Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
November 14, 1940: The Luftwaffe bombs the City of Coventry in England. More than 500 German bombers had headed toward the city, dropping 500 tons of high explosives and nearly 900 incendiary devises. The relentless bombardment over more than 10 hours created a firestorm that destroyed most of the city centre, including Coventry Cathedral, and killed 568 people.
Christmas Day, December 25, 1940: From the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, the Very Rev. Richard Howard’s sermon is broadcast by the BBC:
We want to tell the world . . . that with Christ born again in our hearts today, we are trying, hard as it may be, to banish all thoughts of revenge . . . We are going to try to make a kinder, simpler, a more Christ-child-like sort of world in the days beyond this strife.
Ash Wednesday, February 13, 1945: The Royal Air Force begins to bomb the City of Dresden in Germany. They were soon followed by American bombers. During four air raids between February 13 and February 15, 722 Royal Air Force heavy bombers and 527 United States Army Air Forces heavy bombers dropped 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devises on the city, killing up to 25,000 people.
Committed to both forgiveness and reconciliation, Coventry Cathedral eventually reached out to Christians in Dresden and gave birth to the Community of the Cross of Nails. Come to the Rector’s Forum today, beginning at 10:15 a.m. in Room A102, to learn more about this international fellowship and its hopeful Christian witness.
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector