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On Sunday 17 May the Church of England’s national online act of worship will be broadcast from Blackburn and Liverpool.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the Church of England has broadcast a national act of worship online at 9am every Sunday to complement the online worship being offered by parishes across the country.  Those leading recent services include the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and most recently, the Bishop of London.

The service will come from the northwest, and be led jointly by two priests who are married to each other: the Rev Canon Dr Rowena Pailing, Vice Dean and Canon Missioner at Blackburn Cathedral, and the Rev Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, Rector of Liverpool.  The theme will be ‘advocacy: a voice for the voiceless’ and a number of local people will be involved, including key workers, a young chorister, and actor Dean Sullivan, better known as Jimmy Corkhill from Brookside.

You can watch or listen to the service from 0900 on Sunday here.

Canon Rowena Pailing said

‘It is always a privilege to lead others in prayer and worship, and this national act of worship is no exception. Not everybody knows that Blackburn has a Cathedral or how beautiful it is, so this is also a great opportunity to spread the word, and to highlight the work we do, especially in supporting those who are vulnerable.’

The service, a Eucharist, can be viewed by clicking here  from 9am on Sunday 17 May. Canon Crispin Pailing said,

'There are two key themes in the worship we put together (as well as the Eucharist, of course, which is definitely the unifying theme!)

  • Place. We wanted to connect the idea that this is ‘national’ worship with the fact that people normally connect to the Church of England through their locality. It is therefore place specific to Liverpool and Blackburn, and this is referenced visually (River Mersey; Blackburn Cathedral) as well as with local people (we ensured that there were local accents obvious, as well as people identified by their location).
  • Advocacy. The Gospel text refers to the Holy Spirit the Advocate, and the idea of advocacy is explored, both advocating for our faith, and advocating for those who are voiceless in our society. This is explored in detail in the sermon, but is also picked up in the confession and in the creed/testimony, as well as the intercessions.

The people involved in the worship include:

  • A GP in Merseyside
  • Verger from Blackburn Cathedral who is currently working packaging up food parcels for the homeless
  • Chorister from Blackburn Cathedral
  • Art historian from Liverpool
  • Palliative Care Nurse from Blackburn
  • Churchwarden and Cathedral Warden from each place

In addition, of course, we have a testimony/interview from Dean Sullivan, who was best known for his 17+ years playing Jimmy Corkhill on Brookside and speaks about his own faith and his advocacy for his own city.