I hadn’t fully realized when I was finally on my flight to England (and happily deciding which in-flight movie to watch) that if I didn’t sleep on the plane, I wouldn’t be going back to sleep until bedtime in my new time zone. According to my estimate, I was awake over 30 hours the day I flew over here to Liverpool. I guess this is the first lesson of being an official missionary of the Episcopal Church: get some sleep on red-eye flights.
However, I couldn’t have asked for a warmer or kinder welcome in Liverpool: Canon Malcolm and Jen (my new fellow Tsedaqah community member) were wonderful and kept me awake that first day with generous amounts of coffee, a tour of Liverpool Cathedral and the Diocesan offices, and a delightfully bombastic concert at Liverpool Philharmonic. Everyone else I met that day and since has been as lovely to me as I’ve settled in. Liverpool, on the whole, is a wonderfully welcoming place.
Tsedaqah (seh-DAH-kah) is a community in the Diocese of Liverpool that grew out of the Triangle of Hope ministry, which continues to promote mutual respect, support, and admiration between three provinces of the Anglican Communion previously connected by the Atlantic Slave Trade: The UK, the US, and Ghana. Tsedaqah House is where Jen (a native of the area), Kenneth (from Ghana), and myself (from the US) will live in community with each other as well as engage in the mission of the Cathedral and Diocese. This work we do together with a wonderful support system: Canon Ellen (Director of Social Justice in the Diocese and Canon Chancellor at the Cathedral), David and Debra Walker (clinicians extraordinaire), as well as Canon Malcolm, among others.
Tsedaqah House, where we live, is located on Lady Chapel Close, in the buildings across the parking lot from the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral. It’s wonderful to be so close by to such a place as the Cathedral—a stunning place of encounter with other people from all over the world as well as with God. And yes, Mom, I’ve been going to Evensong as much as I can, which is, as Canon Bob said, like stepping into a “jacuzzi,” warm and inviting. Probably my favorite place in the Cathedral is the Presbytery—the pews facing each other between the Quire and High Altar—to sit there and soak up a sublimely sung Evensong and lift mind and heart to God at the end of the day.
My exact role here is yet to be defined, and it won’t be until I’ve met and shadowed each department in the Cathedral. It will probably involve some sort of work in Music and Liturgy, but I’m keeping as open a mind as possible for now while I continue to meet different folks and learn about their tasks and activities. I do know that I’ll be helping in the Dean’s Office with liturgy planning. I also take part in the life in Tsedaqah House, in which we operate a guest room. (This is where my B&B experience will come in handy!) As an intentional community, we are putting to practice the Benedictine emphasis on hospitality.
I also recently rescued a (stuffed-animal) dog whom I have named Scruffy from one of the big chain stores. He currently rules the bed in my room, but allows me to sleep there. Between Scruffy and Jen’s new lion pillow, in Debra’s words, “Tsedaqah house is turning into a zoo!”
Thanks for reading this update on my missionary blog! I’m a missionary of The Episcopal Church, serving in Liverpool, UK. Make sure to subscribe at the bottom of the home page to get an email when I next post an update. God bless, and thank you!
Eager to read more? Check out the “Meet the YASCers” page of the website of the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) of the Episcopal Church to find the blogs of my missionary colleagues: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/YASC/meet-yascers.