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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 8th January 2017 Posted on Sunday 8 January 2017

Feast of the Epiphany
Another year begins, hopefully one with plenty of blessings and significant moments for us all. At this time of the year we normally hear reviews by the media of the success of the retail sector over the Christmas period, judged by the volume of sales or on TV, judged by the number of viewers. In those terms we had some of our highest attendance figures at our various Christmas celebrations last year and there was a real sense of joy and dignity in the way everyone took part in the Nativity masses. Many thanks to all who had a part in leading, planning and assisting for all the celebrations over the Christmas period.

I have no predictions or insight into the year ahead other than to name a few things that are already known to take place. Both the Cathedral and St Vincent’s church buildings are due to have significant maintenance and refurbishment work during the year. The only element of this which is in the diary at present is for the erection of a new revolving interior cradle to be installed in the Cathedral Lantern – intrusive drilling work will be taking place during the end of January and beginning of February prior to the installation of the cradle. Following the surprise announcement this week that Mr Phil Stewart is to retire at the end of the Easter Term as head of St Vincent’s Primary School after 25 years service, both our primary schools will now need to go through the process of appointing new permanent Head Teachers at different times during this coming year. Whatever else happens during the course of the year we will be celebrating the Cathedrals 50th Jubilee year in a variety of ways. With plenty to look forward to, and give thanks for, here’s to a busy and enjoyable New Year.

We celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany this weekend – the manifestation of Christ to the wise men and through them as symbols all of humanity, his manifestation to all nations. For many parts of the Christian world it is their major Christmas Feast. For us it is our ‘Little Christmas’ marking the twelfth day and the end of the Christmas season. There will be a special 3pm afternoon Epiphany Service of carols and readings this Sunday, a new addition to our liturgies, to celebrate this final day of the Christmas. The Feast of the Lord’s Baptism is celebrated on Monday.

Shortly before Christmas I wrote to Roger McGough (the most famous of the Liverpool Poets) to ask if he would consider writing a celebratory poem for the Cathedral’s Jubilee. What I hadn’t been aware of is that he was commissioned to write a poem for the opening of our Cathedral fifty years ago. In his letter of reply Roger informed me that at the time those in authority didn’t consider his completed poem religious enough and turned it down, so he used it for the consecration and dedication of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in 1978. He described it as his bit for ecumenism! I am now intrigued to find a copy of the original poem, hopefully we will have a copy in the archives somewhere. It seems that, 50 years ago, the authorities were prepared to allow a choreographed mass, an electronic techno musical concert entitled a ‘Messe pour Le Temps (which will be repeated this year) but they drew the line at a poem that was too secular. Anyway despite this initial snub I think that we may have a newly written composition which will be a constituent part our jubilee celebrations.