Liverpool Awakens-spirituality Festival

Four days with Liverpool’s Festival of Spirituality hosted by Saint Bride’s Church. Some key ingredients were: a Sunday Gathering, A City Centre Prayer Walk, a Lecture, Resourcing Soulfriendship Groups, Walking the Parish Bounds, Prayer at ‘The Pool’ , Meals, Spiritual Direction sessions – all encompassed by Morning, Midday, Evening and Night Prayer inspired by The Community of Aidan and Hilda.

A few years ago just four people were left to gather in the shell of this large architectural masterpiece. Then a priest who oversees four churches decided that, instead of coming with his own plan, he would encourage old and new worshippers to run with their visions. Now there are four plus fifty, and projects that impact the city out of all proportion to these numbers. Each day, adorned with art displays, it is packed with groups from asylum seekers to narcotics anonymous.

The focus of the Sunday Eucharistic Gathering was ‘Houses of Prayer. A group gathered to pray at The Pool (the origin of the world’s first Dry Dock which turned Liverpool from an unknown village into a giant port), which became in Carl Jung’s dream a symbol of transforming life from which grew a radiant tree of life. My lecture was about the flowering of God’s kingdom in Liverpool through Heart (deep transformational work), Hope (on the back of the two Sheppard/Worlock bishops’ partnership commemorated in Hope Street which links the two cathedrals) and Hospitality. Eighty per cent of Liverpudlians are of Irish descent and have the DNA of the early and hospitable Irish villages of God. We explored these villages of God in the light of the role of cities in today’s changing world and in the spirit of Saint Brigid after whom St. Brides is named. The text of this lecture is now a download on this web site (‘Liverpool: Spirituality in the City’) and you should soon be able to download it live from www.spiritualityliverpool.space/festival

As we gathered for Midday Prayer around the re-landscaped Pool in the centre of the rejuvenated Liverpool One area we said: ‘We gather at the pool of life, a symbol of the calm, creative centre from which life flows … May the people of this city find the calm, creative centre within themselves from which life …health, truth, beauty, creative energy and peace flow’.

In the middle of the Festival, though not an official part of it, was The First Voyage of Ruth Stock, Minister for Mission Development in the area. About thirty friends witnessed her make her First Vows with The Community of Aidan and Hilda, including her soul friend, Godfrey Butland, who returned to Liverpool from Cockermouth with his wife Lesley for the occasion. Ruth also participated in the Festival, and led a Merseyside Forest Church Midday Ritual in the cemetery gardens below the Anglican cathedral.

Posted at 07:53am on 21st April 2016
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