Reclaiming What We Will Become: Community, Notre Dame and the Lessons of Fire

Cast your minds back to April 15, 2019. That was the day that images of a devastating fire consuming the iconic and ancient cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris filled our television screens and news feeds. Many felt we were witnessing the loss of something absolutely irreplaceable — that this represented the high-water mark of cultural devastation after years of loss and uncertainty and calculated civic division. And then less than a year later we were forced to reckon with just how much more we stood to lose.


As we start our new ministry together, it’s a great time to consider the paradox of reclaiming something that has not yet existed. How it might be possible to rebuild something new, something that has never been despite having always been in our historical memory. To ask whether who we were is who we want to be, and how devastation and loss offer profound opportunities to better understand ourselves, our values, and our visions for belonging in Beloved Community.