A Reflection: Liverpool Cathedral

One city, two cathedrals on Hope Street
One faith, two expressions

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral built on St James Mount
Philip Platt
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0



Liverpool Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral


The Anglican Cathedral dedicated according, to the document of Consecration, as the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool; it also is referred to as the Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ. The cathedral is thought to be the largest cathedral in Britain, and also the eighth largest church in the world.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is a dramatic icon of faith, architecture, and human endeavour. An awe-inspiring landmark on the Liverpool skyline that you will not want to miss.
This Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Liverpool and the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool, the spiritual leader of the whole Northern Province of the Catholic Church in England.

Please use the web pages for more of the cathedrals’ histories
Liverpool Cathedral :- https://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/about-us/
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral :- https://liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk/
Hope Street is a fitting name for a street that is the home of two cathedrals. The street was named after William Hope, a merchant whose house stood on the site now occupied by the Philharmonic Hall.



Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Drone photograph from inside the top of the lantern looking down on to the altar.

Taken by Lunar Aerial Imaging.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0


Liverpool Anglican Cathedral central nave

Michael D Beckwith – Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

While striking in their differences, these two cathedrals both offer a sacred space which can reach out and move you. I once sat in the Metropolitan Cathedral with the colours of the Lantern-stained glass dancing around the interior. I cannot remember how long I sat there but in that time I had a sense of the sacredness of this space.

In the Anglican cathedral I have sat and been moved as the choristers sang Evensong, their voices echoed around and seemed to fill the cathedral. Once again there was a sense of the sacred.

Differences again but also a unity, a sacred space where you can be drawn into prayer and praise.

Over the decades the various Anglican bishops and the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Liverpool have joined forces to campaign and seek to address injustices within their communities. Event in the aftermath of the civil unrest in Liverpool in the 1980’s and following the Hillsborough tragedy.



Original artists impression of Liverpool Cathedral, by Charles Herbert Reilly (1874–1948) first published in 1902, and reprinted in and scanned from Sharples, Joseph, ed (1996). Charles Reilly & the Liverpool School of Architecture 1904–1933. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-901-0

Public domain



Model of Lutyens’ design for the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net).
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0


Another thing that the two cathedrals had in common. They both had early designs


Closing shots of Liverpool’s Cathedrals


Rept0n1x Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0


Both Cathedrals at Night



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Bob Edwards
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0



Pause and Reflect
4th week of Advent /
Christmas Eve

Slow down, breath calmly
and relax.


Opening prayer for cathedrals.

Loving God, draw us on the journey
to the places of holiness, the places of peace,
the places of encounter, the places of beauty,
the places where faith has been lived, your love made known,
your hope held out in the past, for the present, into your future. Amen

The St Michael’s Singers and Coventry Singers sing:

“The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came” was a Basque folk carol, originally based on ‘Angelus Ad Virginem’, a 13th or 14th Century Latin carol It was collected by Charles Bordes and then paraphrased into English by the hymn writer, priest and scholar, Sabine Baring-Gould. The tune is ‘Gabriel’s Message’, the traditional tune having been arranged by Edgar Pettman


Collect for Christmas Eve.

Almighty God,
as we prepare with joy
to celebrate the gift of the Christ-child,
embrace the earth with your glory
and be for us a living hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for Christmas Day
Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.

A reading from Luke’s Gospel 1.26-38
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Pause and reflection on the words from the Gospel focussing on the closing words:

Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

In our prayers we welcome those who are searching for faith.

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Family and Friends
Local church and its leaders
wider community
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed, those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill, those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

When asked about how to pray Jesus gave these simple but profound words, so let them be our prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Closing Prayer

Adapted from Bury Mission Community Prayer (Diocese of Manchester)

Loving God,
Jesus called his disciples to seek your kingdom and follow him.
You summon us to share work of our Pilgrim Community
Open our hearts to hear his invitation to be his disciples in this generation.
Grant us courage.
Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit.
Give us compassion, wisdom and resilience.
Pour on us your endless grace that we may flourish, and our parishes grow in faith and love, service and compassion,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fr. Derek Akker

(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James. Prior to his ordination he was accredited as a Methodist Preacher in 1968 and served within the Methodist Church until returning to the Anglican Church in the mid 1980’s)
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold) – In the Diocese of Manchester

Opening prayer from the Association of English Cathedrals
Collect -The Archbishops Council 2004
Candle Image – Elmar Ersch Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0


Additional music

I am aware that the inclusion of the 1945 song from Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ hardly has the ring of Christmas about. The choice is your, listen or not.

The song now has close connections to Liverpool!

The background to the song is the character Nettie Fowler sings the song to comfort and encourage her cousin Julie when her husband, Billy Bigelow, the male lead, stabs himself with a knife whilst trying to run away after attempting a robbery and dies in her arms.

It has been recorded by many artist but for many it is the 1965 version by the Liverpool group Jerry and the Pacemakers that is on their playlist. It is associated with Liverpool Football Club but for some its association is wider and is with the city of Liverpool.

The song originally written to support a grieving young woman and is also used at the end of the musical when Billy Bigelow returns to earth and the invisible figure of Billy is granted the chance to return to Earth to, watch the graduation ceremony of his daughter Louise and he silently encourage Louise and Julie to join in with the song.

The song is a song of comfort, support, and encouragement. It is understandable that the song has reached out to people who know nothing of the songs original setting,

Here is Jerry and the Pacemakers, click the link