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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 22nd January 2023 Posted on Saturday 21 January 2023

Ordinary Times

One of the most significant details concerning the Gospel accounts is what is not mentioned or covered. We are told nothing about the earlier adult life of Jesus and the briefest information on only a few of the Apostles even though some were authors of, or at least were an influence and source of information, in writing the Gospels. This weekend’s Gospel passage begins simply that after John had been arrested Jesus settles in this busy crossroads of a town called Capernaum and from there begins his preaching and gathering together a group of disciples. We can only surmise that this is all that we need to know, namely the message and ministry of Jesus from that time on. Also that the apostles were ordinary people from various different backgrounds with similar doubts, struggles and weaknesses as us. As we begin the ordinary weeks of the year we are reminded that we are called to journey with Matthew’s Gospel and in doing so be caught up in the mystery and significance of Christ’s life and the same invitation is made to us to follow, as it was to Peter and Andrew and James and John.

Shortly before Christmas I attended a farewell service to mark the retirement of Professor Gerald Pillay as Vice Chancellor of Hope University. He had been in this role for almost 20 years and during that time Hope was granted full University status. Over these years of Gerald Pillay’s tenure Hope University has transformed its college campuses, enlarged its facilities and gained a growing reputation for teaching and research. The University will hold their Winter Graduation Ceremony here on Thursday. This will be during this short interim period awaiting the arrival of their new Vice Chancellor Professor Claire Ozanne who is due to take up her position in March this year. In church terms the person in charge during an interregnum is called a Diocesan or Apostolic Administrator. I’m not sure what the term is for someone who takes on similar temporary authority in university circles, whether it is Dean or Pro Chancellor etc so I will have to make some enquiries before I have to welcome everyone to the Cathedral next week.

We have had a successful series of trials for the forthcoming children’s trail that will be launched and available from the end of February this year. The trail is accessed via a link on a mobile and as I witnessed the young children are quicker at using it than many adults. As part of this testing I invited four great nieces and nephews aged between 6-8 years to act as a group of market testers and they thoroughly enjoyed it and it sparked lots of questions and interest. One of the serious questions why the trumpets were up in the air above the chapel, and how did someone sitting at the organ blow air through them from the ground level? Which sparked a whole discussion about the organ. Maybe a couple of the children should have been on the organ refurbishment committee they may have come up with a more interesting remodelled design.

Just a reminder that we have a Joint Celebration of Choral Evening Prayer this Sunday afternoon at 3pm at Liverpool Cathedral to mark the week of prayer for Christian unity.   All welcome.

 Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean