THE F WORD: Stories of Forgiveness

From Saturday 22 June until Sunday 30 June St. George’s is hosting this powerful photographic exhibition, which explores the idea of forgiveness in the face of atrocity  and tells the stories of victims and perpetrators.

“I believe with every fibre of my being that every human being has the right to live without the pain of the past.” Eva Kor, Auschwitz survivor

 THE F WORD: Stories 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 stories from 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 Eva Kor, a survivor of the medical experiments carried out by Dr Josef Mengele in Auschwitz; Pat Magee, the man behind the IRA Brighton bomb and Jo Berry, whose father was killed in the blast; and Linda Biehl, whose daughter was killed in South Africa and now works alongside her daughter’s killers.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 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 secular charitable organisation that works with people of all faiths, and those of none. The charity works at a 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 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 the 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, Katharine Hamnett, Terry Waite and Annie Lennox.

Exhibition opening times:
Saturday 22 June 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sunday 23 June before and after the 10:15am service til 12:30pm
Friday 28 June from 6:30 pm before the Mass for Peace & Reconciliation at 7.30 pm
Saturday 29 June 10:00am – 12 noon
Sundays 30 June before and after the 10:15 am service til 12:30pm

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