Introducing Philip Anderson - Reflection by Canon Philip


Read Canon Philip's reflection for Thursday, 4 February, 2021.

On Sunday 7th February, at Evensong, I will be collated and installed as the Cathedral’s new Canon Precentor. On the latest count there will be 15 people present, including members of the Chapter, choral scholars, the Bishop of Liverpool, and my parents, in the Presbytery. And so, in the strange and straightened ways that our times demand, I will join the Cathedral Company, and the succession of worshippers who have gathered to offer praises to God on St James’ Mount over the last century. Please keep me, and the ministry that lies ahead, in your prayers.

As you may know I am not a stranger to the Cathedral, or the city. For the last few years I have been a canon by virtue of my office as Area Dean of Wigan, where I have served as a parish priest since 2012. And I was ordained by Bishop James in this exceptional sacred space. Over the last number of years a group of us in the season of Pentecost walked, in the course of a day, from Billinge Hill, in Wigan Deanery, to the Cathedral, on pilgrimage. It is a truly magnetic place, filled with the presence of God.

For those of us who have grown up in Liverpool since the cathedral was completed other cathedrals might be older, but there’s often the sense that they’re just, well, a bit small. The building Scott left us is a marvel, and the musical and liturgical tradition inhabiting it is rich and vibrant. I have often arranged my diary, and sometimes the parish’s, to be able to be part of the throng at ‘From Darkness to Light’, looking to the future, in God’s hands, with all the hope encapsulated in what is my favourite hymn, ‘Lo, He comes with clouds descending’. The mystery of God, inhabiting us through the Spirit, is more wonderful still, and it will be an enormous joy to work with you in lifting high the name of Christ in our city and region, as the great tower does, pointing to the Kingdom coming in our midst, even now, in these dark days.

I look forward to getting to know you, and hope you’ll understand that this might take a little longer than normal, under lockdown. It is a great comfort, however, to know that just round the corner my beloved predecessor will be at hand with the wisdom that he demonstrated twenty years ago, as Diocesan Director of Ordinands, when he recommended that I should be ordained!

Yours ever,

Canon Philip

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