Broadhembury school presented with Cross of Nails

PUBLISHED: 11:00 21 October 2018

Broadhembury Primary Headteacher Katie Gray with members of the Ethos Team Lily and William holding the Coventry cross of nails.Ref mhh 41 18TI 2230. Picture: Terry Ife

Broadhembury Primary Headteacher Katie Gray with members of the Ethos Team Lily and William holding the Coventry cross of nails.Ref mhh 41 18TI 2230. Picture: Terry Ife

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A village school near Honiton has been presented with its own Cross of Nails.

Broadhembury Primary Headteacher Katie Gray with members of the Ethos Team Lily and William holding the Coventry cross of nails.Ref mhh 41 18TI 2234. Picture: Terry IfeBroadhembury Primary Headteacher Katie Gray with members of the Ethos Team Lily and William holding the Coventry cross of nails.Ref mhh 41 18TI 2234. Picture: Terry Ife

Broadhembury Primary School has now been welcomed into the International Cross of Nails community after Emma Griffiths, associate director of Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, visited staff and pupils.

Coventry and its Cathedral faced a relentless bombing campaign on the night of November 14, 1940.

In the days that followed, two enduring symbols emerged from the rubble - two charred roof-beams which 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.

The latter became the original Cross of Nails, which is now located at the High Altar in the new Cathedral.

Broadhembury Primary Headteacher Katie Gray with members of the Ethos Team Lily and William holding the Coventry cross of nails.Ref mhh 41 18TI 2236. Picture: Terry IfeBroadhembury Primary Headteacher Katie Gray with members of the Ethos Team Lily and William holding the Coventry cross of nails.Ref mhh 41 18TI 2236. Picture: Terry Ife

Shortly afterwards, the words ‘Father Forgive’ were inscribed on the wall of the ruined chancel, and Provost Dick Howard made a commitment not to seek revenge, but to strive for forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.

The Cross of Nails quickly became a sign of friendship and hope in the post war years, especially in new relationships with Germany.

Many crosses were gifted, in thanks and in friendship, to contacts all over the world.

By 1974 such informal friendships were numerous, and they were all drawn into a brand new Community of the Cross of Nails, which has continued to grow globally to this day.

International Cross of Nails Schools is a network of schools that are part of the community.

All members adhere to the three guiding principles of the Community of the Cross of Nails: Healing the wounds of history, Learning to live with difference and celebrate diversity, and Building a culture of peace.

Katie Gray, executive headteacher at BRoadhembury, said: “When putting together our application it was lovely to think back over all the things we have done at school over a number of years which link to the three key Coventry values of peace, justice and reconciliation.

“Throughout the school year, as we talk about values, such as those linked to the Cross of Nails, we also focus on how love helps us to carry out these other values in our daily lives.”

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