"Father Forgive": These two words which I discovered at the ruins of Coventry Cathedral in 1973 changed the course of my life.

Photo: Anne Mofid

This is the story, “My Coventry Story”

Prof. Kamran Mofid

ST MICHAEL'S HOUSE, Coventry Cathedral,

11 PRIORY ROW      CV1 5EX

7.00pm Wednesday 26 July 2017

My Story is My Witness: A Story of Hope,  Suffering and Hope again

(With special thanks and gratitude to Revd Canon Dr. Sarah Hills, Coventry Cathedral’s Canon for Reconciliation Ministry, for her kind invitation. I also thank the Reconciliation Ministry Team at St. Michael’s House for their support.)

Prof. Mofid and Canon Hills, St. Michael's House, Coventry Cathedral, 26 July 2017

Photo: Anne Mofid

'...In short, looking back, I believe one experience of that day, has had a major impact on me. That was when Annie (my future wife) and I were at the ruins of the old cathedral. I saw the ruined altar, with a charred cross, a replica of the original, it's burnt blackness in startling contrast to the clean polished wood of most church crosses I had seen in Oxford or London. Then on the wall behind the altar, I noticed two words that had been carved into the red sandstone, their letters a foot high: FATHER, FORGIVE.

I asked Annie: “Who is the Father?” and “Forgive who?” She tried to the best of her ability to answer me. But, I am sure she knew that I was not getting it:

Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, All in one! Forgiving the Germans, who had just destroyed the cathedral and the city! Wow! What next?!

Now, who would have guessed, who could have believed, one day, that young man inspired and fuelled by what he had seen in an early morning visit to Coventry Cathedral in 1973, would end up co-founding the Centre for the Study of Forgiveness and Reconciliation at Coventry University in 1996.

The Healing Power of Storytelling

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.”Isak Dinesen

Storytelling has the capacity to touch our deepest emotions and it can allow us to peer at beauty.  We glance at our own creativity and breathe our own thoughts.  But more than that: Storytelling is also a wonderful path to set ourselves free, by opening our hearts to others and letting them in; becoming one with one another.

Because, after all, as many have reminded us, the best way to know truth, wisdom or beauty is to try to express it and share it with others.”

Storytelling - opening our hearts to others - is instrumental in enhancing inclusion, social justice, cultural life, and improving physical and emotional health at the individual, local, national and international levels.

Moreover, storytelling nurtures both the young people and the older generation by providing a spiritual path to a meaningful and rewarding intergenerational dialogue, benefiting each group equally.

Storytelling also builds community. Storytelling, as has been noted, is a means of bridging gaps of cultural difference. Hearing another person’s story promotes empathy and recognition of a common humanity that is a basis for respecting human rights. Knowing and celebrating one’s own cultural stories builds self-esteem. Knowing and celebrating others’ cultural stories creates cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

“We Are Here for the Sake of One Another”

The world needs hope; every person, everywhere, needs hope. HOPE gives us life. HOPE connects us. HOPE fuels us. HOPE moves us. HOPE keeps us. HOPE grounds us. HOPE protects us. HOPE anchors us.

Please now read “My Coventry Story”:

But, before telling you my story, let me recite you a beautiful poem, from a master teacher, the wise philosopher of love, the genius of Persia, Molana Jalaledin Rumi:

The Story of My Life-Rumi

i was ready to tell
the story of my life
but the ripple of tears
and the agony of my heart
wouldn’t let me

i began to stutter
saying a word here and there
and all along i felt
as tender as a crystal
ready to be shattered

in this stormy sea
we call life
all the big ships
come apart
board by board

how can i survive
riding a lonely
little boat
with no oars
and no arms

my boat did finally break
by the waves
and i broke free
as i tied myself
to a single board

though the panic is gone
i am now offended
why should i be so helpless
rising with one wave
and falling with the next

i don’t know
if i am
while i exist
but i know for sure
when i am
i am not
when i am not
then i am

now how can i be
a skeptic
about the
resurrection and
coming to life again

since in this world
i have many times
like my own imagination
died and
been born again

that is why
after a long agonizing life
as a hunter
i finally let go and got
hunted down and became free

And Now, My Story, My Coventry Story

Coventry and I: The story of a boy from Iran who became a man in Coventry

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