2020 being what it has been, the 80th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz was pretty much all virtual, as we had come to expect it would be. It seemed perhaps a little muted in the run-up – but the technology played out proudly.
And so we had Dean John beamed in on the Sunday morning of the 15th November via video to the nave of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirchengemeinde in Berlin, which he had been due to visit (pictures, and see previous Thought), and greetings and prayers from Berlin were shared at Coventry. Coventry Cathedral shared a fantastic online service at 7pm on the Saturday 14th, with contributions from a number of people across the City and also from CCN lead partners around the globe, who read the Litany.
Equally symbolic however was a short half-hour leading up to the midday anniversary Litany on Saturday 14th, when, quietly and behind the scenes, 39 mainly UK and German CCN partners connected up via Zoom from their homes to mark the occasion which, amid all the destruction and horror, gave rise to the network that holds them together. Different partners shared updates and readings, and it seemed like a beginning, the start of ways in which not just individuals but different groups in the network can come together with not really much fanfare, but for common meaningful connection. It felt immensely powerful – even though, in the event, much came down to logistics and keeping to time!
Much good has arisen from 2020 in terms of our interconnectivity. Old ways have fallen by the wayside somewhat, and new ways via videolink have taken over. No, of course, it’s not the same, but it’s a joy to connect with partners around the world every first Friday of the month at midday Central European Time, to catch up a little, share news and pray the Litany together. A similar regular practice, we hope, will take shape on a different Friday each month, which can involve our partners west of Europe during their daytime hours. None of this was happening before. Thus out of the challenges of 2020 comes hope, and new ways of being together! What a positive take-away from the 80th anniversary.
Alice Farnhill, CCN Co-ordinator
With thanks to the Ev. Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirchengemeinde for these three photos taken last Sunday 15th November.