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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, October 29, 2005
    World in one city
    Good day for a walk round the city centre. And we did two, on our Iona Community Regional Plenary; with a collection of folks from all over the North of England, giving them a flavour of this rapidly-altering place.

    Last time I looked at St Peter's Church, Seel Street (the city's oldest place of worship) it was wrapped in scaffolding and to my mind looked like apartments-in-the-making. Surprised, then, to find its doors open this morning, and our group of fifteen stepped inside, with the blessing of the manager, to find it transformed into Alma de Cuba, a very classy bar and restaurant. Brand shining new; but with so many of the original eccelsiastical fixtures and fittings intact and in place. An astonishing discovery, if a little disorientating. If we were post-ironic, consumer-savvy emerging church we could do it here with ease.

    We also rang the doorbell of the Swedish Seamen's Church - the Gustav Adolfus Kyrka, and were invited in, made very welcome by the new incumbents there, who told us some history - thousands of Scandinavian seamen moving through Liverpool each year in its heyday, and still hundreds today - though with six-hour turnarounds they never leave the docks these days, so the pastors and chaplains have to go to them. Still, it's a a welcoming church and a special building still well-used by the region's Scandinavian community. Alma de Cuba was mindblowing; Gustav Adolfus Kyrka gently affirming. Great to enjoy both, in good company, today.