From Canon Anthony Charlton’s blog, exploring ways to welcome pilgrims to the shrine of Saints Thomas Becket and Oscar Romero in Canterbury.
It was a delight for me one afternoon recently to have eleven groups of students from the School of Architecture of the University of the Creative arts present to us their projects. They were asked to create in our Martyrs Chapel a space that should contain the relics of St Thomas More and St Oscar Romero. As one submission said the “space is without focus, having collected so many relics and icons over the years there is no order to how they are placed, creating a dissonant space which lacks a clear focal point for prayer and worship.”
I was very moved to see how each group presented their designs. There was much inspiration and it was great to see the different ways they found to create a space for prayer and reflection for pilgrims and those who wished to come and pray. Many of the submissions recognised there was a need for more light. One darkened the chapel and explored the relationship between the dark and the light of the relics. Another submission was bold in creating an outside entrance with an antechamber.
The challenge now is for parishioners to meet and decide the next step in creating a beautiful space for the relics of these two great Martyrs.
We look forward to that meeting and to developing the shrine as an accessible, welcoming space in the heart of Canterbury. Thank you, Canon Anthony! And let’s not sacrifice this window in the present shrine.