The Liverpool Cathedral, The Cathedral Church of Christ, celebrates this year the facts that 100 years ago the foundation stone was led and 80 years ago the first chapel was opened. Within the twincity-partnership Cologne - Liverpool existes an ecumenical partnership already for two decades; the cathedral’s solemnities are a good reason to cultivate the friendship and to join in the celebrations.
Construction of the Liverpool Cathedral
The cathedral building was decided on about 24 years after the foundation of the Anglican Diocese Liverpool; the raised James' Mount makes this place of worship an over a long distance visible emblem. Bishop Francis James Chavasse is described as a founder; he was part of the driving forces of the project. Giles Gilbert Scott , who was only 22 years at this time old and Roman-Catholic, won the architecture competition with 103 applications. The shoot of an architect family was honored and finally ennobled repeatedly in the course of his life for his performances; he died of 1960 before the building was really completed. His design of the famous red telephone booth is world-famous. Since Scott was still young and inexperienced at the start of building, an experienced, consulting architect was engaged who died already after four years. Scott presented the outline for a church of gigantic extent in medieval style; the church should have continuance for the next 1000 years.
The laying of the foundation stone was made by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on July 19th, 1904. The 5 tons heavy sandstone bears the inscription:
"Other foundation can no one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ"
The construction time dragged on to 1978; Elisabeth II then submitted. the cathedral to the public. The original plans had repeatedly to be changed and adapted to the respective possibilities. Today the cathedral has a 109 meters high tower (instead of three towers planned originally). The ringing consists of 14 bells. The ground plan is a double sharp with two transepts and a nave of 204 meters of length with a more deep-seated entrance hall, the hall under the tower and the choir. 59 windows with gloriously colorful motives adorn the building. The high altar is - as the complete making - manufactured of local, red sandstone; his altar figures and ornaments have rich gold ornamentations. The space filling organ has five manuals and almost 10.000 pipes which are distributed to the two sides of the choir.
Next to the book- and souvenir-store in the nave there is a cafeteria is with a terrace outside. A part of the basement has been used as a meeting center for good 15 years.
The cathedral offers seats for 3.000 people. Depending on consideration way this church is the fourth or fifth biggest Anglican cathedral in the world.
Broader details can be found o the website: www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk .
In January a group of the archbishopric Cologne presented the tradition of the carol singers in the cathedral. Markus Günzel, Till Billecke, Wolfgang Küpper and Sebastian Witte - four earlier carol singers, meanwhile young men -, were accompanied by prelat Johannes Bastgen, cathedral deacon Raimund Witte and Rainer Will of the Roman Catholic education work. The group took part in the opening of the solemnities to Epiphanias; the young men represented the three saints kings.
Also in January the cross of the world youth day 2005 – years ago donated by the Pope as a cross of resonciliation - was introduced in Liverpool; to this there were an ecumenical meeting of 600 children and teenagers in the cathedral.
Queen Elisabeth II and the prince spouse was invited to a Sunday service at Easter.
The highlights of the vacation period lay in July. The Dean of the cathedral, The Right Reverend Dr. Rupert Hoare, and the cathedral’s chapter had invited guests to this from the Anglican partner diocese Akure/Nigeria as well as the Methodist bishop and from the twin town Cologne. The Cologne friends took part at two weekends.
Weekend 9. – 12. July
The Anglican cathedral is known and famous for her organ and choir concerts; they occasionally are transferred in the radio and published as a sound carrier. The first July Sunday took place against the sign of the church music. The Cologne Oratorien-Chor participated with its 89 members and was conducted by Andreas Meisner. The oratorio choir sang the Bach-cantate "the sir is my faithful herdsman/Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt’" and together with the choir of the cathedral (36 members) the mass of Schubert fair into G major. Dr. Hans-Georg Link, also a member of this choir, has played a part in the ecumenical city partnership since the middle of the eighties as an ecumenical reverend of the Evangelischen Stadtkirchenverband Köln. On this Sunday he preached the sermon on Kol. 1, 3 - 14 and this in just 5 minutes.
The oratorio choir gave a concert, the requiem of W.A. Mozart in D minor, accompanied by an especially arranged orchestra in the well frequented cathedral in the evening.
All guests and hosts brought the international seminar to the topic "poverty and health" together to a thematic exchange. A woman doctor with long-standing experience in Congo gave the introduction lecture. The participants discussed their different perceptions and moral concepts in repeatedly changing groups. From Cologne took part: The medicine Dr. Th. Joisten which looks after the Cologne "Haus Salierring" for homeless persons, his daughter, Marten Marquardt, head of the Melanchthon Academie as well as four members of the oratorio choir: H.-G. Link, Peter Busmann, Beate Woike, Ulrike Dücker.
Weekend 17. – 22. July
The highlights of the solemnities experienced two Cologne groupings: a church delegation of 11 persons with Ernst Fey/Ev.Stadtsuperintendent und Ehefrau Kristine, Dechant Rainer Fischer, Hannelore Bartscherer/Chair of Katholikenausschuss, Marten Marquardt/Melanchthon-Akademie und Ehefrau Reinhild, Hannelore Morgenstern-Przygoda/Sozialwerk, Sonja Sailer-Pfister/Katholisches Stadtdekanat, Ingrid Schäfer /board member of Ev. Stadtkirchenverband and husband and Andrea Schlüter, Roman Catholic Faith Information, and the three members of the municipal delegation: Mayor Manfred Wolf, his wife and Lydia Klütsch, the responsible expert of the municipal office for international matters. The events were in the sign of memory, feast and prospects.
Saturday, 17. July: Day of pilgrimage
During the last months groups of the deanaries in the Liverpool Diocese had taken contacts to the cathedral under the thought of the pilgrimage and had made a pilgrimage with her presentations to St. James' Mount.
A great production connected many deanary-groups of all ages with dance, drama and music to a pilgrimage parade at this weekend; the participants appeared to colored outfits with the colors of the rainbow. The procession had started at the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, moved through linking Hope Street and ended in the Anglican Cathedral with impression of building, with foot prints of the personal and church pilgrim way and of celebration. The approx. 300 church visitors reacted with a joyful surprise, as a gigantic net with coloured fabrics – with expressed the human movement and the metamorphosis from the caterpillar to the butterfly -, swung unexpectedly over and with the dancing people.
Sunday, 18. July: Festival services and firework
It needed a 19-sided booklet to document the course of the service in the morning. In the one and a half hour Eucharist mass took - besides the cathedrals chapter – also part The Right Reverend James Jones, the bishop of the Liverool diocese. Members of all denominations were invited to the participation in the Holy Communion. Again typical of the cathedral were the special musical contributions by organ and choirs; this time with the girl choir founded recently. A leading British composer, John Taverner, wrote especially an order composition which was played for the first time for this cause; and a small choirboy polished the floor mosaic with the letters for alpha and omega simultaneously.
In the afternoon another mass followed for the cathedral friends. The emeritus physicist and Reverend Sir John Polkinghorne (Cambridge) led this service with 2000 visitors.
A 15-minutes-firework formed the crowning conclusion of the day, which could be seen by the roof and tower of the cathedral over a long distance (finances from the culture capital budget); some guests were invited to a boat trip for this evening.
Monday, 19. July: Centenary celebration of the laying of the foundation stone
Exactly on the hour and a 100 years after on this Monday at 4 p.m. about 2.500 people remembered the laying of the foundation stone with a service corresponding to the largeness of this church.
Three organists filled the gigantic hall with powerful organ sound during the waiting period, composed by cathedrals organists; 80 members from different choirs joined later.
Numerous processions moved in: spiritual and political dignitaries, children or grandchildren of the trained building workers and the architects, representations for the sponsors, former and today's members of the choirs and the cathedral staff, members the guest-groups as well as the Earl and the Countess of Wessex (Eduard and Sophie).
The sermon kept The Very Reverend Ken Riley, a former chapter member and today Dean of the Cathedral in Manchester. His intimate knowledge of the life in cathedral and church permitted him serious and cheerful review and persectives; he also referred to the exercise-book of this service which covered 34 pages this time. With last chisel blows a stone rosette which forms the opposite number to the foundation stone now was completed.
For a side chapel just renovated Dean Hoare rechieved serval presens: two candlesticks from the Dean of the Metropolitan Cathedral, a Bible from the bishop from Akure and two icons from the Cologne church delegation (Fey, Fischer, Bartscherer).
At the end one opened the doors of the nave and with that the cathedral for the town and her people.
The offering filled the collection-plates; in a case it fell off the plate; even the nearby standing Earl Eduard helped with the lifting up.
Finally there were given champagne, cake and a printed information about the next plans of the cathedral. In the second century of its existence the cathedral shall continue the fabric works; the visit center shall be modernized and an education center built up especially for the youth. This development campaign will most likely cost 10 million GBP.
From the accompanying program for the visit delegations
For the three-week visit of the Nigerian (13) and Cologne church guests the cathedral host had found private accommodations - a difficult task for 89 choir members. Besides the official events the hosts took time for individual wishes, cathedral guidings, regular meals together -- one this in the newly opened Piazza of the Metropolitan Cathedral by -, for receptions at Lordmayor Rodererick, who is in this honorary function since May.
Mayor Wolf/Cologne was also invited into the city hall and met members of the town council besides the Lordmayor. This programme coordinated Barbara King, the responsible person for international matters on behalf of the city council.
The church delegate finally accompanied Dean Hoare to Margaret's Church in Liverpool-Toxteth. The restoration of this Roman Catholic church was celebrated with a special mass.
Further planning or suggestions
Dean Hoare didn't dismiss his guests without asking: What can we together do in the future? Suggestions were collected and informed to measures in planning in a short meeting.
Hannelore Morgenstern-Przygoda, July 2004