In the chapel of Mary Sumner House in London — international headquarters of Mothers’ Union — the 143-year-old Anglican mission agency became a partner of the Community of the Cross of Nails on Nov. 12.

The Rev. Canon Sarah Hills, who oversees Coventry’s reconciliation ministry, presented a replica Cross of Nails to Lynne Tembey, president of Mothers’ Union Worldwide.

“It is a great honor to receive the Cross of Nails and to be partners in a worldwide network of peace-builders,” Tembey said. “Being a part of the Community of the Cross of Nails affirms who we are at our core: a movement of men and women contributing to peace and reconciliation at all levels, from the fellowship of friendship over a cup of tea to conflict zones, Mothers’ Union members embody the spirit of what the Cross of Nails is all about.”

Membership in the community is given to churches, peace-building centers, and educational and training organizations in recognition of their reconciliation work. The community, which has more than 200 members, is inspired by Coventry’s story of destruction, rebuilding, and renewal.

Coventry Cathedral was destroyed in a German bombing raid on Nov. 14, 1940, in an attack that lasted more than 10 hours and left more than two-thirds of the city’s buildings destroyed or damaged. In the days that followed, two enduring symbols emerged from the rubble: two charred roof-beams that had fallen in the shape of a cross were bound and placed at the site of the ruined altar, and three medieval roof nails were also formed into a cross, which became the original Cross of Nails.

The Mothers’ Union is active around the world and is particularly engaged in peace and reconciliation work in South Sudan and Uganda.

“Your members are on the front line of peace-making,” Canon Hills said during the service. “The work you do is about peace. It is your work and we thank you.”

Adapted from ACNS

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