Archive for the ‘Liverpool City Region’ Category

50 days of Festival Time

July 22, 2014

Reflecting on the Liverpool Festival for Business #IFB2014Liverpool Waterfront


The first event that I attended for the Festival was “Fresh Business Thinking”. When I arrived I sat down to read the programme and plot my movements through the exhibition, and Immediately two gentlemen sat down next to me and offered to buy me a coffee as we chatted. I warmed to them at this uncommon friendliness. It turned out that they were businessmen from Afganistan with plans for a food business on Merseyside. I felt this was a delightful personal introduction to the big aims of the International Festival for Business. One of the great strengths of Liverpool through history has been the welcoming of people from all nations.

The themes of the festival have been our backdrop as we prayed for the city, for businesses and business people. As we prayed for international connections and Liverpool’s role as a gateway for the UK we met with leaders from around the world, including Sri Lanka and Alabama USA. The business that I am part of, Global BioDiagnostics has a plan to serve the world with a breakthrough test process for Tuberculosis, and so the daily prayer for the nations has had a personal perspective as well as a grand visionary aspect.

During the ‘communications’ week our business team delighted to see articles published in three major publication, the most significant being Nature magazine. Another immediate reminder of the importance of the amazing world of communication, where the technology is astonishing, but we do still need to have a message. A very important part of why we began these 7 weeks of morning prayers for the Festival is that we are passionate about the message which The Forum is carrying.

Another very human dimension of these weeks of activity has been our contacts with workers who have been managing events, in Liverpool Vision, the labouring helpers in the Anglican Cathedral and event participants. Many of these people have been working almost non-stop with venue layouts being completed in the small hours. An international festival is really quite a business itself! We have prayed for strength for all these workers and thanked God for the preparation, diligence and sheer hard work that many have contributed.

Finally, as we hear that another International Festival is planned for Merseyside in 2016, we reflect on what changes will have taken place in the two years ahead. For my own business, we expect our breakthrough product to be trialled and coming onto the market. For the Forum, we expect the existing hundreds of members to collaborate, encourage and thrive in the rapidly developing North West of England. Regarding the global situation, surely no-one expects ‘business as usual’? We now have national debt out of control in many leading nations, social change accelerating in an environment bereft of clear moral leadership, multinational corporations larger than nations, and governmental instability everywhere. On the positive side, technology is opening up a global field of innovation, women are being positively released into leadership and people everywhere starting to re-engage with their communities afresh. The challenge for us all is not to just wait with expectation for the next Festival in two years, but to continue praying daily. Pray for our individual responsibilities and our collective potential. 24 months and counting!

John Manwell

Chief Operating Officer of Global BioDiagnostics Limited and Co-Founder of The Forum

Ordinary People sense that something is wrong

July 17, 2014
A time to rebuild

A time to rebuild

Friends, it seems that we are living in a time of great madness – the generation who voted (or ignored) the abortion bill, now about to vote for (or ignore) the euthanasia bill. The painful irony of a generation who voted for death in the womb, voting for their own death. Maybe this is a picture of how we are behaving financially?

I am not here to present a programme for you to sign up to, a campaign asking you to give money, and I’m not asking that you agree with my analysis. I do believe that there is a crisis developing which will progress into a catastrophe and that God is offering hope. To draw from the hope He offers we must listen to Him.

The theme for this week is finance. What a theme! Hard on the heals of  a series of banking scandals. Even last week there was a story emerging of yet another ‘mis-selling’ allegation – one that will cost up to £22 billion. We have had the stories of the banks not lending, and yet interest rates are at all time lows. On top of all this the USA and UK have historically incredible national debt levels. The USA debt is now measured in tens of trillions. I can remember the incredulity across the media when it reached one trillion. On top of this are the committed expenditures – which make the existing debt look small. Many analysts are convinced that this is not repayable in a generation. It seems that we have borrowed exorbitantly from our children. This is intergenerational abuse.

Ordinary people sense that something is wrong. British people feel alienated, and this is not just to do with the European government – but in government itself. Democracy is now down to how a handful of marginal seats will vote. Without traditional values giving a framework of morality and ‘right and wrong’ people only vote for self interest, and what will be best for them and their family. What we really believe  has become blurred.

Jesus said your heart is where you put your money. There is a battle for our hearts and the heart of the nation. Are we going to resort to entertaining ourselves or pretend that it’s business as usual?

At a recent North West Christian Business Forum we had a time of prayer and waiting on God. One person brought a word which he believed was from God, and which resonated with a good number of those present. “Something is coming – for which you cannot prepare – only learn to listen to Me.”

At a time of national social crisis and confusion about values and priorities the prophet Micah spoke a word of hope. He described a coming turning point: “There is coming a time for re-building the walls, for extending your boundaries.” God is always truthful about the state of the people, and always offers hope and a way forward.

Saint Paul described the three key values of the Christian faith: “Faith, Hope and Love.”

In the business world we would do well to rebuild the walls and extend our boundaries by promoting these values in the more everyday business world terms: “Trust, Confidence and Compassion.”

John Manwell is Co-Founder of The Forum ( and Liverpool businessman

This talk was a contribution to a daily prayer event in Liverpool Cathedral as part of the International Festival for Business #IFB2014

The Prayer of A Righteous Person is Powerful and Effective

December 31, 2013


Calvin prayer

 Photograph courtesy of Graham Jones

One of my key highlights from 2013 was this prayer written and prayed out by 12 year old Calvin Strong of Saint Helens.  In a one minute prayer – alongside 7 leaders from a wide spectrum of churches, Calvin captured the heart of prayer for Oneness and the hope of what the Church might be in the days ahead.. as you read this, would you pray along in agreement?

 Father God,

I pray for our churches, that there will be unity between the generations.

Help us to build strong relationships in You, which demonstrate Your love, to others.

As we face challenges let us be ready to support each other and offer comfort in difficult times.

May we be accepting of each other’s experiences and individuality.

In the sharing of wisdom and talents help us to show respect.

Through Your power help us, as a church family, to bring faith and hope to those who have none.

In Your mercy hear our prayer.

(hear our prayer)

Watch here as Calvin leads the stadium prayer gathering with his prayer



October 11, 2013

Multi-coloured cross

I prepared the following as an outline for the Act of Worship on Radio Merseyside on 6th October 2013:

As this is an ‘act of worship’ why not take time to read, listen to the music suggested and pray with me at the end…

We are looking at what Oneness might mean for us all across this City Region.

When Jesus left his small band of disciples after his death and resurrection 2000 years ago he told them to go and wait in Jerusalem. He said that God’s power would come upon them. A few weeks later they were together in the now famous ‘upper room’ in Jerusalem. As they waited, God’s Spirit visited them in power causing quite an uproar! From that moment the Church changed from a small group of nervous  people wondering what was happening into a bold, zealous, miracle-working, body of believers. The Jerusalem Bible describes this extraordinary event saying that it happened as they ‘had all met in one room.’

A thousand years earlier the singer songwriter and ruler of Jerusalem, King David, was inspired to write a song about coming together. A song which exclaims that God blesses us when we are united like brothers. Recorded in Psalm 133 it begins:

“How good, how delightful it is

For all to live together like brothers..”

And the psalm concludes:

“this is where Yahweh confers his blessing, everlasting life.”

These visions lead me to reflect on how God will bless us in our city of Liverpool, and even the City Region if we can really live together in unity. What a wonderful challenge! What a wonderful promise from God that we might take hold of.

Please listen to the words of this song written by the band, Blue Tree from Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has often been used as an example of how badly divided Christians can be. This song looks to the vision of what a City and region could be under God’s blessing.

Blue Tree song “You’re the God of this city”

Isn’t it encouraging to look at God as the God of our city, town or region?

Clearly the Bible view of oneness, unity and community harmony is a picture of God’s blessing on the people.

The Bible does not just simply set out rules for us to follow. More importantly, the Bible shows that what happened at Pentecost 2000 years ago in that upper room was the enabling of the people of God to be His agents of good news in the world.

The church is to be the Body of Jesus, bringing healing, wholeness and living as an example of a loving community.

In the past centuries politics and human agendas have resulted in countless splits and factions so that today there are estimated to be over 25,000 denominational groups who name Jesus as their saviour. This is hardly the example of living together like brothers which the Bible promises will bring blessings!

But! Before we give up hope, there is hope!

All around the world, in every nation and across continents the Church is maturing. As church groups realise the need to cooperate not compete;  Jesus promised to prepare a singular bride, we are seeing new expressions of oneness in so many ways. Not only are the big denominational groups looking for ways to work effectively together, but at community level where we each live, local churches are discovering partnerships and friendships across walls which have divided for decades or centuries.

The prayer which Jesus taught us to pray, which many of us learnt off by heart at school includes the line:

‘Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”

We understand that God’s Kingdom rule is clear and perfected in Heaven. This prayer that Christians have prayed since Jesus taught us, is yearning for the perfection of heaven to be seen on earth.

I chose the next song by Shane Beales because it focuses on Jesus’ word about His Kingdom coming, and Shane wrote the ‘Liverpool Song’ in this city, with God’s purposes for Liverpool in mind.

The refrain goes:

“your Kingdom come, your will be done – oh Lord,

In Liverpool your Spirit rule –  oh God.”

I have been excited to discover that more and more Christian unity movements in cities and towns across Britain are gathering momentum and doing good where they are. We know of church unity movements in more than 85 cities and towns across the UK. These networks and associations are seeking positive relationships between themselves, and at the same time seeking to build healthy relationships with the communities they serve and are part of. The Bible challenges the Church to grow up in terms of unity and it is a huge encouragement to see this happening in our days. The history of Israel describes the people of God being challenged to line up with God’s thinking and come together and put aside personal differences and selfishness. We believe that when we line up our thinking with God’s ways, He is just waiting to bless people and communities.

I was recently sent a poem about this Oneness written by Dennis Wrigley of the Maranatha Community. The Maranatha Community have been praying for church unity in this country for over 30 years.

This is the poem – called “Together”:

If you My people

will come together

in true unity

I will stand in your midst

and you will know

My real presence.


If you My people

will come together

as one family

I will reveal Myself to you

as your loving Father.


If you My people

will come together

as one flock

I will show Myself to you

as the Good Shepherd.


If you My people

will come together

as one, in shared hunger

I will feed you

and I will be for you

the Bread of Life.


If you My people

will come together

as one in praise

and acknowledge Me as Lord

I will pour out My Spirit upon you.


If you My people

will come together

as one in repentance

You will receive

My forgiveness

and you will be liberated.


If you My people

will come together

as one in obedience

and wait upon me

I will raise you as a

mighty army in the land.


If you My people

will come together

as one in love,

hand in hand,

My great power to heal

will be released.


If you My people

will come together

as one, to listen

you will hear My voice

and you will receive

the Living Word.


If you My people

will come together

as one and speak as one

My voice will be heard

throughout the land.


If you My people

will gather together

as the one living Body of Christ

you will be transformed

you will be used

as instruments of

faith, hope and love

and your nation will be changed.


If you My people

will come together

as one, before My Cross

your chains will fall off

your hearts will be free

you will rise up

and together

follow Me.

 Written by Dennis Wrigley Used by kind permission of the Maranatha Community – September 2013 

Aren’t those words an inspiration for us all to come together? An inspiration of what might yet be possible?

Jesus taught us to pray that the Kingdom would come to earth as in heaven. He later prayed an amazing prayer for all of us in John 17 verse 21 when he prayed

“May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me, and I am in you.”

Jesus prayed that we would experience the same Oneness that he has with his Father! As we seek to worship God together and pray together in one place and with united hearts, there is a tremendous blessing promised for us. We should have great hope as we observe the true coming together of Christians in every town, city, and nation.

The Church is supposed to be bringing the healing for the nations. Listen to this song written for Come Together 40 years ago, and updated for now by Denis and Lloyd Wade with choirs from across the nation:

SONG: Heal Our Land – featuring Lloyd Wade

As we come together, we can call on God to heal us and for us to bring healing.

Let us pray together:

Lord, you are our creator, and you made us to live in community. Your Body is called to live as your ambassador and servant in the world. We are to be your hands and voice where we live. Would you inspire us to put aside our personal prejudices and opinions to serve others with grace and truth. Would you help your Church, the Church which bears your name, to express Oneness in our land.


Lord Jesus, stir up an increased desire in your Body, the Church, to come together in worship and action. Breath again into us as you did at Pentecost in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Send us out in the power and zeal of the Holy Spirit as you began in that upper room. Let your People carry the blessing of the goodness of God into all our communities as you entrust us with all the more as we live in harmony.




Liverpool – 2012 – Liberty Gateway

December 19, 2011

A few days ago, we were given a prophetic word for Liverpool:

“2012 is the year in which Liverpool is being called to seize hold of its redemptive calling in relation to the slave trade”

Mark Stibbe speaks around the world on the subject of the Father’s love. What made this prophetic comment particularly interesting was not that he is well travelled and influential, but the timing of this word.

For years some of us have been observing some amazing links developing with the Americas and Africa in connection with a tremendous positive re-connection of the communities which were involved in the African slave trade. A number of those involved believe that we are witnessing a tri-continental movement which will bring healing and reconciliation between races on a global level.

In the context of global change – NOW is certainly the time for Africa to rise to responsibility and partnership in world affairs.

In the current state of the UK economy, NOW is a moment of transition for Liverpool – to either slump with the loss of public sector employment, or rise up with the solidarity, creativity and entrepreneurism which the region is famed for.

In the world of internet and intercontinental travel, this is NOW the time for new international relationships and partnerships which heal old wounds, bring communities together and empower the next generation.

With social disorder and tension threatening, there has not been a more critical moment for racial, ethnic and cultural groups to show that we can work together for the good of society. This is true globally, and locally.

Liverpool played a key role in sending people to the nations when Great Britain was exporting its culture and economic aspirations. Liverpool played a leading role in the investment in enslaving people for economic returns. Liverpool has for centuries been a gateway for cultures, economic ventures and international relationships. Because of its history and reputation, along with London, Liverpool has a key role to play in representing the United Kingdom in the world of sport, music, culture and education.

The coming twelve months of 2012 really will be the season for Liverpool to seize hold of its redemptive destiny in relation to the slave trade. Not just for the betterment of Liverpool, but for the United Kingdom and the nations.

William Roscoe – Good to Great?

May 26, 2011

William Roscoe - looking to the future

Three powerful features link William Roscoe from Liverpool in 1811 to Liverpool in 2011: He had a passion for Liverpool to rise to be the cultural capital of Europe. He was determined to see the end of the slave trade, and he understood the value of communication, arts and business in making a difference in society.

Roscoe came from a humble background, his father a pub owner and market gardener. He started out helping his father but life changed when he was twelve and he bought his first book. This led him on a journey of self education and awareness of the arts. He qualified as a lawyer, wrote poetry and fell in love with the classic arts and in particular Italian art and culture.

Although he became a successful banker and lawyer he held onto his beliefs and values. While he was collecting Italian art he was writing moving poetry and used his poems to challenge the educated classes to think differently. In one poem he saw through the ages to a time when Liverpool might suffer hard times:

“The time may come – O distant be the year – When desolation spreads her empire here, When Trade’s uncertain triumph shall be o’er, And the wave roll neglected on the shore . . . and not one trace of former pride remain”

His passion and determination to see the transatlantic slave trade ended was captured in a 10,000 word poem called ‘The Wrongs of Africa’ captured in these few lines of challenge to British society and Christians:

 Blush ye not,
To boast your equal laws, your just restraints,
Your rights defin’d, your liberties secur’d,
Whilst with an iron hand ye crush to earth
The helpless African; and bid him drink
That cup of sorrow, which yourselves have dash’d
Indignant, from oppression’s fainting grasp?

Roscoe directed his vision and values on many fronts. He was successful in business, promoted the value of parks and the countryside, championed the arts and was active in politics on behalf of the poor and oppressed. He was elected as an MP and spoke for the bill abolishing the slave trade in 1807.

This man sets an example for leadership in 21st century: He was a man of conviction and values, who demonstrated determination in his own education and business development. He was a campaigner for human rights and environmental concerns. He was not afraid to venture into politics and risk making enemies by challenging the status quo. Roscoe understood that greed and abuse of fellow human beings will ultimately be judged by God, and that there is much in this life to enjoy, much more than mere material gain.

Out on the streets of Liverpool

May 1, 2010

Today, on the streets of Walton and Norris Green I met with some great people. It is great how people will take time to stop and talk while in the middle of their shopping. The sad news to report is that many people told me that they have had enough of the main political parties and far too many people believe that their vote won’t make a difference.

Calling Mrs Duffy a bigot this week reveals something much more serious than Gordon Brown’s temper: Interpreting an ordinary conversation about the real issues facing the nation as bigotry shows just how utterly disconnected big party politics has become. On the streets of Norris Green and Walton, people are genuinely concerned about jobs, immigration, the deficit, political correct nonsense and law and order.

Liverpool has been leading the way in this nation for hundreds of years. What Britain needs is a political revolution – a complete change in the way we vote and behave. What better place than Walton in Liverpool to start something fresh? Liverpool people have always

shown that they think for themselves, surely it is time to vote for something new?

Vote for a fresh approach to politics in Britain.

Liverpool – A vision of Unity

March 3, 2010

Rather than being defensive about a shared stadium, surely this is an opportunity for Merseyside football? Our city region has a tradition of being first and many innovations began here. A shared stadium and football quarter could be a very significant focus for unifying this city at a time when we face serious national  and local economic challenges for at least the next 10 years. For too long the Mersey region has been held back from our real potential because of disunity. The big picture is not just about two great football clubs finding a helpful solution, but the whole of the north of our city is starting to work together in a fresh way. We have the potential to be the premier city in Britain – not just when it comes to football!