Good, G. Harold, OBE
1937 - ; e.m. 1959

The son of Robert J. Good (1892-1976; e.m. 1916; President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, 1958), he was educated at Methodist College, Belfast (1949-1955); Edgehill Theological College, Belfast (1959-1962); and Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis (1966-1968), where he obtained the STM. degree. Early experiences helped to shape his ministry, including a period in Bessbrook near the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic; work among the socially deprived in the DublinCentral Mission when poverty was widespread; life in Ohio and in a black Methodist congregation in downtown Indianapolis during the time of civil rights protests and the assassination of Martin Luther King. In the heart of Belfast's Shankill Road from 1968 when 'the Troubles' in Northern Ireland were worsening, he combined church and community work with part-time chaplaincy duties in Crumlin Road prison. For five years he was Centre Director of the Corrymeela Community.

He served on many church and statutory committees, notably on the Methodist Council on Social Responsibility when he joined with ministerial and lay members in important low profile talks with governments and political parties, including Sinn Fein. The aim was to encourage participation within the political process; to help create space for dialogue between individuals and political parties; to facilitate cross-community contact, understanding and co-operation; and to press for social and political institutions offering freedom, justice and widespread participation. He received an MBE in 1970 and an OBE in 1985 for services to the community. He served on the on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 1999 to 2004, a body created through the Belfast (or Good Friday) Agreement. He and Fr. Alec Reid, a Redemptorist priest who helped to wean the IRA off 'the armed struggle', were independent witnesses of the decommissioning of IRA arms in 2005 and were joint recipients of the Rene Cassin Peace prize from the government of the Basque Region. Elected President of the Methodist Church in Ireland in 2001, in 2007 he became the third Irish person to receive the World Methodist Peace Award, following Saidie Patterson and Gordon Wilson.

His brother Peter Good (1933-2000; e.m. 1967) and his cousins George E. Good (1915-1994; e.m. 1938) and J. Winston Good (born 1934; e.m. 1959) also became Methodist ministers. Peter was the minister in Omagh in 1998 when breakaway republicans placed a bomb in the town, taking 29 lives. His retirement was delayed in 1999 for twelve months to enable him to support the community in its grief, but he died within the year.

  • Methodist Recorder, 1 November & 13 December 2007
  • Anne Hailes, in Methodist Newsletter (Belfast), December 2007, pp. 28-9

Entry written by: NWT
Category: Person
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