"Supporting couples who are united in love across traditional Christian divisions and promoting acceptance of these relationships within Northern Ireland society"
The Northern Ireland Mixed Marriage Association, (NIMMA), was founded in 1974 as a result of a conference held at Corrymeela. Since then it has provided country-wide support and information to couples either in or contemplating mixed marriage. For a definition of mixed marriage, click here.
In a society where sectarianism is institutionalised, NIMMA continues to lobby for the acceptance of mixed marriage, increased integrated education and wider availability of shared social housing.
Much has changed since those early days and NIMMA has played a major role in influencing landmark changes in clerical attitudes and regulations toward mixed marriage to such an extent that it has never been easier to make a mixed marriage. NIMMA strives for changes to baptismal restrictions imposed by all the major denominations, for eucharistic sharing for interchurch couples, true reconciliation and a shared future for all.
- Making a difference
NIMMA has evolved since our foundation in 1974 and has responded to the changes in society we have helped bring about.
The improvements have been significant but we remain a very segregated society and barriers to mixed relationships can be very real.
Our mission continues and ouir aims are set out below.
To provide support, advice and information to couples and families involved in mixed marriage/relationships.
To raise public awareness of the issue of mixed marriage/relationships and of NIMMA's support services.
To promote and facilitate relevant research into the needs of couples and families involved in mixed marriage/relationships.
To lobby policy makers, churches and organisations to address the needs of couples and families involved in mixed marriage/relationships.
To develop the capacity of the organisation to enable meeting of the strategic aims.
NIMMA takes part in many different activities throughout the year, ranging from informal social evenings to personal meetings with couples seeking information. Our main activities, illustrated in our news index, can be categorised as follows:
Providing support, advice and information to couples and families involved in mixed marriage/relationships
Raising public awareness of the issue of mixed marriage/relationships and of NIMMA's support services
Providing information to support research into the issues relevant to mixed marriage/relationships
Lobbying policy makers, churches and organisations to address the needs of couples and families involved in mixed marriage/relationships on issues such as housing
Holding an annual themed conference on mixed marriage
Representing NIMMA at conferences, including international gatherings on interchurch marriage
Givinng talks on mixed marriage to interested groups and organisations
There are many examples of how NIMMA has made a difference to individual couples and to society in general. The impact of NIMMA on local society and local people can be discovered through our publication on Celebrating the Success, Evaluating the Impact.
Of particular importance is time spent working with the clergy to help them understand the particular difficulties, and advantages, of mixed marriages. While the ability to get married has become easier over the years, the issue of baptisms has become more difficult. As couples no longer convert in order to be a single-tradition family, the desire to baptise their children into both traditions is a natural consequence. In the early days, ecumenical or joint baptisms that were concelebrated were done in much greater frequency. However, in the last 15-20 years the ability to baptize one’s children in this manner has become more difficult as church authorities have frowned upon joint baptisms.
Another issue we have addressed is housing. Finding the right place to live can be difficult for mixed marriage couples in Northern Ireland. NIMMA continues to influence housing policy in Northern Ireland and has helped bring about the significant change whereby couples can now state their prefernce to live in mixed housing rather than be made to choose between "Protestant" or "Catholic" as their designation.
Support for Couples
At times you may appreciate the opportunity to discuss issues with someone with similar experience. We have discovered ways of overcoming problems and can offer help to couples and families in a similar situation. If you wish to talk with one of our volunteers, we will fully respect your privacy. We can provide you with information to help you and your partner make choices which are right for you as a couple. Contact us to find out more.
NIMMA members are often in mixed marriages but not necessarily so. Many members of the clergy have worked with NIMMA to supprt couuples and families in mixed marriages. We receive support for our activities from the varied realms of politics, education, business, arts and communities.Our funding is modest and largely grant based.
The launch of one of our popular publications, a guide to Mixed Marriage in Ireland, was held at the Long Gallery at Stormont. The booklet provies practical and helpful advice on options for couples entering into marriage and is available through our office.
For details of additional publications, click here.
For information on further support provided by NIMMA, click here.