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Building Peace out of the Rubble of War

The Coventry Cathedral in England was built at the site of a Benedictine monastery founded in the 11th century by Lady Godiva and her husband Leofric. Built in the 1300s and 1400s, the Cathedral stood until November 14, 1940, when the area was subjected to a bombing blitz by the German Luftwaffe. In the aftermath of World War II, then-Provost Richard Howard vowed to build cross-national and cross-ethnic bonds of understanding and peace because, he said, such destruction is "what humanity does to itself. We're all complicit." Today, the reconciliation ministry he inspired, called the Community of the Cross of Nails, includes some 160 centers in 30 countries that encourage dialogue, justice and peace. The remains of the Cathedral have been cleaned up and converted into a memorial, while a new Cathedral has been attached to it. The shell of the original cathedral has been integrated into a symbolic story of the journey of individuals and societies: "Your world, our world, feels like the ruins of the old cathedral, but actually that's not where God leaves the story. He actually takes us from that place into a new place," explains current Dean of the Cathedral John Witcombe in an audio news report prepared for Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, a source for cutting edge religion reporting. Also read our feature article, "Understanding People of Other Faiths: Tools to Help," for more on reaching across boundaries to foster understanding and dialog.

 

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