“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
(2 Corinthians 5:18)
The words of forgiveness and reconciliation spoken by Provost Howard, on the morning after Coventry and its Cathedral was bombed in 1940, became the foundation stone for Coventry Cathedral’s reconciliation ministry. Since 2009 Coventry Cathedral has promoted and operated the ICONS schools programme to bring this ministry of peace and reconciliation into schools benefitting more children and young people than ever before.
International Cross of Nails Schools (ICONS) is an increasing network of schools around the world that have recognised the opportunity for introducing the principles of reconciliation into their school community. Our Schools’ Team work with the school to embed reconciliation into their ethos, policies, partnerships and strategy and work across the entire organisation from the youngest pupils to the board of Governors. This is evidenced in the transformation of everyday rhythms of school life in the classroom, staffroom and playground.
The programme currently consists of 38 schools. This is 10,000 children around the world from Coventry to Germany, Northern Ireland, South Africa, the USA and Israel/Palestine. A further 8 schools are currently working towards ICON status. Schools that can provide the evidence that reconciliation has become embedded at the heart of their school are presented with a Cross of Nails and become part of the wider Community of the Cross of Nails (CCN). To find out more about the CCN click here.
Our vision for ICONS
We want to inspire children and young people with hope by creating a safe place for them to explore powerful emotions and practice the skills of reconciliation and we want them to be encouraged by the positive example of their teachers and school community. By doing this, as adults, they might play an active part in changing the world by overcoming prejudice of all kinds, and managing differences without destructive conflict.
Examples of young people taking on this active role include:
- a group of British secondary school children going to the ‘Holy Land’ to work together with their fellow ICON schools in Israel and Palestine on a joint project
- working with local community to groups to build bridges between school and neighbourhood
- and learning how to have restorative conversations in the classroom and playground.
How you can help
The ICONS programme requires an increasing financial commitment as it has become more popular with schools wishing to become part of the network. Meanwhile, the seed-funding used to create ICONS ended in December 2011. The cost of meeting the demand for the programme for one year is £21,000.
This year, the Cathedral also wishes to help new schools wishing to join the programme to be able to do so. In 2019 we need an extra £6,000 to support them as they go through the process of consultation, training, celebration and on-going guidance and support.
We would be delighted if you would join us in sharing the transforming message of reconciliation with children and their schools around the world, by making a one off or regular donation to the ICONS programme.