When we arrived in our respective diocese and archdiocese, the constitution of Liverpool Hope University College stated that the Governing Council was to be chaired in rotation by the Bishop and Archbishop of Liverpool. We duly served for a two-year term each, but were then happy to see the roles of chair and deputy opened to the wider Hope community, not least because, as the Dearing Report noted, chairs of governing councils need to be much more intimately involved in the governance of universities and colleges. We are pleased to continue to serve in other ways, as joint Presidents and trustees.
We would single out Hope at Everton as a major contribution to Liverpool's urban renewal. The diocese and archdiocese extend beyond the city, of course, as Hope does. We therefore also wish to commend the pioneering work of the Network of Hope in the North West. All these endeavours involve vision and the risks which so often go with its implementation. This is where creativity is so often to be found, as the history of Liverpool Hope has shown from the beginning and as its recent developments have shown in large measure.
We write on Maundy Thursday as the Pope has published a statement on the Eucharist and ecumenism. This reminds us that the ecumenical journey both for Hope and for the wider Christian family is complex, often sensitive and always challenging. It is not always easy to walk together with hope in our hearts, but this we must strive to do. Given both our history and the divided nature of the followers of Christ today, there remains often a sense of frustration, but debate must continue and must be vigorous, courteous and searching all at the same time.
It is good to welcome this book at the moment when Hope expresses its profound sense of gratitude, with which we concur, to Professor Simon Lee for his leadership over the past eight years. This is the moment, also, when we all welcome his successor Professor Gerald Pillay and wish him well in his new undertakings.
It is a privilege for us to be involved in the life and development of this university college and we commend this series of essays, all with different perspectives, to anyone concerned for the unity of the church, for theology and for higher education.