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All three Bishops from The Church of England in Lancashire have reflected on four days of mission in Liverpool Diocese at the weekend as part of the latest Northern Bishops’ Mission event led by the Archbishop of York.

Rt Rev Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley and Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff travelled from Blackburn Diocese to be in Liverpool Diocese (which stretches well beyond the confines of the city itself) for four days, from March 7–10.

Our full preview story before the event is here for background.

Each Bishop from across the north of England took a team from their Diocese and they were collectively assigned to a local ‘Deanery area’ within the host Diocese.

The teams

  •  Bishop Julian Henderson and Heather Henderson were joined by Rev Tim Horobin, St James, Lower Darwen, Lisa Horobin, from St James and also Diocesan Adviser to primary schools and academies plus Rev Toby Wright, visiting from Oxford Diocese.
  •  Bishop Philip North’s team consisted of Rev Tracey Charnock, Holy Trinity South Shore, Blackpool, Rev Adam Thomas, Asst Curate, Lytham St Cuthbert, Rev Rebecca Feeney, Assistant Curate, Standish St Wilfrid, Sian Howell-Jones, Blackburn Cathedral, Sam Herring, St Thomas’, Lancaster, Rev Andrew Osborne, Vicar of Heysham, St Peter, Rt Rev Geoff Pearson (former Bishop of Lancaster, now retired and living in Liverpool Diocese).
  •  Bishop Jill Duff’s team featured Rev Jon Scamman, Vicar, St Thomas’, Lancaster, Sharon Collins, Urban Evangelist and M:Power training centre tutor from St James, Lower Darwen, Rev Mary Ashton, Associate Vicar, Euxton Parish Church, Rev Grant Ashton, Vicar, Euxton Parish Church and Assistant Archdeacon of Blackburn; Lorelli Hilliard, Vicar, St John’s Great Marsden and St Philip’s Nelson and Adrian Wolton, Chaplain, St Thomas’s Ripley CE Academy, Lancaster and Pioneer Minister.

Bishop Julian said today: “The event encouraged local Christian communities to be more outward looking; more mission minded. It was good to work with the local teams and, as well as parishes, we saw some good work too in local schools across the Deanery area where we were based.”

Bishop Philip added: “I would like to particularly highlight the remarkable work of Christ Church, Norris Green, and their vicar, Helen Edwards."

"This parish has no church building just a vicarage, and yet their outreach into the community is completely extraordinary."

“It was a privilege to join in with a weekend of outreach events with them and to engage with many non-Christians. I really hope that this parish is able to raise the money and achieve their dreams in providing a new church and community space for the people of Norris Green.”

And Bishop Jill commented: “Our team loved our time in Huyton Deanery; going into schools; meeting teenagers in youth clubs and on board Eden Bus, which is part of the Eden Project and even helping with a local ParkRun."

“What we loved was the fact that often we were getting more from the mission that we put in! As one of our team leaders, Sharon Collins, put it,'We came here on mission, but we also learned so much as well’.”

Team members supporting our Bishops included Rev Grant Ashton, Vicar of Euxton, who said: “Churches we worked with were really connected with their communities. There was a real sense of community, certainly where we were in Huyton and around Kirkby. I was particularly taken with the ‘Better Together’ theme at St George’s Church in Huyton."

“They were celebrating that weekend – after recently completing a reordering of their church – they chose that theme to highlight working closely with their local community and ‘Laurel and Hardy’ were also on hand to symbolise being ‘better together’!”

In descending order, pictures above show our three Bishops on various school visits during the Mission.

Top picture features Bishop Julian talking to pupils at St Philip’s in Southport; then it's Bishop Philip and Rev Rebecca Feeney from St Wilfrid’s, Standish (seated at desk) on a visit to Blueberry Community School in West Derby Deanery; finally Bishop Jill is pictured with pupils from Hope Primary. 

The final picture shows Rev Grant Ashton and Rev Mary Ashton, from Euxton Parish Church near Chorley, with ‘Stan and Ollie’ at the ‘Better Together’ event at St George’s Church, Huyton.



Ronnie Semley