A GP; a teaching assistant; a bookseller; a call centre worker; a professional musician and a construction worker.
These are just some of the former or current jobs of the latest cohort of new priests and deacons – known as ‘ordinands’ – who will be ordained this weekend by The Church of England in Lancashire.
The group of 19 new Deacons and Priests – one more than 2017 and the highest number since 2013 – are currently preparing to be ordained at Blackburn Cathedral this weekend by going on retreat at the Diocesan Retreat and Conference Centre at Whalley Abbey.
There are eight Deacons and 11 Priests, many under the age of 40. Twelve of their number are men and seven are women. The oldest is 68 and the youngest (two candidates) are 29.
Watch a video on our YouTube channel featuring some of the ordinands:
Candidates will serve, or continue to serve, across Lancashire in Blackburn; Preston; Fleetwood; Standish; Ribchester; Hurst Green; Mitton; Ashton-on-Ribble; Blackpool; Lytham; Anchorsholme; Lower Darwen; Over Darwen; Hoddlesden; Lancaster; St Annes-on-Sea; Burnley; Accrington; Hornby; Claughton; Whittington; Arkholme; Gressingham; Nelson and Bispham.
Candidates hail originally from Padiham, Tunstall, Chorley, Burnley, Blackpool, St Annes, Preston, Thornton-Cleveleys and Wigan in Lancashire and further afield they also come originally from places including Leicester, Newcastle and Pakistan.
Photos and media questions and answers from both the Deacons and the Priests.
The youngest candidates are deacons: Rebecca Feeney, who will serve St Wilfrid’s Church, Standish and Chris Dingwall-Jones, who will serve at St. Peter and St. David, Fleetwood. The oldest candidate is Stephen Large, continuing to serve at St Cuthbert’s Burnley with St Luke’s Brierfield.
All the ordinands have willingly responded to God’s call on their lives and are ready and eager to get to work in their parishes to help fulfil our ‘Vision 2026: ‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’.
On Saturday June 30 at Blackburn Cathedral the Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, will ordain eight of the Deacons while Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, will ordain eight of the Priests at services in the morning and afternoon at 10.30am and 2.30pm respectively. All are welcome.
There will be two further services for two other ordinands in parishes over the following two days.Thomas Woolford will be ordained Priest by the Bishop of Blackburn at Blackpool, Bispham All Hallows at 7.30pm on Sunday 1 July 2018, while Aiden Edwards will be ordained Priest by the Bishop of Burnley at St Annes on Sea, St Anne at 7.30pm on Monday 2 July 2018. Again, all are welcome to these services.
Bishop Julian said: “We pray for those to be ordained deacon and priest, that they would exercise a faithful and Christ-honouring ministry and that their obedience to His call may inspire others to listen and discover their vocation, whether lay or ordained.
“God is always asking, whom shall I send? So, it is a humbling moment for me as a Bishop to be able to ordain men and women who have responded to His call to serve His church.”
Bishop Philip added: “Every year we see a new group of men and women of all ages responding to God’s call to become a Priest or Deacon in His church. It is an exciting time for all of them and for their parishes which are scattered across Lancashire.”
A final ordination will take place a bit later in the year, when Judith Smith will be ordained as a Priest by Bishop Julian at Hornby St Margaret on Sunday, September 30, at 10.45am.
The Bishops will be joined at the services this weekend by The Dean of Blackburn, The Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones; the Archdeacon of Blackburn, The Venerable Mark Ireland and the Archdeacon of Lancaster, The Venerable Michael Everitt, as well as representatives from parishes across Lancashire and family and friends of the ordination candidates.
A video featuring Bishop Julian, Bishop Philip and some of our ordinands is now available to view on our Diocesan YouTube channel.
All pictures will also be available to view shortly on the Diocesan Flickr site.
Ordinations have taken place across the country and the Church of England will be tweeting throughout on its national feed (@churchofengland). Our local diocesan Twitter feed (@cofelancs) is also active using #newrevs