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Bill Samuel, August 4, 2002
Bill Samuel

Quaker Tour of England, Page 8 of 22
Coventry Cathedral

[Coventry Cathedral-remains of old cathedral]
Ruined cathedral church of St. Michael
[Coventry Cathedral-inside of new cathedral]
Inside of new Coventry Cathedral
[Coventry Cathedral-cross in old cathedral]
charred timbers cross - "Father forgive"
[Coventry Cathedral-Reconciliation statue]
Reconciliation statue at Coventry Cathedral
photos by Bill Samuel, 20 June 1998

While not a Quaker site, Coventry Cathedral was the most moving place we visited. On the night of 14 November 1940, German bombers devastated the city, leaving the Cathedral a burned-out shell. The Cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, noticed that two charred medieval roof timbers had fallen in the shape of a cross. He set them up in the ruins, where they were later placed on an altar of rubble with the words "Father forgive" behind on the sanctuary wall.

The Cathedral provost, Dick Howard, had a vision which led to the cathedral's Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation, which works to strengthen friendship and increase understanding among nations. There is a service every Friday in the ruins, which uses the Litany of Reconciliation (below). In addition to the wooden cross, there is a Cross of Nails on the altar fashioned from three medieval nails. The Cross of Nails has become the symbol of the Ministry.

The morning after the Cathedral was destroyed, the decision was made to rebuild it. The glorious new Cathedral was consecrated on 25 May 1962, next to the ruined one.


All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
Father forgive.

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
Father forgive.

The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Father forgive.

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Father forgive.

Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
Father forgive.

The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
Father forgive.

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Father forgive.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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1. Tour front page
12. Cartmel
2. Bunhill Fields/Bunhill Meeting
13. Swarthmoor Hall and Meeting
3. Jordans Meeting/Barn/Farmhouse
14. Quaker Tapestry Exhibition at Kendal
4. Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
15. Lancaster Castle
5. Fenny Drayton
16. Brigflatts Meeting
6. Mancetter Parish Church
17. Firbank Fell
7. Hartshill Meeting
18. York
8. Coventry Cathedral
19. The Retreat Mental Hospital
9. Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale
20. Norwich
10. Crawshawbooth Meeting
21. Earlham Hall
11. Pendle Hill
22. Reflections After the Tour

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