No Room at the Inn
A generation ago a set of life-size mannequins were made to act as the Cathedral’s Nativity Scene, the faces were modelled on the then members of the Maintenance Team. Some were caught with expressions full of awe, which is to say, they looked pretty scary! Years of service came to an end last Christmas, with wear and tear taking their toll. The hope is to commission a new set of figures for next year. But this year three of the old set were brought out of storage to serve again, in one of the city’s other great churches, St Francis Xavier’s, Everton.
SFX is a stunning example of Victorian Gothic, built for the Jesuits, in the midst of what was then one of the biggest, most densely packed together, Catholic communities in the world. It remains a lively centre of worship and witness. Just over the street stands the Whitechapel Centre, Liverpool’s leading homelessness charity. And this year, to raise awareness and funds for the growing number of homeless people sleeping rough on the freezing city streets. A social problem that had almost been solved, by an intense focused campaign two decades ago, has returned, to our shame. Walking through the city centre, under the Christmas lights, there are signs of rough sleeping in many of the doorways.
So, our Mary and Joseph, together with one of the shepherds are at SFX, part of a gathering of nativity scenes from many local churches, a display you are encouraged to visit and support as generously as you can: https://www.whitechapelcentre.co.uk/noroom.html
With all good wishes as you prepare to welcome Christ this Christmas,
Canon Philip Anderson