Southwark Cathedral dedicates chapel to victims of terrorism and violent crime


Victims of violent crime and terrorism will be remembered in a newly dedicated Chapel of Reconciliation at Southwark Cathedral.
Bishop Christopher Chessun blessing the chapel in company of other clergy Eve Milner

The Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun, and Bishop of Croydon, Rosemarie Mallett, dedicated the cathedral's Chapel of St Francis and St Elizabeth to Reconciliation in a service last Sunday.

Five years on from the London Bridge Terror Attack, Southwark Cathedral has joined the Community of the Cross of Nails, in remembrance of all who have been victims of terrorism and violent crime.

Bishop Christopher said the Cathedral has also joined “as a pledge of our common commitment to work and pray for peace, justice and reconciliation.

“This we do through seeking to heal the wounds of violent crime, through learning to live with difference and to celebrate diversity, seeking to build a culture of peace.”

A large Cross of Nails, commissioned for the new Chapel of Reconciliation, stands on the altar. The Community of the Cross of Nails is an international Christian network working towards peace and reconciliation.

Cross of Nails made of large metal nails on a plinth on the altar Southwark Cathedral

The Clewer Initiative contributed to a stained-glass panel entitled We See You, which was commissioned for the chapel by The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and The John Reyntiens Studio. It sits below the altar, depicting a motif on freedom from modern slavery. School children aided in its design. The Initiative is the Church of England’s response to modern slavery.

Stained-glass panel depicting freedom from modern slavery Eve Milner

Caroline Virgo, director of The Clewer Initiative, said: "Modern slavery is a huge global problem, one that won’t be solved without people coming together.

"The conviction and energy young people bring are essential to tackling this challenge which is why we have created a range of school resources to teach young people about modern slavery.

"We were thrilled that Southwark Cathedral used our resources to inspire school children across the diocese to create this stunning stained-glass panel. The panel perfectly encapsulates our strapline ‘We See You’ and is a powerful tool for raising awareness of modern slavery amongst visitors to Southwark Cathedral.

"Our hope is that the school children will take the learnings with them beyond this project and continue to care for and see the vulnerable in their communities as they grow."

The dedication of the Chapel came after Choral Evensong at which Bishop Christopher paid tribute to the victims of the London Bridge attack, saying: “We do so with great sadness and heavy hearts, remembering those who perished, those who endured life-changing injuries, those who were traumatised along with their families, colleagues, and friends.

“But we do so with renewed sorrow because only last week two more young people from South London, Kearne Solanke and Charlie Bartolo, became themselves tragic victims of knife crime – and we pray for them and their families in their devastating loss and grief.”

Learn more about the stained-glass panel in this video with the Rev Canon Jay Colwill.