Picture of Crispin Pailing

BLOG: The Rector of Liverpool reflects on his time in the city

The Rector of Liverpool, Reverend Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, is stepping down from the role, and has been reflecting on his time in the city…

My first visit to Liverpool was over twenty years ago, but when I came back as Rector of Liverpool it was like coming to a different city.

It wasn’t just that Liverpool One had been built and there had been a lot of investment in the city, but it was a more confident city and a magnet for visitors from across the world.

It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be Rector of Liverpool and it has been amazing to be at the centre of so many events. Liverpool is great at celebrating.

I have never followed sport, but some of my favourite times have been watching LFC victory parades from the Church Gardens. But I remember as well when the Hillsborough verdict came through and the emotional power of thousands of people coming together at St George’s Hall after years of calling for justice. A lot of people have got to know me through public events and celebrations, including last week’s D Day commemorations.

Behind the scenes such a lot goes on which not everyone sees. In 2018 I established the Faith Leaders’ Group to make it easier for many different communities across the city to engage with civic institutions. This has made it much easier for us all to speak as a unified voice, and it enables us to show publicly that there are fewer community tensions here than in other places.

Shortly after the bomb at the Women’s Hospital in 2021 I was able to appear before the media with leaders of all faiths, and publicize our refusal to allow people to sow division. Similarly, in the context of the current Israel-Palestine conflict the on-going dialogue between Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders has been vital to show that we can have constructive, but difficult conversations. Working with communities has been at the heart of my time in Liverpool, and during the pandemic it was a great honour to work alongside the public health team and make Liverpool a beacon of good practice nationally.

After ten years I feel that it is time to step down. I have received incredible public support for my public statements about inclusion. My family and I want to stay in Liverpool because this is a place which shares our values and we are proud to call it our home.

Liverpool Waterfront