We have just held our spring pilgrimage to Coventry – three days of sharing time and space, thoughts and prayers within this incredibly powerful place that we in the Reconciliation Ministry Team are privileged to call our place of work.
It’s always something very special to welcome visitors here, for any of us at the Cathedral – we see the buildings afresh ourselves, through the very clear impact that it has on people seeing it for the first, or for some, the umpteenth, time.
What has made this pilgrimage unusual was the breadth of different organisations that attended, from various parts of the globe, and what they brought to the group – from several practising clergy taking some time on sabbatical and including a visit to Coventry in their valuable time for personal and spiritual growth; from both clergy and lay people not on sabbatical but somehow shoehorning some time here with into their existing busy lives; a hospital chaplain with a pastoral and public workload of which many of us were in awe; a new peace and social justice organisation – every person attending, whether they felt familiar with this thing called reconciliation or no, bringing their own perspectives (and questions!) to the table.
There were some wonderful artworks that arose from our creative reconciliation session, ably led by our intern team (two pictured – thank you David and Philip, both from St Michael the Archangel, Southampton). And amongst everything else, we laughed. There were some stories of unimaginable toughness in the mix, too; there was a wide variety of personalities in the group; yet through much of it we laughed together. A memory of laughter, and a joy in being together, is what we in Coventry will take away from the past week.
And what we want to hang on to! It’s not always easy or possible to get together in one place, but it has such value where it can be done – we encourage it when people join us, and to continue to remain in touch with – and meet with, as far as possible – other partners in reconciliation once in the CCN, or to otherwise maintain regular contact. Community requires communing!
One way of doing this in the short term is this September: our autumn pilgrimage this year gives way to our international gathering here in Coventry – five days of being together with 70-80 other CCN individuals. There are spaces still available – do join us if you aren’t already – we’d love to have you with us!
In the meantime we wish our pilgrims God speed back to their regular lives and look forward to seeing them all again before long!
With our blessings,
Community of the Cross of Nails Project Officer