ARCHBISHOP Derek Worlock has accepted an invitation from the Chief Constable of Merseyside, to chair discussions between the police and representatives of community groups in Toxteth, scene of renewed rioting this week.
However, it is not absolutely clear what the archbishop's role will be. The initial meeting is scheduled for this :Monday, the day before he is due to return from the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. A spokesman said that nothing had been said about him returning early for the meeting.
It seems likely that Monday's meeting will be the first of a series aimed at improving relationships between the police and the local community in Toxteth, especially young blacks.
Meanwhile, police in London were this week forced to cancel plans for a meeting with national Church leaders because several of the churchmen invited were unable to attend. The meeting was to be held on Tuesday; now the police are hoping it will go ahead in September, although no definite date has been set. A police spokesman said that those invited to take part included Cardinal Ilume.
The invitations to national leaders were sent out after the police had rejected proposals for a meeting with Church representatives nominated by the London Churches Group of the London Voluntary Service Council. The Group is angry about the decision: it said last week that over the past three years Scotland Yard had "persistently snubbed" offers to help promote greater cooperation between the police and the black community.
The police are insisting that any talks must involve national Church leaders rather than local clergy.