Community of the Cross of Nails holds event at Synod Office

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 on May 30, 2024

The Very Rev. John Witcombe, dean of Coventry Cathedral, along with Canadian members and prospective members of the Community of the Cross of Nails, met at the diocese’s Synod Office on April 25.

The Community of the Cross of Nails arose out of the wartime destruction of Coventry Cathedral by a German air-raid. After the cathedral was bombed, three medieval nails from the roof were found on the floor and bound into the shape of a cross. Provost Richard Howard took some chalk and wrote “Father Forgive” on the charred walls of the cathedral. He urged people not to seek revenge but to strive for reconciliation with the enemy – a view very different to the media and government messages at the time.

Out of the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, the Community of the Cross of Nails has became a worldwide network of some 260 churches, charities, chaplaincies, peace-building and retreat centers, schools and other educational and training organizations, all inspired by the Coventry Cathedral story of destruction, rebuilding and renewal, and active in reconciliation in their own ways. The Community of the Cross of Nails has three principles: healing the wounds of history, learning to live with difference and celebrating diversity, and building a culture of peace.

The current Canadian board president is the Rev. Michael Shapcott, a former deacon of the diocese who is currently the executive director of the Sorrento retreat centre in B.C. Mr. Shapcott and Elin Goulden, the diocese’s Social Justice and Advocacy consultant, co-hosted the April event, during which Dean Witcombe shared the Coventry Cathedral story and explored the diversity of reconciliation practices throughout the worldwide Community of the Cross of Nails.


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