The Community of the Cross of Nails
Tantur Ecumenical Institute is a member of the global network of the Community of the Cross of Nails.
Founded in the post-war era as a spiritual renewal alongside the physical renewal of the Anglican Cathedral of Coventry, which had been entirely destroyed during the Second World War, the Community of the Cross of Nails is now a worldwide network of Christian churches, institutions and ministries that share a common call towards reconciliation between peoples, communities and nations. Tantur's relationship with the Community of the Cross of Nails extends back many generations of leadership, staff and friends of both Tantur and the Reconciliation Ministry of Coventry Cathedral.
As a Community member, Tantur affirms its dedication to the principles of reconciliation, peace-making and healing between peoples; a difficult but necessary calling in the Holy Land. We frequently organize readings of the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation as part of our community prayer life, and frequently send Tantur representatives to Reconciliation Ministry retreats and gatherings in Coventry. Individuals on pilgrimage or visiting the Holy Land who are involved with the Reconciliation Ministry are encouraged to visit Tantur to learn about our own work in reconciliation in the Holy Land, as help us know our fellow members better.
On April 24th, 2018, Tantur was fully received into the Community of the Cross of Nails during a simple but moving service officiated by Rev'd. Canon Dr. Sarah Hills of the Reconciliation Ministry of Coventry Cathedral. Tantur Rector Rev. Russ McDougall, C.S.C. received the symbolic Cross of Nails on behalf of the Institute, and thanked the Reconciliation Ministry delegation for traveling from Coventry Cathedral to Jerusalem for the express purpose of the presentation of the cross.
For more information on the Community of the Cross of Nails, please visit coventrycathedral.org.
To organize a litany of the Community of the Cross of Nails at Tantur while in the Holy Land, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sent to Coventry – Twice
Dan Koski, a staff member of Tantur Ecumenical Institute, reflects on the journey towards membership in the Community of the Cross of Nails.
This past April, Tantur Ecumenical Institute of Jerusalem received its Cross of Nails from Coventry Cathedral’s Reconciliation Ministry. In a simple but moving service in the Holy Land’s only purpose-built ecumenical Christian chapel, Canon Rev. Dr. Sarah Hills of the Community of the Cross of Nails presented Tantur’s rector, Fr. Russ McDougall, C.S.C., with our cross as the symbol of our membership.
This moment has been a long time coming; so long, in fact, that the relationship predates the present involvement of virtually all clergy, staff and volunteers of both Tantur and the Reconciliation Ministry. While this lack of institutional memory can be a hindrance in some cases, it is also an indication of the guiding strength behind the vision of joining our respective missions through this ministry; a vision that is larger than any one individual or institutional era.
My involvement with this process began three years ago, when our present rector asked me to work on formalizing the process of Tantur becoming a full Community member following a pilgrimage
to Jerusalem led by the Very Rev. John Goodcombe, Dean of Coventry Cathedral. Since then, I have sent been “sent to Coventry,” (an older English expression which implies ostracism) in a manner of speaking, on two occasions; the Spring 2016 and Autumn 2017 pilgrimages. Both have been memorable encounters which were filled with moments of reflection, learning and fellowship with others working or volunteering within parish and diocesan ministries, as well as educational and civil society institutions. The pilgrimages also offered me a chance to step away from the relentless pressure of life in conflict-torn Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and find some peace in the quiet beauty in the gardens, ruins and places of worship in and around Coventry Cathedral.
My own pilgrimage tradition while at Coventry is to spend time in reflection in the Chapel of the Madonna of Stalingrad, as it is known, where a copy of the illustration of the Virgin Mary and Child
drawn by a military physician and chaplain attached to the Wehrmacht at the height of the horrors of the Siege of Stalingrad during the winter of 1942 is on display. There are few other images that capture the hope of light among darkness through the Nativity story as does the Stalingradmadonna, or convey the present circumstances of my adopted home city of Bethlehem, where I have lived and worked for almost a decade.
Upon returning from each visit, I have found that opportunities to share the story of the Cross of Nails within my work at the Institute are plentiful. Hundreds of program participants and visitors have shared in our reading of the Litany of Reconciliation, with the only problem usually being that I frequently have to run off more photocopies after every litany due to the number that are kept by our participants.
Contrary to that delightful English expression, “being sent to Coventry” on behalf of Tantur has been a privilege and a blessing. I am pleased to have played a small role in our reception into the Community of the Cross of Nails, and to see this relationship begin a new chapter.
Dan Koski is a permanent resident of Beit Jala, Palestine, and is Communications Director at Tantur Ecumenical institute. He can be reached at email@example.com. This article was originally published as a blog posting in the "Thought of the Week" section of the CCN website, and has been re-posted here with slight revisions.