Mersey Maritime hosted a fact-finding tour for two new bishops in the Diocese of Chester on Wednesday 2 February 2022.
Julie Conalty, Bishop of Birkenhead, and Sam Corley, Bishop of Stockport, took up their posts in the area in September 2021. As part of the senior ministry team in the diocese, which includes Wirral and Cheshire, they have embarked upon a series of visits around the region to familiarise themselves with local businesses, organisations and significant industries locally.
Mersey Maritime CEO, Chris Shirling-Rooke, and Head of Policy and Partnerships, Simon Eardley, briefed both bishops on the work of the country’s leading regional cluster organisation in the area and the critical role Mersey Maritime plays in championing the industry locally to secure jobs and regeneration for the local coastal community.
This was followed by a visit to the Cammell Laird shipyard where Bishops Julie and Sam were given a presentation on the RRS Sir David Attenborough project, undertook a tour of the site to see for themselves current projects and then met a team of apprentices.
The day ended with a briefing on the Wirral Waters regeneration scheme being championed by Peel Land & Property in the Birkenhead Docks area.
Commenting, Chris Shirling-Rooke said, “We were delighted to welcome Bishops Julie and Sam to Mersey Maritime and to give them a snapshot into why our industry matters so much to the area in which they are now serving.
“Maritime has a deep and long attachment to this region but it never rests on its laurels and is always looking to the future. As we respond to the big challenges of our time, from decarbonisation through to how we bring about regeneration in coastal communities, the range and depth of our work is both exciting to see and something we are very proud of.
“Mersey Maritime sits at the heart of a diverse sector – from our ports through to shipbuilders like Cammell Laird, maritime business services and partners such as Peel L&P who are delivering the most exciting regeneration project in the North West at Wirral Waters.
“Our story is a great one and something we are always keen to tell. Engaging with faith leaders in our region was a real pleasure for us and we look forward to future opportunities to showcase our fantastic industry in the years ahead.”
Commenting, Bishop Julie, said, “The Diocese of Chester can’t escape water and the significance of the maritime industry to our area. We are flanked by the Dee Estuary, the Mersey Estuary and the Manchester Ship Canal and it is a really key source of employment for many people.
“Maritime is so important for Birkenhead where I also have my home but it isn’t just about the long association of the town and its people from an historical perspective.
“The industry has an essential role to play in the regeneration of the area and in addressing many of the challenges that communities face locally. I was inspired to see for myself some of the work that is underway, particularly in the Birkenhead docks area with the massive Wirral Waters project which points to a positive future for the community and those who live and work here.
“I look forward to continuing to engage with the maritime sector in the future and exploring ways to put faith into the mix of projects that are designed to have a big impact on the life chances and opportunities for local people.”