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The importance of discipleship and knowing the scriptures is front and centre at the ongoing ‘Primary Visitations’ held across Lancashire and led by Rt Rev Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn.

In his ‘charge’ to those attending, the Bishop delivered some key messages in the context of where we are as a Diocese currently in our Vision 2026 journey; as well as launching a new booklet for use across the Diocese – ‘Knowing The Scriptures Better’ – which has been written as part of the ongoing ‘Bishop’s Bible Challenge’.

The special services are where all Churchwardens are formally sworn in as officers to allow them to fulfil this vital role. The Bishop also commissioned or recommissioned, new and existing Parish ‘Vision Champions’.

First up were Chorley, Leyland and Blackburn with Darwen Deaneries with their Primary Visitation being held at St Paul’s Church in Adlington. Next were Garstang, Lancaster and Morecambe and Tunstall Deaneries, with their Primary Visitation being held at St Thomas’ in Lancaster.

Primary Visitations replace, for this year only, the regular Visitations led annually by The Venerable Michael Everitt, Archdeacon of Lancaster and The Venerable Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn; although both Archdeacons were present at all the Primary Visitations.

Also in attendance at each service were the local Area Deans, as well as Ruth Hassall and Carolyn Barton - our new(ish) Director of Discipleship and our new Vision Coordinator respectively. Carolyn starts officially next month.

Around 300-400 people turned out to each service. They heard Bishop Julian say: “Discipleship is not an optional extra. It is why we have appointed a Director of Discipleship and it is what lies at the heart of making church healthy – a crucial part of our work as we move towards 2026.”

Referring to the new Diocesan booklet, Bishop Julian continued: “To be mature as disciples of Christ we need to know the scriptures better, rejoice in what God has revealed of Himself through them and be keen to encourage others to read the Bible for themselves.

There needs to be care and there needs to be training in the reading and teaching of scripture; while knowing the scriptures better will mean we can put ourselves in a place where God will be able to use us more, to the blessing of others and the growth of His Kingdom.”

Copies of ‘Knowing the Scriptures Better’ were given to everyone who attended the Visitations and further multiple copies are also available to order from the Diocesan website via the Bible Challenge page under ‘News and Events’.

For specific information about the Bible Challenge, which is now part of our ongoing focus on whole-life discipleship as a Diocese, you can visit this page on our Diocesan website. 

Meanwhile, Churchwardens should also note two ‘Churchwardens’ Briefings’; providing helpful guidance directly from the Archdeacons, will take place on June 10 at Lancaster Priory and July 4 at Whalley Abbey, starting at 7.30 pm. More details on the Diocesan website at the address above.

Venue details for remaining Primary Visitations are:

  • Accrington, Burnley, Pendle and Whalley Deaneries, May 20, 7.30pm at St John’s, Accrington, BB5 6AG
  • Blackpool, Kirkham, Poulton and Preston Deaneries, May 21, 7.30pm at St Cuthbert's, Lytham, FY8 5QL