We are so looking forward to welcoming this year’s new Cathedral intern, Josefine, to Coventry in the coming weeks for the beginning of her year working with us and ARSP. Our interns make a huge difference to our ministry, and go on to do great things – including two, Cerys and Stacy, beginning training for ordained ministry this month. Rahel, our German intern in 2016/17, recently got in touch, and we share her reflections here.
How my year working for the Reconciliation ministry at Coventry Cathedral impacted on my life.
At Coventry, through working for the school’s team, helping run CCN pilgrimages, guiding tours for adults and children, and organizing and hosting events at St Michal’s House, I learned about reconciliation in the name of Christ.
Already before my year in Coventry I had practised building bridges and reconciliation in my daily life, but I didn’t know how to make a difference in the world as an individual and felt hopeless quite often. Many seemed to just care for themselves, or maybe just get lost in their daily lives; little relationship to God, themselves and the people/community around them. This was my motivation to dedicate one year as an intern at Coventry Cathedral, where I found some answers, which influenced my life and perspectives on life, relationships and the world forever.
Primarily, this year was about God and me. I grow up with a religious background but my parents’ divorce changed everything, and God’s voice didn’t reach me and I lost faith, in him, community and the world. I just believed in myself and nothing else anymore. But his voice always showed up from time to time, and now I know that he never left me completely. Coventry was a crucial year. I started to hear and listen to him again and started to see and feel the kindness of the world and people around me; to have hope again. I am still on my way with that – each of us is on a life-long journey with God and those around us.
Secondly, I learned to reconcile with myself, my background, and citizenship as a German person, which impacts me way much more than I expected. I understood life is messy from time to time and we need reconciliation in different ways. Often, we just wait for a problem to resolve by itself, but we have to actively enter relationships and to be brave to risk something if we want to change and/or create something.
Sometimes we tend to just act, instead of listening at first. It is such a beauty that the world is so diverse. We should celebrate it and learn from each other instead of fighting against each other and telling each other that there is just one right way.
Since Coventry I have lived and worked for the German Lutheran Church in a Café in Jerusalem for pilgrims, where diversity was everywhere and I learned to listen even more to different voices without judging. That’s challenging in that area of the world because there are so many strong opinions. The role of friendship across barriers was key: listening, instead of taking action or judging, in normal heart to heart relationships – reconciliation of difference at a basic level (such as nationality) for both sides. I was reminded over and over that we need to meet each other as a first step to start the process of reconciliation, which is difficult, and full of up and downs, but so worth it.
Now I am living in Leipzig, Germany and going to work as a social worker to support refugees and migrants, something I found my passion for in Coventry. This is my way to impact the world and make it a better place through listening, acting and being an example of how to live in and as a community.
Be brave and prepared to fall in between. It´s worth it. And believe that you are not alone. God and Community are around you even if you can´t feel it from time to time.