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FOLLOWING on the heels of Blackburn Diocese’s Blackpool Ministry Experience Scheme, two priests in Morecambe, Fr Damian Porter and Fr Michael Childs, have developed a traditional Anglo Catholic ‘Pastoral Assistant Scheme’.

The Scheme - for which applications are now open - will be located at St Martin’s House, the former clergy residence for St Martin’s Church … between the Church of the Ascension in Torrisholme and Morecambe, St Barnabas.  

The Church of England and the Diocese of Blackburn are committed to growing the number of vocations to ordained ministry and are also committed to mutual flourishing as described in the Church of England’s ‘Five Guiding Principles’.

Traditional Catholic vocations to ordained ministry have declined in recent years, and this new scheme recognises the need to invest in, nurture and encourage vocations to ordained ministry from within the Catholic tradition of the Church of England. 

This pastoral assistant scheme provides an opportunity for those considering ordained ministry within a traditional Catholic context to immerse themselves in the life of a busy parish. 

Fr Damian and Fr Michael are looking to recruit two pastoral assistants for a year-long scheme starting in September 2020. 

St Martin’s House is adjacent to the former St Martin’s church which is currently being used by a pre-school, community groups and is home to a Greek Orthodox congregation. The pastoral assistants will offer prayer and hospitality to parishioners.

Said Fr Damian, parish priest at Torrisholme, "This scheme will establish a community with a commitment to prayer and mission to the local area. This mission will seek to reach and serve the parish community in practical ways." 

“Our pastoral assistants must show a commitment to the ongoing mission of our two parishes and the Diocese of Blackburn.” 

Fr Michael added: “This pastoral assistant scheme provides an opportunity for those exploring their vocation to immerse themselves in the life of a busy parish."

“Our two parishes offer a rich and diverse context in which to live, worship and minister, and we offer varied opportunities for gaining experience from the wider community, including nearby schools, parishes and chaplaincies, and other community projects such as the local foodbank and organisations supporting the homeless.” 

Speaking in support of the Morecambe scheme, the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev Philip North, said: “It is hard to think of a better town than Morecambe to host a scheme like this. Not only will those who participate be able to serve the people of the town, but they will be able to grow in faith and explore God’s call with some excellent and experienced priests.”  

The two pastoral assistants will be voluntary workers, each contracted to the project. They will receive a modest living allowance and expenses for their time in post, which would usually be for just under a year, starting in September and concluding in July. 

Possible applicants who would like to have an informal conversation about the scheme should email their contact details using the address below and Father Damian or Father Michael will be in touch. 

Those who wish to apply for a place on  the scheme beginning in September 2020 should  send a letter of application with CV to 

Closing date for applications 12 noon on Thursday, April 2, 2020. 



Ronnie Semley, March 2020