This year saw the dedication of a memorial sculpture in memory of the former Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock.
The sculpture, paid for by public subscription, was commissioned by the ‘Liverpool Echo’ newspaper following a campaign in memory of the two Church Leaders.
The Service started in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King and then the congregation walked along Hope Street to the Anglican Cathedral. Church Leaders from across the region took partincluding: Archbishop Patrick Kelly (Roman Catholic), Bishop James Jones (Anglican), Rev Phil Jump (Baptist), Rev James Booth (Methodist) and Major Marian Drew (Salvation Army).
Officialy unveiling the statue, Councillor Paul Clark, Lord Mayor of Liverpool and Sara Wilde of the Liverpool Echo spoke about the memorial. Following this Archbishop Patrick, Bishop James and Rev Phil Jump led a Memorial Liturgy acknowledging the work of Archbishop Derek and Bishop David recognising their place not only in the history of Liverpool’s Churches but also in the history of the City itself.
The tradition of a public display of Christian Unity began following the visit of Pope John Paul II to Liverpool on the Feast of Pentecost in 1982 when he visited, firstly the Anglican Cathedral, before travelling along Hope Street to the Metropolitan Cathedral. In 1985 Merseyside’s Church Leaders committed themselves to working together by signing a Covenant of Unity, an act which was again part of the Hope Street Walk. Since that time the Two Cathedrals’ Service has taken place approximately every two years.
The friendship and spirit of unity shared by today’s Church Leaders in Liverpool has its roots in the work done by Roman Catholic Archbishop George Andrew Beck and Anglican Bishop Stuart Blanch in the 1960s. Their personal friendship was built upon by Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock, together with the leaders of the Free Churches.
The Ecumenical Journey was celebrated in the Metropolitan Cathedral when the signing of the 1985 covenant was recalled and the Covenant Prayer presented by Rev Canon Michael Wolfe who was Ecumenical Officer at the time. There will be a presentation of Symbols of Partnership and an Act of Sorrow. Each member of the congregation was invited to write the name of their Church or Community Group on the image of a dove, these images were exchanged during the walk. The congregation finished at the Anglican Cathedral where they were led in prayer by Bishop James before hearing a reading from St Luke’s Gospel. There will then be an Act of Commissioning as Partners in Pilgrimage led by the Ecumenical Development Officer for Churches Together in the Merseyside Region, Rev Ian Smith. The Service will conclude with a Blessing given by Archbishop Patrick, Bishop James and Rev Phil Jump.