Cathedral diary: January 2021

By Canon Tony O'Brien

It is hard to look ahead more than a week in advance and be able to say with certainty what will happen, so I am cautiously surveying the month of January and can only write of two things that will definitely take place however we will be post-Christmas.
Once we are into the New Year the work to dismantle the Cathedral organ will commence. This could last up to a month, and the whole instrument apart from the console will be moved off site to be refurbished and repaired, a process which is scheduled to take about 15 months. So January will be a noisy, messy month in the Cathedral – the organ builders will be working throughout the days apart from when services are on. Once the organ has gone, there will be a cavernous, empty space above the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in full view from every vantage point within the building. At present we are trying to think of some way in which we can cover this in a suitable and dignified manner during the year ahead.
The other January certainty is an online conference with Archbishop Malcolm and Bishop Paul, the Bishop of Liverpool, as key speakers on 28 January.
Thursday 28 January at 11am
The prospect of a successful vaccine has brought renewed hope to many during the continuing crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But even if it is successful, the huge social, health and economic challenges raised by the crisis will not have disappeared and must be confronted if we want a healthier, fairer, more sustainable society in future. This discussion organised by the Metropolitan Cathedral and Liverpool Cathedral in collaboration with the Heseltine Institute will examine these issues, reflecting on the role of the Churches in a post-Covid world and how we all rebuild the Liverpool City Region. Using the reflections of Pope Francis in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti ( it), the conference will consider the following questions:
•           What kind of life do we want after Covid?
•           What has the pandemic done to relationships and connections – individually and institutionally?
•           Why is working together across the city region so important and how can we do it better in future?
•           What contribution can the Churches as crucial partners best make?
We have a powerful set of speakers and panellists from across the region: the Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon; the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes; Denise Barret Baxendale, chief executive, Everton Football Club; Professor Gerard Pillay, vice-chancellor, Liverpool Hope University; Lesley Martin-Wright, chief executive, Knowsley Chamber of Commerce; and Tony Reeves, chief executive, Liverpool City Council.
Our discussion will be chaired by Professor Michael Parkinson from the University of Liverpool. We hope it will the beginning of a shared conversation across Liverpool City Region in the coming months.