is a process and not a one off act, and that if you choose to forgive someone it doesn’t mean that you are ignoring the harm or hurt that may have been caused.

“It just means that you are choosing to let go of something in order to move on with your life.”

Carmichael will speak on the role of forgiveness in politics, McConnell will explain its relevance in prisons and the criminal justice system.

Halcrow and Aldington will deliver a talk entitled Forgive and Forget; is forgiveness relevant in restorative justice.

Reverend Neil Brice and Father Anil Gonsalvez will speak about forgiveness and faith.

Halcrow said: “Forgiveness is a deeply interesting subject, and for many has a strong connection to faith, but it does not have to have that connection with religion – people of no faith can forgive.

“The day is intended as an exploration of the subject of forgiveness, looked at from many angles and perspectives.

“We do not intend the day to be therapy for anyone seeking forgiveness, but it may well prove to be cathartic for some.”

Other topics to be covered include the arts and forgiveness, forgiveness in the criminal justice system, exploration of forgiveness through drama, facilitated by Izzy Swanson and whether forgiveness plays a role in the work of the Community Mediation Team in Shetland.

There will also be a performance on the theme of forgiveness by the Anderson High After School Drama Group.

The seminar will be chaired by Shetland Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell.

Attendance will cost £20 per person (waged) and £5 (unwaged).

More information is available by contacting alyson.halcrow@shetland.org Or phoning 01595 743934