The magnificent tower is the first vision of Liverpool Cathedral most people encounter. Dominating the cityscape. Visible for miles around. The home of the highest and heaviest peal of bells. It makes its presence felt. So I have chosen the tower to symbolise our story.
It’s been a momentous year for me. Since becoming Dean I have encountered a great welcome across cathedral, city and region. I have seen enterprise, witnessed a cathedral at the centre of the highs and lows of Liverpool life, and taken part in diverse cultural events. I’ve seen a cathedral community that cried with the city, cheered with the city, fed the city and prayed for the city.
It’s been a momentous year for the cathedral. We’ve secured £8.2m of donations to our £24m for 2024 target. We welcomed the moon and the knife angel. We hosted dinners, award ceremonies and concerts. We’ve seen record numbers of worshippers and visitors.
It’s been a momentous year because of support from our Guardians, Patrons and in particular LJMU. I thank our volunteers, staff, donors, worshippers, supporters and visitors for how they encounter this place.
It’s been a momentous year as we have taken time to refresh our thinking. To honour the past and look to the future. I’ve asked myself and others how this links together – from gala dinner to prayer and worship. One word leapt to mind. Encounter.
Liverpool Cathedral is a place of encounter. Built by the people, for the people, to the Glory of God. Our annual review tells the story of that encounter.
Sue Jones - Dean of Liverpool
Encountering Liverpool Cathedral
Liverpool Cathedral is more than an iconic building. It’s a vibrant, active place that the people of the city, regions and world encounter in many ways. Led by our Dean we have reflected on our mission and ministry. This led to us seeing the word Encounter become of increasing importance to us.
Encounter is how a gala dinner relates to a school trip. Encounter is how a tourist visit relates to an awards ceremony. Encounter is how they all relate to our main purpose of prayer, worship and service. People encounter us in many ways. But in each way, we hope they encounter a warm welcome and sense of God.
We believe everyone will encounter:
• Inspiring Christian worship
• A breathtaking experience
• A community committed to justice and mercy
• A safe, generous place in joy and sorrow
• A dynamic community of staff and volunteers
• A God who knows and loves you.
Our review is divided by those themes showing how we have progressed in each area.
Inspiring Christian Worship
More than a cultural, heritage experience we are a fully functional church. Encountering Liverpool Cathedral means encountering a place of daily prayer, a place of God, a spiritual heart of the city. We‘re proud to offer worship with a range of styles and traditions. Choral worship is supported by a world-renowned choir.
Our well established Zone 2 Congregation offers refreshingly different worship in a café style and Sepas provides tailored worship for the Persian community.
We are a place where:
• We held 1,244 worship services in 2018
• 13,655 people came to our Advent and Christmas services, we added extra services to cope with demand.
• 9,500 came to our end of term schools’ services
• We mark important worship occasions such as the annual Judges’ service and the tenth anniversary of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture
• We saw deacons and priests ordained, readers licensed, a Dean installed and a Bishop welcomed, children and adults confirmed and thousands sustained in faith
• We launched a congregation - Something New - connecting with local young adults as they explore more about their faith
• 123 people auditioned for our choir. Our choral groups: Liverpool 64, the Youth and Junior choirs helped more people benefit from our musical expertise
• We fully interpret major services into BSL
For a diverse range of people to encounter God, we need to continue to be excellent in traditional worship while exploring new ways to engage. Inspiring worship comes in many styles. Through our worship, we will inspire people to encounter a living God.
A breathtaking experience
We often recognise the first time visitor by the way they’re awed by this magnificent building as they enter. There is nothing quite like encountering us for the first time, no matter what the reason for visiting is. For us, a one-off visit is not enough. We want people to keep revisiting and seeing the variety of activities we hold for visitors.
So our 700,000 visitors were able to encounter:
• Luke Jerram’s stunning Museum of the Moon (60,000 visited in one week)
• The moving and thought-provoking Knife Angel - a beacon highlighting the national plague of knife crime
• A Visit England accredited venue celebrating being Large Visitor Attraction of the year 2018 in the Liverpool City Region Awards
• Stunning city views from the top of our tower (both day and night)
• Educational workshops where 8,469 pupils experienced guided tours and themed workshops on aspects of religion as well as exploring topics such as remembrance
• Corporate dinners and events bringing high-quality dining to our wonderful setting, creating memorable experiences
We remain a prime destination for many of the cruise ships that visit Liverpool as well as a stop for scores of coach parties.
When you encounter Liverpool Cathedral you encounter people going the extra mile to offer a breathtaking experience. We work and serve an awesome building built to the Glory of an awesome God. Encounter us and you will feel that awe.
Committed to justice and mercy
Our faith compels us to be committed to seeing justice and mercy in our community. Our principles and values compel us to see justice and mercy. We work hard to bring that to reality. Our charity - Micah Liverpool, which we run in partnership with the Metropolitan Cathedral and St Luke in the City church, has that commitment at its foundation.
Offering emergency food aid and volunteering opportunities Micah Liverpool has:
• Shared an average of 235 food parcels per week
• Established a community food shop in central Liverpool
• Collaborated with the Liverpool Whitechapel Centre to host the Liverpool Cathedral Sleepout - a safe way of helping younger people understand homelessness while raising funds
• Secured 14 jobs through our employability programme while starting many more on that journey
• Raised £110,000 of donations to support our work Liverpool Cathedral established the
Micah Lecture as an opportunity for leading theological thinkers to discuss different perspectives on social action. Last year thoughts were provoked by Ann Morisy on “Resilience and the risk of lopsided justice”.
To be committed to mercy is to offer the food parcels, the volunteering opportunities, the support for those in need. To be committed to justice is to raise our voice to those in power stating an alternative vision of what society could be. Liverpool Cathedral remains committed to both.
Safe and generous - in joy and sorrow
It is fitting that this iconic building is a place that brings city and region together in sorrow and joy. Being built for the people means that we want to enable the people to use it for the occasions that matter most to them. Be it big civic events or small personal services we aim to be there for others.
We were the host and backdrop to:
• Liverpool John Moores University annual graduations welcoming over 30,000 students, families and staff
• 408 business and cultural events including the ECHO Regional Business Awards, the Educate Awards and Littlewoods’ staff celebrations
• A landmark concert of Britten’s War Requiem with British and German choristers marking the centenary of the end of World War One.
• A full programme of organ recitals, choir performances and music recitals
• The funeral of Sir Ken Dodd, a focus of world attention - one of many high and not so high profile figures who we had the privilege to help say goodbye to.
• Well established landmark events such as Cream Classical and the Arts Markets - an established market visited by 16,000 people supporting local creative people.
We are proud to be part of Liverpool’s cultural offer, a cherry on the cake when the city seeks to bring international business to the area. We remain a significant venue at cultural events such as the increasingly popular Light Night.
We know that when communities want to come together in sorrow and joy they often turn to the church. We are the place that cries and sings with the people.
A dynamic community of staff and volunteers
A community such as the cathedral can only thrive because of the efforts and will of our volunteers and staff. We know that the welcome visitors receive and the experience they have is down, in the most part, to the people they encounter and the way they encounter them. We have considered the values that bind us together and how we display those values to our visitors.
Over any year people come and go and last year we:
• Welcomed our 8th Dean and the first woman to hold this senior post in the church
• Strengthened our music department with a new Director of Music - Lee Ward
• Appointed a new Architect - Mike Darwell - a significant appointment to help us look to the future while honouring the traditions and ethos of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
• Saw Canon Richard White and Canon Paul Rattigan moving on to new challenges while installing Canon Bob Lewis as our Dwelly Raven Canon
Dynamism and innovation go hand in hand. We see innovation in many ways including:
• The completion of our training facility - St Aidan’s Centre
• Successful outreach such as Teeny Maestros bringing music to the under 5s
We are committed to valuing the work and dedication of staff and volunteers. We are committed to paying a living wage to our professional and outstanding staff. We want to encourage dynamism and support ideas. We believe that this dynamic approach will continue to inspire to seek new ways to enable visitors to encounter God.
A generous God who knows and loves you
The stark fact is that we need £69,000 every week to run the cathedral.
As a community of faith, we believe in a generous God who knows and loves us. We thank God for the donations and support that enable us to fulfil our mission and do our work. We are grateful for our Patrons and Guardians who offer so much to the running of this place.
This generosity has seen:
• A tremendously creative partnership with our valued Patron Liverpool John Moores University
• An impressive £8.2m funding secured for our £24m for 2024 campaign from over 100 donors
• £194,000 raised to enable us to support the ongoing restoration of our magnificent organ
• Visitor donations reach the highest level ever at £137,000
• Maximised donations through contactless payments, increased use of gift aid and recruiting a Volunteer Fundraising Coordinator
• Donations continue from the Friends and the Francis Neilson Trust supporting a whole range of experiences for young people.
Our response to this generosity is to be prudent with our resources. We have, in challenging financial circumstances, achieved a break-even budget which enables us to be on a firm foundation.
We do this without sustained government support and remaining true to the idea that our cathedral should remain free to enter to benefit all people. This makes for a creative and enterprising cathedral seeking to find ways to secure our financial position so we can remain a place of encounter for future generations.
The Cathedral’s encounter continues
Seeing so many encounter this place for so many reasons gives hope for the future. Yet we are aware of the challenges we face. This is why we rely on your ongoing support.
We are continuing to develop plans to improve the breathtaking experience for visitors. We want to remain a place that the people of the city and region want to encounter. Through our £24m for 2024 campaign, we want to do more than secure our future. We want to enhance the visitor experience with new ways for people to encounter us. We need to invest in the maintenance of our iconic listed building. We want to remain a place that inspires people to worship God and to serve others in his name. Sadly, the work of Micah is still very much needed.
We know that generations of people throughout the world fall in love with this place as a result of their visit. We want more people to encounter that love.
We have come this far thanks to your support. We will achieve much more through your ongoing support. We want Liverpool Cathedral to continue to be a place of encounter so that future generations will know that we are built by the people, for the people to the glory of God.
Liverpool Cathedral, Anthony Mooney Cream Classics and Liverpool John Moores University graduations