A Liverpool couple who have spent more than 50 years promoting relations between communities and churches have been awarded Honorary Fellowships by Liverpool Hope University.
Philip and Enid Lodge, who live in Liverpool but are originally from Bradford, were presented with their fellowships at the university's Foundation Day celebration.
Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor & Rector of Liverpool Hope University said: "We are delighted to welcome Philip and Enid Lodge as Honorary Fellows of the University. Their faith in God and commitment to the common good and work in developing young leaders set them apart as citizens of our city. They deserve public recognition. They have shown that education is the way forward. The impact they have had in Liverpool and abroad is tangible."
Philip and Enid spent time preaching and teaching in Eastern Nigeria in the 1960s before having to flee due to the Biafran War. They then worked and ministered in Harrogate, Wolverhampton and Nottingham before moving to Liverpool with their four children in 1980. They have been active contributors to Liverpool’s education and church communities ever since.
Philip became Head of Liverpool's first inner-city community school, Paddington Comprehensive, which remained a source of stability throughout the Toxteth Riots in the 1980s. He was also part of the group that drew up Liverpool's first Race Equality Education Statement, before moving to Netherley Community Comprehensive School in 1985. Philip retired from teaching in 1998, but is still Chair of the Valley Theatre, a Youth and Community Initiative on the site of the former school.
Enid initiated The Fourth Dimension Ecumenical Charity shop in Huyton, which was opened by Bishop David Sheppard in October 1981. The shop has nurtured hundreds of people in need, supported charities locally and raised more than £250,000 for Christian Aid water projects in Mali. Both Enid and Philip continue to serve on the management council, with Philip acting as Chair.
The couple’s passion for ecumenism springs from their own experience - Enid is Anglican and Philip is Methodist. Philip was Chair of the Department for International Affairs of the Merseyside Ecumenical Assembly, established in the 1980's by Archbishop Derek Worlock and Bishop David Sheppard, which sought support for peace and justice issues of the World Council of Churches. Enid developed international links within Christian Aid and the United Nations Association (UNA) Networks and is currently UNA-UK Board Member for the North-West. Both Enid and Philip remain officers of the Liverpool UNA Branch. Philip has also been an Observer status member of the Merseyside Council of Faiths for the past 12 years.
As Liverpool-Cologne Church Link members, the pair have supported visits and events between the two cities and have worked with Liverpool Hope’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace studies.
Enid became the Voluntary Schools Officer for the Liverpool United Nations Association and organised the first annual Model UN General Assembly for sixth formers in 1985 - held at Liverpool Hope University, which has shown support for this initiative over the past 31 years. Enid also developed international links and visits between Holly Lodge Girls College and schools across Europe and the USA, as part of the Irish General Studies Project. Her work has given thousands of students opportunities of international debate and visits including Geneva, Strasbourg , Auschwitz. She was also involved in two films made by students – ‘Following Equiano' about Liverpool and slavery and 'Who Cares about Young People's Democratic Rights?'
Enid said of being given the award: “I can think of nothing more important than helping young people see the worth and dignity of themselves and others, and I am grateful for the opportunities we have had to work towards that.”
Philip added: “If what we have been involved in has enabled or encouraged others to do something similar, we have been doubly rewarded.”