My Alarm woke me at 4:15am and I was up by 5:00am typing and packing and in the car by 7:15 and on the road. I got about twenty minutes up the road, stopped at Maccy D’s for breakfast whilst doing some more typing, uploading and gathering of contact information
It was now gone 9:00am. I got all the contact information I needed and headed on up the road to Liverpool
I called the Liverpool Lord Mayor’s Office. They insisted I send an email and despite me telling them I was driving, they refused to take any verbal enquiry? We seem to being losing the art of verbal communication. It is no longer a trusted way of communicating. Note that. After ten minutes of convincing the lady that I was who I said I was, she tells me that the Mayor is out and unavailable all day anyways. Thanks. I still can’t understand the unwillingness of saying “Lord Mayor just had Rev. Farrell on the phone wanting a 5 minute interview, here’s some information from his website, and this is who he is.” I honestly can’t imagine anyone wanting to impersonate me, for the sole purpose of getting in front of the Lord Mayor?”
I call Churches together in Liverpool and the Ecumenical officer will try and hook me up with a couple of street workers. I think he means ministers. He gives me their cell phone numbers. I call them both, leave a, message but neither gets back to me.
I call the Cathedral. They will accommodate me, meet me, allow me to park my car and find me a spot in the Cathedral.
BBC Radio Mersey side call me and want to interview me. I arrange to meet Keith at 10:30am in the Cathedral. Things are looking up.
I ring the University. They have NO contact details for the chaplaincy. After 15 minutes I manage to get a number and find out that Dr Soandso is in charge of the Anglican chaplaincy and he is in the Cathedral teaching some curates. I could grab him there when he finishes at 1pm.
I arrive in Liverpool. The wind is fair whipping across the Mersey. The constable at the Cathedral lets me and my car in free of charge. He is expecting me. Inside this vast 20th Century edifice one of the communications officer waits for me, as does the BBC reporter. What a wonderful welcome.
Keith is a Baptist minister and a BBC reporter. He has been to the Cathedral too many times to remember. He takes me to a spot adjacent to the giant font to make a recording for the Sunday morning show. The font is fantastic and surrounded by little school pickles all getting lecture on Christening. The Organ is being tuned and our conversation is broken into by noisy children and tuning notes form the organ sounding like communication chords from close encounters of the third kind. Somehow we manage to make a recording and then Keith takes me for a coffee inside this magnificent Cathedral.
There are four people in the large chapel and while Keith holds the Camera I record a short meditation on Lamentations. Lamentations for Liverpool sounds right
INSERT VIDEO HERE
Keith has to go and I have to stalk Dr Soandso to see if I can get out of the university. Keith shows me where I can wait to pounce.
It just so happens that this area is next to the lift up the top of the Cathedral tower. Actually this the first lift, followed by a second, followed by 100 stairs to the top. There is a guide counting people entering and leaving the lift and giving instructions about what to look for when you go up and come down. He is smashing chap and I find out that he has worked with Paul McCartney as a young Beatle. Apparently, in between Hamburg gigs Paul worked in the Motor shop of his factory. He also explains to me why there is a red telephone box next to the lift. Apparently the old red telephone boxes are regarded as buildings. Yes, because they are free standing structures they are regarded as the smallest of buildings and the architect that designed this largest of modern Cathedrals also designed the telephone box, the smallest of our free standing buildings.
He lets me up the Cathedral tower.
When you come out of the second lift, the 100 stairs takes you through the bell tower. The wind was whipping though open cavern of the high bell tower and a very strange thing happened to me. Now, I have never been keen on heights, but waling up those stairs I started to wobble and feel very peculiar. The tower was moving. I gripped the rail and got to the top. The wind was violent. In the centre of the tower was a shed, with a young Scouser sat in it. She assured em that the tower was safe and wasn’t really swaying. I did a quick interview and descended from the dizzy height. My heart was racing and somehow, I had acquired a severe case of vertigo. I don’t know if my inner ear is screwed up with this strange ear Psoriasis or what, but it is the worst thing I have experience for a long time. I certainly won’t forget ascending through the Alfred Hitchcock bell tower.
By the time I got down the curate teaching session was almost over. I was told that Dr SoandSo was a hairy guy, a former musician who played in a rock band at Greenbelt. I imagined an old geezer that looked like a cross between St Davids Calvinistic Methodist Pastor and Roy Wood. Only one slightly hairy man passed by me and he looked far too young to be a Dr. Teaching curates. Of course, it was him and I failed to hook up with him. It was ten minutes later when I realised my error when I asked the remaining students if they had seen him.
I checked the car park and the Cathedral but he was gone, as was my opportunity. Moral learnt | “ASK! Even if it I might be the wrong person…..
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was dealt out to me ….Lamentations 1:12a
I call four large churches. One has a social gathering that night but they do not want 5 minutes on Lamentations. The other three don’t even bother to get back to me. Why are white, protestant evangelical churches so suspicious and reluctant to be open? Why are charismatic churches so seemingly closed to the possibility of God turning up through me. I wonder if God would ever be allowed to break into our programmed routines. Maybe it is just me? I know that I am not respectable enough. I know it.
I drive down to the Albert Docks and the commercial area. I try and reach to St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church to see if they want to hear a word from Lamentations. There is no one in the office. I pass the Liver birds, all looking over thousands upon thousands of vacant office spaces and an exceptionally blustery Mersey. I find it strange to see a statue of Billy Fury alongside the docks. You walk past countless war memorials to the dead of two world wars, dedicated to those ‘whose grave is the sea,’ a multitude of merchant seaman not just from Britain but many nations, whose ships once filled the docks for centuries until containerisation killed them off, and then there’s Billy Fury. If the first 50 years of the twentieth century was characterised by war, selflessness and death, then the latter fifty years was certainly characterised by excess, selfishness and consumerism. Maybe Billy was in the right place after all.
For whatever reason, Liverpool did not pen up any further for me on that day. It was far too windy for any Naked Bungee jumping and I didn’t think my message from Lamentations was for the public square. It was time to go.
On the way to Preston I pulled over at a Maccy D’s, got some coffee and did some typing. It was getting dark when I left. As I pulled into Preston the rain was hosing it down, the car was being buffeted by the wind and my phone rang. The guy told me his name, but I could not re-pronounce his last name “Brother I will call you Jonathan ‘O’ instead!” He laughed. He said that he had been googleing for 66 Cities and found my website and wanted to ring me an encourage me and tell me that I was not alone. He wanted to pray for me. I pulled over to the side of the road and in the dark, with the rain beating against my bonnet, Jonathan ‘O’ prayed for me. Lovely jubbley.
Jonathan ‘O’ had something to do with the National Day of prayer and had a vision of representatives from each city carrying their banners/emblems of their cities into an arena for a national. I think this is great and tell him that I will personally invite each Mayor I meet to such an event. Its time to get back on the road and I will find out who Jonathan ‘O’is tomorrow.
I arrive at John and Jeans. I get sat down, and am virtually immediately given a mug of tea and fish and chips out of the oven, with bean, tomatoes sauce and NO vinegar. Oh my goodness. We talk for ages. I have known John and Jean since 1980. John Howarth took on the task of disciplining us after John Cropley handed me over when I moved from HMS Caledonia to HMS Neptune. They were the first people to financially support us and do so to this day. Amazing.
I can’t remember what time I fell into bed, but in their lovely home, I was welcome, fed fat warm and happy. I was not alone.
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