Dreams, pageants and the rest

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 23:00 | Posted by 

This Sunday 15 May the Pentecost Pageant takes over Hope Street, with a host of events and performances running alongside the procession between the two cathedrals.  Matthew Linley talks about what to expect, and what celebrations like this mean to cities and their people around the world...

"You know something is up when an array of dog collars begin appearing in your dreams.

What’s up in this case is the Pentecost Pageant, a celebration of hope, an event (is that even the right word) happening across Hope Street on May 15th. A celebration which spills out of both Cathedrals and onto Hope Street (which will be closed for the day).

Hope Street from the air 
And what a street. What other Street in the UK can boast Cathedrals at either end, three Universities, three major arts organisations, great bars and restaurants and countless independent and creative enterprises?

What better street then to turn into a stage….populated by artists and community groups. The activity starts at 12, with stages at Falkner Street and behind the new Refinery and Costa. Then at three comes the walk of Pentecost, which this year starts at the Anglican Cathedral before concluding with a short service at the steps of the Metropoloitan Cathedral.

 On a relatively recent visit to Barcelona I was struck by La Merce, a street celebration which originated in Mary saving the city from a plague of locusts (though the Pope was a little slow in recognising the authenticity of the moment, see more on my blog here). Today the Walk of the Giants is an absurdly brilliant mix of the religious and the secular, the giants themselves representating kings, queens, nobles, biblical characters, fisherman, cooks, thieves and butchers.

And of course such shifts are not unusual, they happened with our own tradition of Mystery Plays which started within the arms of the Church before growing into what in many ways became this countries first example of community plays – associated not just with the Church but also the prestige of the city – and just like the Pentecost Pageant – calling upon vast resources of men and material.

Talking of vast resources of men, women and material do check out the (evergrowing) list of artists and groups who are taking part in the Pageant here which have been brilliantly put together by two of Unity’s regular associates …Graham ‘Mr Pea’ Hicks and Austin Hewitt with the help of Phil Jump of the Free Church.

ONe of the La Merce GiantsLook out too for the cameras. The BBC will be in town filming the morning’s service at the 
Anglican Cathedral (10am) and then capturing the Pageant for future broadcast on Songs of Praise. And the BBC are looking for your voice too…see here for more info.

Our starting point have been four words Pentecost, Hope, Celebration and Unity. The Liverpool Pentecostal walk (initiated by Pope John Paul II) has been celebrated for 34 years now and has always been a statement of Unity and Celebration

I do hope you’ll join us …come rain or shine….Sunday 15th May on Hope Street from 12.

The Pentecost Pageant is financially supported by Liverpool City Council and Unity Theatre , with the assistance of Hope Street CIC, Churches Together on Merseyside and all the artists, organisations, and businesses taking part.

For more information on Hope Street and the CIC see www.hopestreet.co.uk

Details of the event at the liverpool cathedral web site

Coverage of the event on the Liverpool Echo site

See this blog and others on Matthew's site

Scott Fulton

Scott is the Unity's Digital Officer.