Coventry International Youth Gathering

The Community of the Cross of Nails (CCN) Youth Gathering in late July/early August brought together an incredibly diverse group — 20+ languages spoken from pilgrims from South Africa, Germany, Austria, Poland, Mauritius, India, England, Scotland, and myself from the USA.

Throughout the week we learned that we are all called to be reconcilers in Christ and we all respond to this call of reconciliation in different ways; as we each hear it differently based on our life experience and personal contexts, we all respond differently. In a world of war and at a time when it can easily feel there is no hope, this opportunity to learn from others around the world showed me there is hope — hope that we can all be ambassadors for reconciliation and share what we learned with people in our own contexts.

We were on a pilgrimage together and asked tough questions such as: Can we forgive when there is no repentance? Who has the power — the perpetrator or the victim? Is it possible to have peace without repentance? I was moved by everyone’s willingness to share, their respect for each other’s experiences and emotions, their desire to actively listen, and for the many moments of joy and laughter we shared despite these difficult conversations.

We were shown how reconciliation is like a dance around a table, though our perspectives and contexts change, we are all still united by what stands in the center. As Pope Francis once said, “Unity is when we all agree to walk the way together”, and even when it is hard, that we stand together.

There was no better place to be than the Coventry ruins and new Cathedral. Every day at 12pm noon, we would gather in the new cathedral. One of my favorite moments was standing in the ruins to pray the Litany of Reconciliation one last time together with my new friends from around the world. An incredible way to gather and remind ourselves why we are here — to respond to the call of reconciliation.

I believe I can speak for the group in saying we learned more than we ever thought possible in our short six days together. I am very thankful to my new friends around the world, to Coventry Cathedral and the Reconciliation Team, and to the CCN for teaching me the guiding principles for reconciliation: working to heal the wounds of history, learning to live with difference and embracing diversity, and building a culture of peace.

Tim Wagner, currently an intern in Coventry, put together beautiful video diaries of the most important highlights from this conference. I quickly realized that we did so much in one day it was hard to take it all in. Thanks to Tim, we can look back on the week through this incredible video footage. I encourage you to click on these links to learn more about the CCN, Coventry’s Cathedral and ruins, and this international youth gathering. Enjoy the videos and pictures!

CCN IYG 2018 Day 1 highlights

CCN IYG 2018 Day 2 highlights

CCN IYG 2018 Day 3 highlights

CCN IYG 2018 Day 4 highlights

CCN IYG 2018 Day 5 highlights

CCN IYG 2018 Day 6 highlights

CCN IYG 2018

Thank you for reading! More updates on my departure to Puerto Rico on September 10th coming soon!

Group picture outside of St. Michael’s House, with new cathedral and ruins in the background.
Group picture outside of St. Michael’s House, with Coventry’s New Cathedral and Unity Chapel in the background.
During our Cathedral by Candlelight Service, I took this picture of the stunning Sutherland Tapestry (the size of a tennis court), and the seven-meter long concrete altar that proves to be the visual and emotional centre of the church, and within the irregularly designed altar cross, as though safety enfolded in the palm of a hand, is set the original Cross of Nails, made from nails found in the rubble of the old church roof.
The ‘West’ Screen designed by glass engraver John Hutton: the towns of static saints alternate with angels in full flight, their limbs, wings and trumpets breaking the grid and setting up strong horizontal and diagonal rhythms that give the screen a powerful sense of unity and coherence.
One of my favorite moments of the conference when we gathered around to light the Global Candlestand from Kiel.
More information on the Candlestand from Kiel
CNN International Board Younger Generations!
CCN bonding on our last day together – all sitting on one couch: America, Africa, Europe and Asia (Left to Right)
Our visit to a Sikh Gurdwara (Temple) in Coventry – I am so thankful for their hospitality and generousity, sharing their faith, culture, music, food, traditions. This was one of my highlights of the week!
Selfie with some of my new friends from around the world. Feeling incredibly blessed.
The ‘Reconciliation’ Statue in the Coventry ruins – one of my favorite.

The stone altar in the ruins where from the simple act of writing the words ‘Father Forgive’ on the charred walls of the ruins, a ministry spanning eight decades continues to strive to build a ‘kinder, simpler, a more Christ-Child-like sort of world’.

The Litany of Reconciliation:

4 thoughts on “Coventry International Youth Gathering

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us, Lydia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amy for reading and your continuous support and prayers! Peace and prayers to you and Joe!

      Like

  2. Hi Lydia, What an article you have shown me. I feel so, I do not know, I have never heard of this but I think it is absolutely awesome. All the pictures are very moving. I say this because all of your new friends faces are telling me so. Keep up the good work. I go to Tanzania September 5th.

    Godspeed Peter

    On Sun, Aug 19, 2018 at 11:21 AM, Send Me Into The World in Peace wrote:

    > Lydia Pendleton posted: “The Community of the Cross of Nails (CCN) Youth > Gathering in late July/early August brought together an incredibly diverse > group — 20+ languages spoken from pilgrims from South Africa, Germany, > Austria, Poland, Mauritius, India, England, Scotland, and my” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Peter it’s so great to hear from you! Looking forward to hearing about the good work you will be doing in Tanzania. So excited for you as you begin this incredible journey!
      Peace and prayers,
      Lydia

      Like

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