Yesterday I visited the Novi Most Centre in Čapljina, BiH and attended the first Ballroom Dance Class for young people aged from 18 – 30. So as well as learning more Bosnian and Croatian I can now do the Slow Foxtrot “jedan, dva, tri, četiri”
I have had two good meetings today, one with a Pastor in Mostar who runs a small church with a big heart for loving the poorest people in the area, giving them opportunity to volunteer on a farm planting vegetables which they then give away, some to the workers and some to the community. They have big plans. But then God is big! I talked about the CCN, our network, our vision, our plans. The church will discuss whether it would be a good thing to become a partner.
I also talked with the Director of Novi Most International about our story and network for her to pray about and consider.
Associate Director for Reconciliation
Last summer the Dean attended the central and eastern European gathering of the Community of the Cross of Nails in Odessa, Ukraine. During this our first CCN Partner in Ukraine was welcomed into the network. Today we remember the church of St Paul’s and the people of Ukraine as violence and political crisis overtakes their daily lives.
Through our CCN Partners, whether in Sudan or those Emma Griffiths and I visited in Palestine and Israel in December, we are linked with churches, communities and countries where the failure to overcome fear and hate exacts a great cost on people through violence and war. Our calling is to stand with them in prayer and in providing support and understanding when possible.
In Coventry people from many countries which make the news have come as refugees or students to our city and we have a practical opportunity to listen to their experiences and show God’s love. And now at the heart of Archbishop Justin’s Reconciliation ministry we are linked more than ever with the life of the Anglican Communion which in many places worships and witnesses in the context of unspeakable violence.
In the last weeks we welcomed Muslim and Christian faith leaders from Nigeria who are sharing in a workshop looking at what they can do together to promote peace and reconciliation in their communities. As we welcomed them to our service we assured them of our prayers.
We know only too well from the many involved in reconciliation who have shared their lives with us over the years at Coventry Cathedral, that the challenge is not the programmes planned and run, but the personal cost of being a peacemaker when the culture of violence is so deep. Let us not grow weary in prayer for those who wage peace.
Canon David Porter
Archbishop of Cantebury’s Director for Reconciliation
A Reconciliation Internship at Coventry Cathedral is for those seeking to develop their understanding of reconciliation and peacebuilding as part of Christian mission.
It offers the opportunity to:
- Gain experience in a working environment
- Develop skills in project management, research and group facilitation
- Learn and explore a range of issues in relation to the theology, practice and spirituality of reconciliation.
Visit the Cathedral website to learn more – link.
The following speech was given by John Witcombe in Nijmegen at the 70th anniversary of the bombing on February 22. To commemorate this all the churches of Nijmegen come together every year. The city which has been affected greatly during the Second World War was awarded their Cross of Nails in 1953.
Nijmegen was one of the first Dutch cities to be invaded by German troops in 1940 and was later heavily bombed by American planes on 22 February 1944, who thought they were bombing the German city Kleve. The city was then used as a springboard for Operation Veritable, which allowed Allied Troops the invasion across the Rhine River.
Canon David Porter’s role with the Archbishop of Canterbury has been significant and demanding, and he has now moved, as of 1st January, to a full time secondment from Coventry to Lambeth, as the Archbishop’s Director for Reconciliation.David will continue to have his home and place of worship in Coventry, and will continue as a Canon of the Cathedral and member of the Cathedral Ministry team. We are delighted that he is playing such a significant part in Archbishop Justin’s worldwide work for peace and reconciliation both within and beyond the church, and offer him our congratulations and prayerful support.
Speaking about his new position, Canon David Porter said: “How we live with our deepest differences both within the Church and our increasingly fractured world, is one of the major challenges to the credibility of Christianity as good news.”
“It is a privilege to be asked to take on this responsibility for Archbishop Justin and I look forward to working with him in serving the Church in making reconciliation and peacebuilding a theological and practical priority in its life and witness.”
“The CCN has no doubt gone through great changes but it has I believe, remained firmly rooted in the commitment of Reconciliation…” So reflects Kenyon Wright who coordinated the reconciliation work at Coventry Cathedral from 1970 to 1981.
Kenyon further reflected the need for healing the wounds of history on two levels, “The first level would be local or national – concerned with reconciling people and structures… for example… in South Africa, in Ireland, in Palestine.”
The second “global poverty… and our human relationship of exploitation with the earth and its ecology”
Indeed, as not many may know, it was through him that the Community of the Cross of Nails was established from what had before been rather loosely connected Cross of Nails Centres around the world.
It was in January 1974, 40 years ago, when the establishment of the Community of the Cross of Nails was first publicised. In the Coventry Cathedral Network Magazine No 19 Kenyon Wright set out the purposes and objectives of the Community of the Cross of Nails. At that time 48 centres were at work worldwide that were to become part of this new network. The establishment of the CCN was meant to bind together Cross of Nails centres so that they could support each other in their continued commitment to reconciliation. The centres would share a common ‘discipline of Christian living’, ‘pray for one another’ and aid each other with a ‘programme of study and action throughout the world ’.
The Community of the Cross of Nails has grown significantly and we continue to hear of other groups doing excellent work and wanting to be part of our inspiring story on a monthly basis – we now have 160 partners, a number that continues to grow just as the number of ICON Schools, both around the city of Coventry and worldwide.
The Reconciliation Ministry Team at Coventry Cathedral would like to thank all Partners, Friends, ICON Schools and individuals for their good work and support.
May the Community of the Cross of Nails continue in its Ministry of Reconciliation as we strive to heal the wounds of history, live with difference, celebrate diversity and build a culture of peace.