Interview with our new Archdeacon, The Venerable Mike McGurk

I immediately fell in love with the city, this is home now.

Did you enjoy the Collation and Induction Service on Sunday?

“It was great being at Liverpool Cathedral on Sunday in celebration of my collation to Archdeacon. The cathedral staff and choir were amazing, and my colleagues who prayed for me during the service made it a wonderful and unifying occasion. Now that the formal event has been done, I am keen to get on with what I’ve been called to do, as I said ‘now let’s get on with Monday morning!’

The two readings hold great significance for me in light of our mission of being a bigger church making a bigger difference. Isaiah 61:1–4 calling us to bring the good news to the poor and broken-hearted. To me, this is significant in what it means for us as individuals in that we are all broken people and as a community, we look to ‘Restore, Renew and Rebuild’ under the guidance of God. Romans 12:1 says “in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” reminds us of the daily sacrifice required for us to continue in our outreach and mission.

How are you settling in to life in the Diocese of Liverpool?

I genuinely love it! This is home now. I immediately fell in love with the city and the people who have been so welcoming, honest and humorous.  I do feel I should put a disclaimer in at this point that my love for the city does not extend to the football teams!* It is honestly the first time that my family and I have lived in a vicarage that has felt like it truly is our home. Nicola and I have settled in well and appreciate the support. I feel like I have hit the ground running in meetings and learning lots.
I’m not affiliated to any church so unless they invite me I have just been turning up at different churches across the city to experience how they work. This insight has been fascinating, I’ve learned how different churches do ‘Welcome’ and how important this is for newcomers. I appreciate how incredibly committed people are to their local church. Parish ministry is hard work and we have a number of parishes in vacancy, the wardens at these churches are doing a fantastic job and I’ve been really impressed by the quality of the preaching, practically by every person I have heard has delivered a Christo-centric, missional and empowering sermon.

I’m currently touring the deaneries in my archdeaconry and it is fantastic to meet the clergy and laity and hear about the history and various stories of each parish. I am passionate about supporting the families of those who are called to lead. If our families are content and flourishing, then we as clergy and leaders will be able to fulfill God’s mission.

What are your plans now and what will you be focusing on as Archdeacon?

In the short term, I will continue getting to know people. We have a clear vision and direction and together will look to see how to translate the ‘Bigger Church, Bigger Difference’ into the real life communities.

I am excited for the scope of ‘Bigger Church, Bigger Difference’ and want to stress that it isn’t always numerical. Growing spiritually as well as financially is important. I want to recognise the work that is currently going on – people trying very hard in tough circumstances, whilst still asking the question is there anything else we can do to ensure the work of the Gospel is carried out.
Finally, I ask people to be patient and pray for me in my role as archdeacon.  I am first of all called to serve God and will have to get used to not having that same level of engagement with a single community as I had as parish priest or Area Dean. I believe that together we can make a difference in His mercy and with the Holy Spirit upon us.

*Mike is remaining a loyal Manchester United fan!