The Cross Around My Neck

Often times you see me, whether in a clergy shirt or in a shirt with a standard collar, wearing a cross. I have several. Many of them came from my mother as she collected them for me during her times of travel. One, a silver Celtic cross, was made by my father from raw silver, which he refined, rolled, cut and engraved. Another is made from nails and reminds me of the ministry of reconciliation that is the heart of the Community of the Cross of Nails centered in Coventry Cathedral (whose formal name is the Cathedral of St. Michael), Coventry, England. That symbol comes from a cross hastily fashioned from timber nails that were found in the rubble of the cathedral after it was destroyed by Nazi bombs on November 14, 1940. I wear them as my prayers, mood, or the occasion, warrant.

I have another cross, it is very simple. It hangs in a simple black cord. The cross is about thirty years old. It bears the scares of tooth marks, not from me or a child, but from a pet bunny rabbit we had while in seminary. It is made of a reddish wood, mahogany, actually. The mahogany is not from trees cut for timber or any other form of harvesting that would promote deforestation. It is from fallen limbs, gathered, dried and cut. This simple scared cross is fashioned from wood gathered around Cangé. Cangé is a small and remote village in the Central Plateau of Haiti. My diocese of origin, as they say (Upper South Carolina), and the parish of my childhood through seminary years (Christ Church, Greenville, SC), have long had a missionary relationship with Haiti and the village of Cangé. We have build built wells, water stations, clinics and schools. They have taught us about true joy, faith, hope, and love.

I will be wearing this simple wooden cross for the foreseeable future – at least to Easter, and likely longer. Will it help the people of Haiti? Probably not in material ways. But, it will help me to pray for them and for the efforts of many who are responding to the earthquake devastation. It will remind me that if I forego a lunch here or something else there, even that little bit of money can make a difference – especially when joined with the resources of others.

Please join with me and Help Haiti Now. Pray. I know we can all pray. Give. Give as you can through the Cathedral (mark all checks or donation envelops “Haiti relief”), or directly through Episcopal Relief and Development. Or through some other trustworthy organization. Thank you.

Faithfully yours,