Opening the doors of Liverpool cathedral for the HSR2018 Social Night

At every Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, we hold a Social Night. This year, we are excited to announce that our social night will be held at the beautiful Liverpool Cathedral.

Adjectives like awesome and spectacular are overused and never quite convey the sense of wonder you feel when entering or standing in the middle of Liverpool Cathedral. The world’s highest and widest Gothic arches seem to open up an immense cavernous space of which its genius young architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott said “don’t look at my arches, look at my spaces”. That might lead you to feel lost in such a place of huge, towering dimensions, but you don’t – the space is simply spectacular. It is Britain’s biggest Cathedral, but also its most pioneering and endlessly flexible. Yes, this is sacred space but with no fixed furniture so its daily pattern of services give a spiritual rhythm to a place that is alive with vibrant possibilities, and the Cathedral turns itself around constantly to embrace a myriad different activities – often in the same week! Liverpool Cathedral, built by its people for its people, is like its spiritual heartbeat and at the heart of city life.

Scott was only 22 years old when he won the competition to build Liverpool Cathedral, so the Cathedral prides itself in capturing the essence of youth, vigour and the big ideas of a young man. In the 21st century it finds itself in a regenerating city and one in which the work and mission of the Cathedral is as vital and vibrant as ever.

As part of their work with the local community, set-up by Liverpool Cathedral (Anglican), Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King (Roman Catholic) and St Bride’s (Church of England), Micah Liverpool helps people out of poverty. Currently the charity is working with those who are unemployed or need food or related assistance to tackle hunger in an emergency situation. Within this, our Employability Programme allows individuals the opportunity to receive support over 10 weeks to improve skills, confidence and readiness for work by volunteering in a variety of roles at Liverpool Cathedral and gaining qualifications in the process. The programme success rate is 46% to employment.

Their foodbank operates two sessions a week, providing three days of emergency food for each guest who comes, along with help to alleviate the issues people face in poverty and hunger. In addition, Micah has recently launched a Community Market, which is open to all. It works through being able to sell food that supermarkets think is surplus to requirements. This way the produce is cheaper than in regular shops, and research shows this helps prevent some people having to turn to the emergency aid that foodbanks offer. The Market also provides a community resource with a free (donations accepted) lunch made from the produce that’s on sale – allowing visitors the opportunity to stay and chat, make connections and feel part of their community.

Liverpool Cathedral was built by the people and for the people, and alongside the missional work and enterprise events, it also engages in a wide range of cultural and community events. This year the Cathedral has welcomed Light Night (for its 10th year!) – a free event where cultural venues across the city come alive for one night with spectacular performances, exhibitions, installations, workshops and more. In May, Liverpool Cathedral hosted the ‘Museum of the Moon’ – a cultural installation as part of the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta. Over 7 days the cathedral welcomed over 60,000 people from around the city and beyond to view this incredible spectacle. In January of this year the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church held the celebration of Epiphany. The climax of the 24hrs celebration of Timket involved over 3,000 members of the Ethiopian church overnight in preparation. A new initiative for 2017 was the cathedral’s ‘Sleep out’ in aid of the Whitechapel Centre. The event saw over 400 people sponsored to sleep in the cathedral overnight. These cultural and community events bring people from all walks of life to the Cathedral, and allows the public the opportunity to see the Cathedral as it is meant to be – not just as a religious space but also a community building, in which all are welcome.

Liverpool Cathedral is delighted to welcome the delegates of the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research through its doors to enjoy this very special place.

Image: courtesy of Marketing Liverpool

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