'One of the paradoxes of living in a large city is that many people are lonely in its crowds'

We spoke to Rev Lucy Winkett ahead of delivering the 2016 Urban Lecture at Liverpool Cathedral on Monday 6th June.

We asked Revd. Lucy about how she was feeling ahead of delivering the 2016 Liverpool Cathedral Urban Lecture.

“I feel honoured to do this: I have been ordained for 20 years and have spent all of that time in urban ministry in various contexts and capacities.  Before that, I trained for the ministry in Birmingham and so city ministry that is not only of theological interest and spiritual reflection but something that connects with me personally every day.”

We then asked what her impression of the Diocese of Liverpool is and how does it compare to ministry in London.

“I was privileged to come and lead the ordination retreat in Liverpool Diocese a couple of years ago and so I spent time getting to know the men and women who were offering themselves for ordained ministry, and listened to their own stories about their parishes.  I was struck by their enthusiasm, openness and willingness to try new things.  The London Diocese is linked with Liverpool Diocese through the training college St Mellitus and so I am really looking forward to visiting again and sharing experience about the significant challenges of ministering in large cities like Liverpool or London.”

The lecture is intriguingly titled ‘The Circus and the Desert: reflections on urban ministry for priests, clowns and hermits’ - without wanting to give too much away, we wondered what issues will be tackled?

“It’s one of the paradoxes of living in a large city that many people are lonely in its crowds. This can be true for clergy too: every day, the need with which we are surrounded seems to get greater and it is a real challenge to remain rooted in the gospel, to remain dependent on God and not to become physically, emotionally or spiritually exhausted.  This lecture will explore some of the ways that we might not only survive in an urban context but flourish, and help to build communities of faith that point to the peace and justice of God’s kingdom.”

So is the church doing enough to engage with urban communities?

“A large percentage of the Church of England’s church buildings are in rural areas and the majority of the population live in cities. I don’t think that the church is neglecting urban ministry – far from it – and initiatives like the link between London and Liverpool in terms of training clergy is one example of new partnerships. But a wider question that the church can contribute to, with elected mayors and city planning authorities, is what makes a “good city”? We are not always very articulate in trying to answer that question.”

Finally we asked having spent this past 20 years in urban ministry, what does Revd. Lucy feel are the joys and the challenges of urban ministry?

“They are often the same thing; the amazing variety of people and the variety of cultures, the overwhelming numbers of people and the fact that no day can be the same as any other.  But there are huge challenges in cities; the fact that the gap between rich and poor is so wide, and so visible,  the destitution evident in city centres, the sometimes quiet desperation of the suburbs and the 24 hour noise both mechanical and human.”

The Fourth Annual Cathedral Urban Lecture will be held on Monday 6th June at 7pm in the Lady Chapel at Liverpool Cathedral. All are welcome, free entry.

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Event Details

The Fourth Annual Cathedral Urban Lecture

Monday 6th June, 7pm

Liverpool Cathedral