BE SURE TO WEAR FLOWERS IN YOUR HAIR: Rev Karen Sethurman on the peace line in West Belfast Thomas McMullan

Ireland's only female Baptist minister to take Unity campaign to San Francisco

Veteran Protestant peacemaker Rev Karen Sethuraman is to bring her message of national reunification and community reconciliation to San Franciso later this month.

The only Baptist female minister in Ireland, the Rev Karen will be taking part in the first-ever event featuring the Ireland's Future campaign group on the west coast of America. 

Focusing on marginalised and victimised groups, the East Belfast native has forged a reputation as a shoulder-to-lean-on for groups which have felt unwelcome in the mainstream church. Her SoulSpace initiative provides a supportive faith environment for LGBT and other groups who feel they 'don't fit' in the established church structures.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Earlier this year, Rev Karen joined the board of United Ireland campaigning group Ireland's Future and her visit to the US will be her first time in America. 

In a letter to Irish American and faith groups in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Rev Karen  says that many in Ireland now feel a United Ireland "is inevitable". 

She adds: "If we are to learn anything from Brexit, it is the importance of preparing and planning; we must do the groundwork beforehand. I truly believe we are better together and we have the opportunity to build a New Ireland. Having been raised in a Protestant Unionist background, I am passionate that all voices are welcome and heard at the table. Together we can create a new Ireland and build a better home for all."

Joining the Rev Karen in San Francisco will be Ireland's Future spokesperson and human rights lawyer Niall Murphy. In a letter to Irish groups in the Golden Gate City, he says the momentum building behind the case for a United Ireland is "remarkable". 

"What may have seemed abstract and theoretical has now become real, tangible and deliverable, and in our respectful analysis will occur this decade," he writes. "We want a united Ireland that is genuinely new, globally ambitious, and successful." 

The North Belfast United Ireland advocate says the debate round Irish reunification is "the coversation of our generation", adding: "The diaspora will play a vital role in the drive towards a new future and nowhere is our global family more powerful than in San Francisco. It's only right that we should ensure their voice is heard in this pivotal conversation."

The Ireland's Future event backed by the Irish Herald newspaper will take place in the United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco at 7:30pm on 23 May.