On Friday 22nd April 2016, Canon Sarah Hills, Coventry Cathedral’s Canon for Reconciliation Ministry, led a Thanksgiving Eucharist to celebrate all that God has enabled CHIPS to achieve in its 50 years of peacemaking.
As members of the Community of the Cross of Nails, Coventry was a natural choice for our second regional 50th anniversary thanksgiving and it was wonderful to receive such a warm welcome. First of all, we joined the weekly Litany of Reconciliation held in the Ruins of the medieval cathedral, before the special Eucharist in the Chapel of Unity. The service blended the CHIPS Peace Eucharist and Coventry’s Reconciliation Eucharist to create a deep and distinctive liturgy appreciated by both the congregation and members of the Chapel of Unity who attended.
Our CHIPS Coventry Support Group contributed greatly to our preparations and the group’s leader, Rev Elizabeth Kerr, read the Gospel. Longstanding CHIPS member and leader of our Guildford group, Mike Rigby, read the Epistle and Paul Treacher, from our Bix group, led the prayers.
CHIPS trustee, Elfrida Calvocoressi, gave a Word of Thanksgiving, noting the countries where CHIPS has worked in its 50 years, and a public welcome to Katherine, wife to Paul Maxwell-Rose, Director of CHIPS. Paul gave the address, sharing news of CHIPS’ latest projects in Brixton and Ghana, and our plans and prayers for the future.
At lunch in neighbouring St Michael’s House we delighted in the company of over 40 guests from near and far. Some were old friends from the early days of CHIPS; there were familiar faces from CHIPS Training Seminars in the 1990s, when Canon Andrew White had been the one to host us; one from “31 Green Street days” (the London home of CHIPS for its first 30 years); and several others whom we welcomed into our midst for the first time.
As lunch drew to a close, Canon Sarah Hills and Sue Howard, Editor at Grove Spirituality Group, took to the floor for the official launch of ‘A Spirituality of Peacemaking’ by Elfrida Calvocoressi - which introduces the central elements of peacemaking as exemplified by Jesus in the New Testament (www.chipspeace.org). They both warmly endorsed the book’s value as a primer for a practical but biblically rigorous, approach to peacemaking.
The day was joyously uplifting – strengthening friendships with those long connected to CHIPS and reconnecting with others who wanted to be with us again and be introduced to those contributing to CHIPS now. Looking back together to appreciate all that God has done through so many dedicated and faithful followers, we give thanks for the commitment to our small, but effective, charity.
In our 50th year, it was thrilling that the new generation of CHIPS - staff from our London office and team members from our project in Brixton, and younger supporters - were all present as an integral part of our celebrations – and we look forward – with great anticipation – to witnessing the energy and passion which will take CHIPS’ achievements into the future!
Our London 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving service takes place at St Paul’s Church, Hammersmith on Saturday 17th September, at 11am, followed by light lunch. This promises to be the largest of our special 50th services and we look forward to announcing our much honoured Celebrant and noted Preacher. Spread the word that everyone is welcome! invite a friend! put the date in your diary and register your interest here. We very much hope to see you there!