Rebuilding of bombed-out church hailed a sign of hope and transformation

By staff writers
May 31, 2009

A church which rose from the ashes of a bombed out city symbolises the hope and belief that humanity can transcend horror and violence and that God can heal lives, the Anglican Archbishop of Wales has told a special civic service.

The religious and civic ceremony celebrated the 50th anniversary of the rededication of St Mary’s Church in Swansea city centre.

In his sermon, Dr Barry Morgan said that the decision to re-build the church after its catastrophic bombing during the Second World War had been an important symbolic and practical act which embodied corporate and spiritual reconstruction and regeneration.

“It spoke of all those things for which the church stands – belief in a loving God and compassion for humanity, values which the Nazi regime in Germany had tried to obliterate," he declared.

Dr Morgan continued: "Not to have re-built this church, that occupied so prominent a site in Swansea, would have been an act of defeat and resignation. Like the re-building of Coventry Cathedral, it declared that war, hatred and destruction do not have the last word.”

Built in the city centre, St Mary’s ought to be a constant reminder to the city of how God’s generosity and faithfulness challenges our responses, he suggested. Without high railings or walls it is open to all, not just a few.

He added: “The whole of life is consecrated. God is in our midst and is involved in every aspect of our lives...not only must its doors be open but also its mind, its heart, seeking to work with all who care about the meaning of living life together in community."

He cited the need to work together on issues of health, education, family, environment, unemployment, human rights and sexuality.

"The life and work of God’s everyday world are brought here to be prayed for and wrestled with and people go from here to be strengthened to work in that world,” Archbishop Morgan said.

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