Fifth Sunday of Easter
Two of the regular elements of Cathedral life that raise our prayer and praise and our lives towards God are the ceremonial and the choral aspects of the Cathedral liturgy. They are two crucial ways in which the splendour and dignity of Cathedral worship is sustained and enhanced. At present the main sanctuary is lifeless and the vast enclosure of the building is silent. I know that so many of the volunteers and members of the choirs, both adults and children, are really missing their regular involvement in the liturgical life of this place, as we all are.
I am aware that many of you are keeping in touch with one another as a support as well as guides, stewards and other groups. The music department is also busy behind the scenes continuing to provide lessons and choral training online to the choristers.
It is likely that the re-opening of the Cathedral will be in a phased process with churches open just for personal visits at first and then a gradual reintroduction of services. Major services on the High Altar and full choral services will only start to happen towards the end of this phased process, which may take some considerable time. When this happens it would be wonderful if we were able and prepared to hit the ground running and have everyone back to build on a renewed future life of regular Cathedral worship. So I encourage you all to keep in touch with one another and not to lose heart or your sense of commitment. We will need you all back and raring to go more than ever when it is safe for us to return to regular worship. There will also be many sacramental celebrations that have had to be postponed such as weddings and baptisms and first communions which will all need to be rescheduled along with some fitting ways for us to commemorate those who have lost their lives during this period, which should keep us all very busy whenever this comes about.
In the meantime as we are gradually allowed to open up we will need to have some very strict safeguarding measures and protocols in place to protect all who are attending church, our staff and our volunteers. I can reassure you that we are busy planning and taking advice on this at present.
For those of us who are able to take a walk each day we have been blessed with generally dry and often sunny weather to be able to appreciate being out in the fresh air. Despite adding in the occasional variations, after six weeks of pounding the same walking route I have come to know almost every detail along the route, most things that I would never had noticed in the ordinary run of things. I now know where there is wild garlic growing in the city centre, where certain birds are nesting, where every university department is located and the many people who walk and live along the same route. As the business and city centre traffic has fallen away it has been an opportunity to experience the Cathedral neighbourhood in a very different and often surprising new way.
On Friday we celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE day. Dean Sue Jones from Liverpool Cathedral and myself were due to attend an ecumenical service in Cologne that day to mark the occasion and pray for peace. Our long standing relationship with Cologne was established shortly after the end of the war, as both cities had been badly damaged and affected by heavy bombing raids by either side in the conflict. The service in Cologne went ahead online and I enclose their press release.
“Originally the ACK service was to be celebrated in the Minorite Church as a contribution of the churches to the commemoration of the end of the Second World War. Invited were guests from the twin city Liverpool, which had been badly hit by German bombers during the war. Due to Corona restrictions the delegation cannot come to Cologne. In a greeting message they wrote: “We will pray for you on May 8th. We are grateful for the wonderful connection between Liverpool and Cologne, which has been so active for so long both within the churches and in our city councils. May our relationship become even stronger in the years to come. Pax vobiscum – peace be with you.”
Canon Anthony O’Brien