Students learn about different faiths by visiting buildings with great religious significance.
Thornton’s Year 9s have spent a long time learning about Islam and the Five Pillars, which every Muslim should follow in order to please Allah. The purpose of our visit to the Nuneaton Mosque was to see the building rather than to revise the beliefs. Our guide, Imam Abbas, was most welcoming and keen to share his faith with us.
We first visited the Ablutions Room where Muslims perform the washing ritual (WUZZU) before prayer and then made our way upstairs to see the classrooms of the Madrasa. Every day between the hours of 5pm and 7:30pm, more than 200 young Muslims aged five to 18 come here to learn Arabic and the Qur'an. Many hope to earn the coveted title ‘Hafiz’, given only to those, who have learned the whole Qur’an by heart.
We found this dedication quite remarkable. Our visit also allowed us to see ‘The Dead Room’ where bodies are prepared by family members for burial. We noted a very different and much more relaxed attitude to death here.
After refreshments, we set off for Coventry Cathedral and arrived in good time for the Litany of Reconciliation at noon. This short prayer for peace in the world takes place every day. We ate lunch in the new Cathedral’s Undercroft and then visited the ruins of the original Cathedral, bombed in 1940 but still standing as a reminder of the destruction of war. We noted the way in which the new Cathedral was linked to the ruins as a sign of hope and the promise of something good coming out of an event of great sadness.
The new building was full of very powerful symbolism. Its furnishings, from every corner of the world, reminded us of the power of forgiveness and working together in the quest to build a better world. We were surrounded by themes of death, resurrection, peace and reconciliation and many of us found the art and architecture inspiring in its ability to communicate the Christian message of forgiveness and hope.
Of particular note was the very symbolic Chapel of Unity floor, where we participated in a mini experiment, dropping golf balls from circles in various parts of the room. Each circle represented a continent and we were amazed when all the golf balls rolled towards the centre and met in the dove of peace, a very powerful visual symbol of what lies at the heart of Coventry’s message.