Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock

Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock Hope Street, Liverpool, England
Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock
Hope Street, Liverpool, England

Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock

Hope Street, Liverpool, England

 

In 2005, the Liverpool Echo newspaper launched an appeal. Its aim was to raise enough money for a lasting memorial to be created to two men, David Sheppard and Derek Warlock. Before long, £90,000 had been donated to the appeal. David Sheppard and Derek Worlock were men who meant something to the people of Liverpool.

 

David Sheppard 

David Sheppard
David Sheppard

David Sheppard was made Bishop of Liverpool in the Church of England in 1975. But that wasn’t his first claim to fame. As a young man, he’d played cricket for England, and had even been Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1983. But he was a man who put his principals before his sport. He refused to play in South Africa in 1960 because of the country’s policy of apartheid. By that time, he’d been ordained for five years already. Which makes him unique as the only test cricketer to also be an ordained minister. So far. David became Bishop of Liverpool at a time of great hardship for the city. Unemployment in the 70s meant many families lived with poverty. But as bishop, he called for social reform to help those families. Like his Catholic colleague, Derek Worlock, care of the marginalized was at the heart of David Sheppard’s faith. The two holy men wrote a book called Better Together in 1988. The message was simple – and the title said it all.  

 

Derek Worlock

Derek Worlock
Derek Worlock

Derek Worlock’s mother, Dora, was a suffragist. And from her, he inherited the same sense of injustice, and the same belief that change is possible. He became a priest in the Catholic faith as a young man of 24. And as Archbishop of Liverpool, he actively sought change by joining forces with the city’s Church of England bishop to lead shared services, and by showing that unity and togetherness across religious divides was the way for Liverpool to conquer its problems of sectarianism and poverty. He worked hard for reconciliation following the Toxteth riots of 1981, and stood by Liverpudlians of all faiths when they faced the tragedies of the Heysel and Hillsborough football stadium disasters in 1985 and 1989. He was a man dedicated to the needs of his city in its times of crisis.

 

The Bishops

Despite their religious differences, Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock were a uniting force. The services they lead together and the message of unity they preached helped Liverpool’s opposing Catholic and Protestant communities come together. As such, this statue by sculptor Stephen Broadbent doesn’t just commemorate them as individuals, but commemorates their joint message of cooperation. It sits on Hope Street, the street that runs between Liverpool’s Church of England and Catholic cathedrals. And it’s in the form of two 15ft doors. Two doors that open onto a better future for Liverpool, thanks to the men who stand in front of them.

 

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