As part of the exchange program, we have four weeks of British Life. This week it was faith week. One of the places we visited was the Liverpool Cathedral. As cathedral construction goes, it was built rather quickly and is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. The building process spanned across both World Wars.
Some highlights are being able to go to the top tower, the small cathedral within the Cathedral, and the whispering arch; one person sits on one side of the arch and the another sits on the other side, and if you whisper the other person can hear you as though you are sitting right next to them. As much fun as it was to experience it, I really enjoyed watching others’ reactions. Final thing that is cool about this Cathedral is the creator also created the red phone box. So random, but I love it!
The next day, we learned about Islam. It was interesting to me. I did not know about a lot of the things they said so it was super informational for me. Fun Fact: the first mosque in the UK was built here in Liverpool.
We went for a stroll in the park to another church. We could see Wales from the church steps, and it wasn’t a very high visibility day either.
Wednesday, we had a fun activity where they gave up clay and told us to make new creations like God did with clay. Then we listened to the Popes speech about climate change. What struck me most about the session was the way we were told that God left us in charge of the land, and we are not doing what is best and destroying Gods’ creation. We wrote on a piece of paper what we will pledge to do to make the world around us a better place.
The second session was based around a religious/community group called The Focolare Movement. Things I pulled out of this session is that it was started by a woman. There are lots of variations all over the world expressing their beliefs in different means such as art and dance or speaking to the public and children. The religion is based in peace and love. Once again, the first establishment in the UK was in Liverpool.
The next day we had sessions on Viking religion, but I was too sick to go in.
One other thing to mention about my time in Liverpool. There is a new expedition called The History Whisperer in St. Georges Hall. I went on a Wednesday afternoon and only three other people were in my group, so it was super personal. The story starts off with you watching a ten-minute clip to start Livie’s story off. She wrote letters to her dad, and those letters have been documented to showcase some of what happened. After that you are met with the second guide who takes you down the hall to where the prisoners would come through the gates and into the cells each day. I walk through this gate often and had no clue that these gates were created for prisoners.
There are 13 cells, but we only went into three. The walls have timelines and inside the cells there are people who were sentenced here. Because of advances in technology, they look the faces of actual prisoners tried here and made them into sort of a Harry Potter moving picture thing. You can touch their faces to see who they were, what their crime was, and what their punishment was. The biggest take away from that room is punishments were very different and not equal.
The timeline was outside of the cells, so while you waited for the new session to start you could touch the pictures and read about important event in the halls history. My favorite picture was taken in quite a peculiar way. Obviously, drones did not exist back then, so they tied a camera to a pigeon and that is how the picture was taken. Made me laugh.
Our first guide mentioned a cemetery in the back with about 17,000 people in it. While we were waiting for the next film to start, I was like, can we back up to the cemetery part. The second guide was like, no there’s 44,000 people. I said are they still in the park? He said yes. I said is there a plaque to tell you, he said no. The story takes a turn here so read with caution. The third guide then added in that while they were building, the ground kept shifting causing the dead bodies to emerge out of the ground… yeah, a terrifying thought. They got tired of trying to keep them in the ground and took out the church that used to be there and that is how they have kept the bodies in the ground. I haven’t looked at a park the same since.
From the cells we went back up to the court. They had two jury boxes, so they were running two hearings at a time. Once one jury went down to discuss, the other jury began their case. Then they would go down and the first would state the results and start a new process. Crazy. When we went into the court room we sat in seats where people would come to watch. It was an impressive experience with holograms of the judge and voices from all around you.
We then made a stop in the Grand Hall where you can have weddings and concerts, and that was the end of the tour. We talked about the statues and what the steps meant, the tiles, and symbols. I really enjoyed the experience because of how much I learned and the size of the group was not overwhelming, allowed for conversation.