Earlier this month, Year 10 GCSE RS students were given the opportunity to visit Coventry Cathedral to deepen their knowledge of Christian beliefs and practises, as well as peace, conflict and social justice. Our main foci of the visit were the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, and the cathedral's place in the horrific Second World War bombing raids in Coventry in 1940.

After meeting our tour guides, the day began with a climb up the 181 stone steps of Coventry Cathedral’s spire to get a fantastic view of the city and both of the cathedrals from above. Next, we were given a fascinating tour of the remains of the old cathedral, where we learnt about the significance of the 'Cross of Nails.' On the night of the bombing raids three large nails from the ruins fell on top of each other, forming the shape of a cross. The cathedral portrays this as one of the many symbols of peace and reconciliation today.

We then moved on to the new cathedral that was built in 1962, admiring its stunning architecture, before attending the daily Litany of Reconciliation at 12 O’clock. We listened to a short description of the origin of the prayer, and then recited it saying 'Father Forgive' at the end of each sentence, the same as the words Provost Howard inscribed on the wall of the ruined cathedral in 1940 - where they can still be seen today.

Throughout the day we learnt many more facts about the building; for example how the Chapel of Unity is designed for anybody - regardless of their faith - so people can reflect on their own lives and think about peace and unity. In addition we got to see the Stalingrad Madonna, which is an image of Virgin Mary cradling Jesus as a baby with the words Light, Life and Love. This was drawn by a German Soldier on the battlefield in Russia during the Battle of Stalingrad. We then moved on to design our own drawings of what hope and peace meant to us.

This visit was extremely beneficial in helping us understand Christian teachings and practises. A huge thanks goes to the RS Team and especially Mr Deakin and Mr Graham for making this trip possible.