Diocese of Ontario Reconciliation Ministries

The Diocesan Reconciliation Ministries Team is considering ways to engage this important ministry more broadly across our diocese: how we can extend this ministry from the steps to the streets. A number of initiatives are being planned for 2019 including a 6-part study program, a one night event in the Spring and a major conference later this year or early 2020.

As a first step we want to involve more parishes and congregations in the work we are doing. The growing commitment of the diocese in this ministry has its roots in the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation. We believe the Litany is a meaningful starting point for those exploring reconciliation as part of our Christian witness and ministry.

Litany of Reconciliation

We are now entering the Season of Lent. As a part of your Lenten experience the Reconciliation Ministries Team is inviting you to pray the Litany in your parishes as part of your Lenten journey. The story and history of the Litany fits our Lenten practice as we focus on the reconciling love of Jesus in worship, prayer and study.

We invite you to use the Litany where it best fits your Lenten experience. For some it may be using it, as some parishes have been doing, on a weekly basis on a specific day and time. You may find ways to include it in your liturgies as part of the intercessions or prayers of confession. Whatever model you follow, we encourage you to use it regularly during the Lenten Season and share with us your experience of praying the Litany in your congregations.

Histoy of the Litany of Reconciliation

Following the destruction of Coventry Cathedral in 1940, Provost Dick Howard made a commitment not to seek revenge, but to strive for forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible. During the BBC radio broadcast from the Cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 he declared that when the war was over we should work with those who had been enemies ‘to build a kinder, more Christ-like world.’

The words “Father Forgive” were inscribed on the wall of the ruined chancel and two charred beams which had fallen in the shape of a cross were bound and placed on an altar of rubble. Three medieval nails were formed into a cross, and the Cross of Nails quickly became a potent sign of friendship and hope in the post war years, especially in new relationships with Germany and the developing links between Coventry and the cities of Kiel, Dresden and Berlin.

The Community of the Cross of Nails has its origins in this courageous vision, and today nearly 200 Partners form part of this Community as they work and pray for peace, justice and reconciliation within their own communities and countries. Their ministry may focus on politics, race, religion, economics, gender or sexual orientation; it may address war and violent conflict, post conflict restoration or healing; it can have broad and far-reaching, national or regional consequences, or it can make a significant difference to local communities and individual people’s lives. CCN Partners can be churches, reconciliation centres, prisons or peacebuilding NGOs: any body of people who have a heart and a need to pursue reconciliation in their own lives and the lives of others. Partners are encouraged to link up within countries and regions and to support each other – both practically and prayerfully.

The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation

The Litany was written in 1958 and focuses on the seven deadly sins. It reminds that when we pray about the problems of the world around us, we need to begin by acknowledging the roots of those problems in our own hearts. The Litany is prayed at noon each weekday in Coventry Cathedral. On Fridays, we pray the Litany in the ruins of the old Cathedral and are joined in prayer at that time by many of our partners around the world.

Litany of Reconciliation with Bishop Michael Oulton

In the following video, Bishop Michael speaks about the Litany and the importance of reconciliation ministry. It is a wonderful way to share the Litany with your people as you begin to use it in Lent [click on the YouTube link to make the video fullscreen].


Each Friday at 12 noon, Bishop Michael Oulton leads the Litany of Reconciliation on the steps of St. George’s Cathedral in downtown Kingston. The Litany of Reconciliation is used worldwide by the Community of the Cross of Nails to reaffirm the mission for peace and reconciliation in areas of conflict throughout the world. Over 170 CCN partners worldwide pray the Litany every Friday at noon.

For more information about the Diocese of Ontario Reconciliation Ministries contact:

Canon Michael Read
Canon of St. Michael the Archangel
Diocesan Reconciliation Ministries
frmike25@gmail.com

Diocesan Reconciliation Team
Bishop Michael Oulton
Michael Read – Canon of Reconciliation
Doug Greene
Aveleigh Kyle
Robin Jones
Ian Ritchie
Michael Trussell