I thought I should update you all on some of my activities here in Liverpool. Last Friday I helped the cathedral celebrate LightNight which is a one-night free arts and culture celebration across the city. Venues take advantage of the long days, the sun now sets between 9:30-10 as opposed to 4-4:30 in winter, to celebrate..well...light. The main space of the cathedral featured performances of many choirs to start off the night before a DJ and light show start and went till late in the night.
The Lady Chapel featured an icon of Christ surrounded by loads of candles, incense, which the cathedral does not typically use in services, this cool soundtrack, and places for people to light their own candles. There was also sung compline every hour which people could participate in if they wanted but mainly space became a sort of respite from the loud music of the main space. Many were drawn into the beautiful way the icon was presented on simmering blue and orange cloth in the haze of incense, below the beautiful blue stained glass windows of the Lady Chapel. Many took pictures of the altar and spent a long time just looking at it.
The use of the space could have offended either the religious, as the high altar of the cathedral did become a sort of backdrop for a dance party, and I did at one point have to protect the Paschal candle from the overflow of dancers but the more secular audience could also have been offended as compline was never announced it sort of just happened and one could have felt slightly trapped in a religious service by social convention. Yet, the magic of the night was that things just flowed into one another. Space was made for a convergence of religion and secular. The cathedral showed it's commitment to being a space for all people. A people's cathedral, not something above the city but connected to it. I don't know that I can come close to conveying how important I think that is here and in other places but I hope it continues.
If you would like to see some of my videos of LightNight you check them out on my Instagram here.