(CEN) Brian Cooper–The remarkable story of Coventry’s ministry of reconciliation

Four days before Coventry Cathedral was destroyed in Germany’s 1940 bombing of the city, its Provost, Dick Howard, prophetically prayed at its Remembrance service that after the war, British and Germans would be “united in the bonds of Christian love and work together as friends.” Six weeks later, his broadcast from its ruins urged “a more Christ-Child sort of world” post-war.

His sublime vision of the Cathedral as beacon of reconciliation for a broken world, simply yet profoundly expressed in ”˜Father, forgive’ on its memorial altar, remarkably became core mission of the new cathedral consecrated in 1962, its dramatic architecture symbolic of Crucifixion and Resurrection, destruction and peace. Landmark tourist attraction and show-piece of mid-20th century religious art, Coventry Cathedral became Britain’s most celebrated centre of post-war Christian renewal through experimental engagement with secular worlds ”“ industry, education, community relations, the arts ”“ and courageous dedication to British-German reconciliation and subsequent global reconciliation ministry.

As someone much involved in 1960s-early 1970s with the cathedral’s student and global ministries, and the city’s trans-European ”˜twinning’ links ”” for Dresden very complementary ”” I welcome two publications on the achievement and challenge of Coventry’s reconciliation mission.

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