The Bishops of The Church of England in Lancashire are heading north across the border to Cumbria this weekend for ‘Moving Mountains’ – the latest Northern Bishops’ Mission event.
Rt Rev Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn and Rt Rev Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley, will be in Carlisle Diocese for four days, from March 8-11.
Launched in 2015 by the Archbishop of York, the first Mission was in Sheffield Diocese, followed by this Diocese in 2016 and then Durham Diocese last year.
The Archbishop attends every Mission and is joined by many of the Bishops from northern Dioceses; all of them working with teams from local churches to spread the Gospel.
Two years ago, when the Mission was in Blackburn Diocese, the event was entitled ‘Crossroads’ and was used as a platform to launch our Vision 2026 – Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.
We also ensured there was a ‘legacy’ from the event, with parishes further emboldened to ‘do mission’ in their local areas following the more than 450 successful events that took place over four days.
Now it’s the turn of Carlisle Diocese and this year’s Mission – from March 8-11, will be the first time it has taken place with ecumenical partners, as part of Carlisle Diocese’s ‘God With Us’ initiative.
The four-day mission, to share the Good News of the love of God across the whole of Cumbria, begins at 12.30pm on Thursday with a commissioning service at Penrith Auction Mart, where around 400 people will gather.
As part of the ecumenical mission, there will be 33 teams led by church leaders from the Methodist Church, the Church of England, Salvation Army and United Reformed Church.
Over 500 local events are planned: from school visits to puppet making, and from pub quizzes to ceilidhs. Warren ‘Ace’ Furman, from the popular 90s TV show ‘Gladiators’, will also be touring Carlisle Diocese as part of the Archbishop’s team, telling the story of how he became a Christian.
The mission weekend also includes Mothering Sunday celebrations, with some churches giving out daffodils, putting on pamper sessions and hosting afternoon teas. Find out more at: http://www.godforall.org.uk/moving-mountains/
Each Bishop takes a team from their Diocese with them to help with the mission work and collectively they are assigned to a local ‘Deanery area’. Bishop Julian will be based in Brampton Deanery, near the city of Carlisle.
Speaking today, Bishop Julian said: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to spend four days focussed on mission work in Carlisle Diocese with the Archbishop of York; fellow Anglican Bishops from across the northern province; my own team from Blackburn Diocese and the ecumenical teams of clergy and parishioners from across Cumbria who have been preparing for 'Moving Mountains' for many months now.
"All the Bishops, me included, have packed schedules over the four days as we seek to remind people of the relevance of the person of Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers in their lives today."
Meanwhile Bishop Philip and his team are based in Barrow Deanery. He said: “I am really looking forward to going to Carlisle Diocese for ‘Moving Mountains’ and excited about the opportunities we have to share the Gospel.
“I will be based in Barrow with a great team and we are involved in a huge range of events … with many of the gatherings being arranged by local churches. So it really is grassroots mission work.
“There will be a chance to engage with some civic and business leaders at an event in the town hall. We are also eagerly awaiting an evening with Warren from Gladiators!
Bishop Philip added: “I am delighted the Archbishop has continued to lead this initiative which is now a regular fixture in the northern church calendar.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “The heart of the Christian faith is about having a personal encounter with Jesus – an encounter which transforms and brings hope and love.
“I have been so encouraged as I have shared in the different missions over the past few years, to see people becoming more confident in sharing the faith they have in Jesus Christ.
“And we have the greatest news to share – that we are loved and accepted by our Creator God, and that he wants us to know him through his Son Jesus Christ – fantastic!”
Watch a ‘Moving Mountains’ video message from the Archbishop here: