“ Father forgive”

— Luke 23:24

Peace, justice and reconciliation…

… these are the goals at the centre of every Cross of Nails partner. Cross of Nails is an initiative that was formed after the Second World War when Coventry Cathedral, Britain was destroyed by German bombers. On the floor two charred beams had fallen to form a cross and the words “Father forgive” were written on the walls of the cathedral. Provost Dick Howard charged all to work together with their enemies to build a kinder, more Christ-like world. The leaders of Coventry Cathedral soon formed partnerships with churches in the cities of Kiel, Dresden and Berlin.


Forging global connections

In line with the global Cross of Nails call to meet together and partner with other countries and regions (both practically and prayerfully) Good Shepherd- Protea Cross of Nails has welcomed visiting partners from Germany and Coventry. Locally we work across cultures with talks called “Healing the wounds of History” that address the issue of race relations and apartheid in South Africa.

The power of prayer

The Good Shepherd – Protea partner of Cross of Nails has prayer at the centre of its work. Whether praying on the eve of an election, doing prayer walks or prayer chains – our ‘Companions to the Community’ have felt the power of prayer and gather together the first Friday of every month in the Lady Chapel in St Saviour’s Church, Claremont, from 12 noon for half an hour, to pray.

Give peace a chance

Cross of Nails also sets out to build bridges and bring justice in issues like politics, race, religion, poverty, women’s issues or sexual orientation. Conflict resolution and healing after conflict is also a focus of these groups. Our partner has attended seminars on issues of justice and equality and has raised funds for a youth conference.

Our History with Cross of Nails

The Good Shepherd-Protea Cross of Nails Centre officially joined the international Cross of Nails in the year 2000. This came about after a visit to the international Cross of Nails conference in Germany to tell the unique story of reconciliation at Good Shepherd-Protea.

It was in the early nineties that Rev John Goliath, Rector of St Saviour’s, initiated discussions to encourage reconciliation between the people of South Africa, who had been divided by Apartheid.

Cross of Nails prayer group forms

Church member, Jenny Wilson then contacted Coventry Cathedral to discuss connecting with their Community of Cross of Nails and their message of forgiveness, healing and peace. Workshops were held and a prayer group was started in 1991 after a visit from Canon Paul Oestreicher from Coventry Cathedral. So, the Cross of Nails prayer group was started and it has met regularly since 1991 on the first Friday of the month in the Lady Chapel at St Saviour’s.

What does reconciliation look like for the community of Good Shepherd-Protea?

The Protea community was deeply affected when they were brutally evicted from their beloved Protea Village adjoining the chapelry. Over the years, a relationship of mutual understanding developed between the original coloured congregation and the newer white members who had now moved into the area. As brothers and sisters in Christ, bonds formed and healing began. Since 1994, members of Good Shepherd-Protea have pursued a lands claim which has lead to further reconciliation.

This story of the “new” South Africa was told by five Good Shepherd-Protea parishioners who visited the first international Cross of Nails conference in Coventry in August, 2000. As a result, the parish was invited to become a member of the Community of the Cross of Nails. The offer of membership was graciously accepted by the then-rector, Bishop Garth Counsell, and the church council.

Cross of Nails Litany of Reconciliation

Litany of Reconciliation in English


The Litany of Reconciliation

Following the bombing of the mediaeval Cathedral in 1940, Provost Howard had the words ‘Father, forgive’ (Luke 23:34) inscribed on the wall behind the Altar of the ruined building. These words are used as the response in the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation, which is prayed in the ruins every Friday at noon, and is used throughout the world by the Community of the Cross of Nails.

 All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,

Father, forgive.

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,

Father, forgive.

The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,

Father, forgive.

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,

Father, forgive.

Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,

Father, forgive.

The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,

Father, forgive.

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,

Father, forgive.

Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Litany of Reconciliation in Afrikaans


Die Smeekbede om Versoening

Nadat die middeleeuse Coventry-katedraal in 1940 in lugaanvalle verwoes is, het Opsiener Howard op die muur agter die altaar van die verwoeste gebou die woorde ‘Vader, vergewe” (Lukas 23:34) laat aanbring. Hierdie woorde word gebruik as respons in Coventry se Litanie van Versoening wat elke Vrydag om twaalf-uur in die bouval van die katedraal gebid word en ook dwarsoor die wêreld deur die Gemeenskap van die Kruis van Spykers gebruik word.

Almal het gesondig en is ver van God af.
Die haat wat volk van volk, ras van ras en klas van klas skei,
Vader, vergewe.
Die inhalige begeertes van volke en nasies om te besit wat nie aan hulle behoort nie,
Vader, vergewe.
Die hebsug wat die hande-arbeid van mense uitbuit en die aarde verwoes,
Vader, vergewe.
Ons afguns ten opsigte van die welvaart en geluk van andere,
Vader, vergewe.
Ons afsydigheid ten opsigte van die lot van gevangenes, haweloses en vlugtelinge,
Vader, vergewe.
Die wellus wat die liggame van mans, vrouens en kinders onteer,
Vader, vergewe.
Die hoogmoed wat ons op onsself laat vertrou in plaas van op God,
Vader, vergewe.
Wees goedgesind en hartlik teenoor mekaar, en vergewe mekaar soos God julle ook in Christus vergewe het.

Litany of Reconciliation in Xhosa


IsiKhungo soXolelaniso

Ngowe-1940, emva kokudilizwa emfazweni kweKhathedrale yaseKhaventri eyayakhiwe kudala‑dala kumaxesha aphakathi, uMphathi-khathedrale uHoward ubhale amazwi athi ‘Bawo, xolela’ eludongeni olungasemva kwesibingelelo selo nxuwa lekhathedrale. La mazwi ke asetyenziswa eyimpendulo kwiLitani yoXolelaniso yaseKhaventri ethandazwa emini emaqanda wonke uLwesihlanu kwelo nxuwa lekhathedrale, sikhungo eso esisetyenziswa nakwihlabathi-jikelele liBandla loMnqamlezo weziKhonkwane.
Bonke bonile; bayalabalaba kubuqaqawuli ababulungiselelwe nguThixo.
Intiyo eyahlula isizwe kwesinye isizwe, uhlanga kolunye uhlanga, iqela kwelinye iqela,
Bawo, xolela.
Iminqweno engendawo yabantu nezizwe befuna ukufumana izinto ezingezozabo.
Bawo, xolela.
Ukubawa okuxhaphaza umsebenzi wezandla zabantu kuwushiye umhlaba udlakadlaka,
Bawo, xolela.
Umona xa sibona intlalo-ntle nolonwabo lwabanye,
Bawo, xolela.
Ukubafulethela kwethu amabanjwa nabangenamakhaya neembacu,
Bawo, xolela.
Inkanuko eyonakalisa imizimba yamadoda nabafazi nabantwana,
Bawo, xolela.
Ikratshi elisenza sizithembe ngokwethu endaweni yokuthermba uThixo,
Bawo, xolela.
Yenzelanani ububele, nixolelane, kwanjengokuba naye uThixo wanixolelayo ngoKrestu.

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