July 10, 2012

The Remains II

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This is the second image of the St Michael’s Cathedral in Coventry, England. I shot this the afternoon I shot yesterday’s image.  Different processing, different feel. The cathedral ruins serves as a memorial to the victims of the attack. There are statues, plaques and benches in the open area. At one end is a museum and at the other end (beneath the surviving cathedral Spire) is a gift shop where you can also access the spire itself (spectacular views from the top).

Coventry’s destruction does have a silver lining, of sorts. Out of the rubble rose the Ministry of Reconciliation. It was first told to me by Jean Arrowsmith, lifelong Coventry resident (her parents survived the attack and, like most other Coventry survivors, participated in the search for survivors). But the Ministry of Reconciliation is best described by the official Coventry Cathedral Website:

“Shortly after the destruction, the cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, noticed that two of the charred medieval roof timbers had fallen in the shape of a cross.  He set them up in the ruins where they were later placed on an altar of rubble with the moving words ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the Sanctuary wall.  Another cross was fashioned from three medieval nails by local priest, the Revd Arthur Wales.  The Cross of Nails has become the symbol of Coventry’s ministry of reconciliation.

“Coventry Cathedral is one of the world’s oldest religious-based centres for reconciliation. Following the destruction of the Cathedral in 1940, Provost Dick Howard made a commitment not to revenge, but to forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible. Using a national radio broadcast from the cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 he declared that when the war was over he would work with those who had been enemies ‘to build a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”

Jean Arrowsmith told me that The Ministry of Reconciliation is currently active, helping to rebuild houses of worship in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  1. What a moving image and story of violence and reconciliation. The willingness to forgive those who hurt us doesn’t come easily, but there is a rare and unique beauty to be found in the healing that comes through forgiveness. You’ve captured an image worthy of it’s subject.