THE F WORD: images of forgiveness

forgiveness project

An exhibition of words and photographs

VENUE : St Columba’s Church of Scotland
ADDRESS: Pont Street, Knighstbridge, London, SW1X 0BD
DATES : Tuesday 31 March until Easter Sunday April 5

31 March – 2 April 10am-8pm,
3 April 10am-5pm, 4 April 10am-6pm, Easter Sunday 10am-2pm

“If you focus only on retribution, you extinguish the very spirit and memory of your child” Francis Climbie, father of Victoria.

A powerful photographic exhibition exploring the idea of forgiveness in the face of atrocity and telling the stories of victims as well as perpetrators, opens at St Columba’s Church, Pont Street SW1 on Tuesday 31 March.

THE F WORD: images of forgiveness is the brainchild of journalist Marina Cantacuzino and photographer Brian Moody who in January 2004, tired of a climate where revenge and retaliation dominated the headlines, resolved to present the public with an alternative view.

Travelling to places including the United States, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Romania, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, as well as the UK, they collected the stories of 26 people whose lives had been shattered by violence, tragedy and injustice – and who had chosen to take the challenging and often painful journey towards forgiveness.

The exhibition’s subjects include Berth and Francis Climbié, parents of seven year old Victoria Climbié who was abused and murdered by her aunt; Marian Partington, whose sister was murdered by Frederick and Rosemary West; Pat Magee, the man behind the IRA Brighton bomb and Jo Berry, whose father was killed in the blast; Linda Biehl, whose daughter was killed in South Africa and now works alongside her daughter’s killers; and Andrew Rice, whose brother David was killed in the World Trade Center bombing.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who himself features in the exhibition and is a patron of The Forgiveness Project, describes forgiveness as a journey out of victimhood.  “Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. It means taking what has happened seriously and not minimising it; drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens to poison our entire existence. In these forgiveness stories there is real healing.”

The late Dame Anita Roddick, who sponsored the exhibition, has described the exhibition as “truly an education in the human spirit”.  She once said: “Tit-for-Tat killings and pay-back politics are all we hear about these days. That’s why I think it’s so terribly important to give a platform to those who have gone the other way – people who have turned revenge on its head and tried to forgive.  An exhibition like this needs to be seen, and to be seen it needs support.”

The exhibition is produced by The Forgiveness Project, a non-partisan, non-religious charitable organisation working at local, national and international level to help build a  future free of conflict and violence by healing the wounds of the past.

By collecting and sharing people’s stories, and delivering outreach programmes, The Forgiveness Project encourages and empowers people to explore the nature of forgiveness and alternatives to revenge. Many of those whose voices are celebrated in The F Word and on this website, also share their stories in person. The Forgiveness Project works in prisons, schools, faith communities, and with any group who want to explore the nature of
forgiveness whether in the wider political context or within their own lives.

Its patrons include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actress Emma Thompson, BBC broadcaster Simon Fanshawe, Britain’s former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, as well as Jilly Forster of The Forster Company who was instrumental in setting up The Forgiveness Project. Amongst its supporters are Helen Mirren, Tony Benn, Katharine Hamnett, Terry Waite and Annie Lennox.

Contact at St Columba’s Church – Mrs Susan Pym

“The Kirk in the City”

On Thursday 14 May, at 6.30 pm, an evening service and reception will be held in St Margaret’s Church, Lothbury, EC2R 7HH.  This is a joint venture between ourselves and St Columba’s, Pont Street, to seek to reach out to Scots and Presbyterians in the area who may not be familiar with either of our congregations.

We are looking for help in publicising and promoting this event and identifying friends and contacts in the City who might assist in this, and in welcoming and stewarding on the evening.  If you are able to help in any way with this venture, please give your name to the church secretary.

Crown Court Mugs

Blue Crown Court mug

We now have a new supply of Crown Court mugs in a modern chunky style.  The mugs come in red, blue or green and cost £5 each.

Red and green Crown Court mugs

Friends’ Lunch

The Friends of Crown Court annual service and lunch is on Sunday 12 April.  If you would like to join the Friends for lunch (price £6), please contact Margaret Rees by Sunday 5 April.  Note that the normal Sunday lunches will not be available.

Annual Business Meeting

The Annual Business Meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday 29 March after the morning service, coffee and a quick lunch.  The minutes of last year’s meeting have been posted on the notice board, and the agenda and reports for the meeting will be available for members to collect on Sunday 22 March.  Committee Conveners and secretaries of church organisations please note that the deadline for the submission of reports to the church secretary is Sunday 15 March.