Moving in the right direction
We are at the last day of fifty days of prayer cover for the International Festival for Business.  Our Prayer Gathering on Wednesday 4th June until today - Fifty days to the day.  I recall three moments of revelation from my personal involvement in this Festival, three points that came to me from my engagement in prayer, in attending events, in being part of the life of this city during this special time.  Three moments that cover the past, the present and the future to come.
The first came driving to an early morning prayer meeting, here at the Cathedral, on a morning like today when the city is bathed in the sunlight of this extra-ordinary summer.  I was sitting at traffic lights watching the early morning traffic streaming into the city, all the volume you would expect of a busy commercial centre waking up to the new day - and I was reminded of the first day I came to this city early in the morning; a day some twenty five years ago when I drove through empty streets, no cars moving, no people in sight.  I wondered then, in amazement, what kind of city it was, that at 7.30am it seemed to have no life at all.  We have come a long way in those twenty five years.
My second moment came when I stood in the Festival’s Hub Centre Business Lounge, five stories up in a building  of black glass and acute angles, looking out across the Albert Dock and Liverpool One Shopping Centre - as fine a waterfront scene as you could find anywhere in the United Kingdom, perhaps in Europe, perhaps in the world.  As I looked, a familiar view transformed by the new perspective, in my mind all the buildings that had been created in these last twenty five years were suddenly gone leaving great gaps and the ghostly images of shabby sixties developments in their place, the Albert Dock isolated from the city centre, surrounded by car parks.  The moment over, I look again in wonder and delight at the vibrant waterfront scene before me.  We have come a long way in these twenty five years.
For my look into the future I go to a Festival event that was considering Liverpool’s economic future: it was a presentation that showed how the widening of the Panama Canal, due to be completed in 2015, will have a transformative impact on world shipping patterns - Liverpool will once again find itself strategically located to benefit from these new patterns, just as the UK’s own logistical patterns change and Peel Holdings complete the new in river Container Dock and begin the linking of Liverpool, Manchester and the new Port Salford in a multi modal  highway that will transform the North West and re-balance the economy of the United Kingdom.  An extra-ordinary convergence of developments that once again gives Liverpool the capacity to become one of the great seaports of the world in the twenty first century.  We have enormous opportunities in the next twenty five years.
Three snapshots to take away from these fifty days.  Good moments, moments to give us hope in the face of a future that is going to bring enormous change, particularly economic change, very soon.  When we stand here, in this Cathedral, in two years time, when the 2016 International Festival for Business begins, what sort of world will we be part of?  No doubt we will face challenges undreamed of this bright morning as this Festival comes to its end.  But we can be certain of this - Our Father, who loves us, holds this beloved city in the palm of His hand; He delights in us and it is His great desire to see us come into the fulfillment of all that He has planned and purposed for us.  Amen.
Christopher Gibaud 
25th July 2014  

Lynda Cooper, 07/08/2014