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All three Bishops from The Church of England in Lancashire are heading across the Pennines to Yorkshire this Thursday for the latest Northern Bishops’ Mission event, entitled ‘Come and See’.

Rt Rev Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn; Rt Rev Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley and Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, the Bishop of Lancaster, will travel from Blackburn Diocese with a total of around 20 team members from across the County. There they will join 30 other Bishops and the Archbishop of York, The Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, in York Diocese for four days, from March 12 – 15.

Launched in 2015 by the Archbishop, the first Northern Bishops’ Mission was in Sheffield Diocese, followed by our Diocese in 2016 and two further Dioceses annually since 2017.

The Archbishop attends every Mission and is joined by many of the Bishops from northern Dioceses; all of them working with teams they bring from their home Dioceses and teams from local churches in the host Diocese to collectively spread the Gospel message.

When the Mission was in Blackburn Diocese, the event was entitled ‘Crossroads’ and was used as a platform to launch our (then) new ‘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 mission opportunities  at events over four days.

Now it’s the turn of York Diocese and their theme is ‘Come and See’ with events taking place across the region. It will be the last Northern Bishops’ Mission with Archbishop Sentamu before he retires.

The Mission begins formally with a service in York Minster at 1.30pm on Thursday, March 12, which everyone is welcome to attend.  During the service those involved in the mission will be commissioned by Archbishop Sentamu and prayers will be said for the weekend. The Archbishop will say: "I commission you for the work of this mission, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. May God grant you grace, wisdom and joy as you invite others to Come and See."

Meanwhile, the Archbishop has encouraged local parishes to step out ‘with courage, with confidence, with excitement, but above all, full of expectation that God is going to visit us in the power of the Spirit!’

Each Bishop and their teams are collectively assigned to a local Deanery area within the host Diocese. Hundreds of local events are planned, including school visits, community events, a story night, men’s breakfasts and much more!

The mission weekend will close with special church services in parishes across the Diocese on the Sunday morning.

Bishop Julian will be based in Hull West Deanery. Speaking today, he said: “We are all heading across the Pennines with teams from across Lancashire, seeking to make known the gospel of Christ to the people we meet. It will be a busy few days and we would really appreciate the prayers of the people of Lancashire throughout our time in York Diocese.”

Meanwhile Bishop Philip and his team are based in Hull East Deanery. He said: “I’ve been delighted by the energy the churches of Hull East have shown in putting together a great programme for ‘Come and See’.

“These churches serve some of the most deprived communities in the Diocese and it will be a joy to work with them in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.”

And Bishop Jill, who is based in Easingwold Deanery, added: “We have a varied programme of activities including a Soul Night; participating in school and youth work and praying on the streets. I have a great team accompanying me and we are all really looking forward to it.”


Ronnie Semley