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A new ‘Advent Devotional’ booklet, produced by The Church of England in Lancashire and featuring clergy from across the County, is proving to be a great success.

To date more than 4000 copies of the free publication, entitled ‘A Child Shall Lead Them’, have been ordered by parishes. It is also available to download from this page of the Diocesan website. The booklet contains Bible reflections for every day of Advent on the run-up to Christmas; each specifically focused on the Book of Isaiah.  

Contributing clergy represent areas across Lancashire, including Blackpool, Preston, Appley Bridge and Parbold, New Longton, Carnforth, Higham, Fence-in-Pendle, Leyland, Chorley, Marton, Rishton, Adlington, Higher Walton, Brindle, Fleetwood, Leyland, Darwen, Lancaster, Blackburn and Burnley.

Archdeacon of Blackburn, The Venerable Mark Ireland, said: “This booklet is a wonderful way to prepare for the Christmas season as we progress through Advent. I am immensely grateful to everyone involved, particularly all our clergy who have taken time out of their busy schedules to write a reflection for ‘A Child Shall Lead Them’.  

Archdeacon Mark, who also contributed a reflection, added: “This is the first time we have produced an Advent Devotional booklet like this and after the good reception it has received from parishes, we are already planning to produce a similar booklet for Lent. 

“During this time of the pandemic, when many people have been unable to attend church in person, we know it is valued as an additional resource to help study the Bible at home; to know God’s presence in these dark days.” 

Prior to its launch, in time for the start of Advent in late November, the booklet was coordinated by Ruth Hassall, Director of Discipleship and the Making Disciples Team at the Diocesan Offices.  

In the introduction Ruth says: “In these Advent daily readings, we see the season through the eyes of Isaiah … we see that from the earliest promise of His coming, to the angelic announcement of His birth in a field outside of Bethlehem, the hope of the world is Jesus, the Son of God given to rescue and redeem a broken and weary world. 

“Our prayer is that amidst the challenges we face, we too would know the certainty of God’s promise fulfilled in Jesus … may God bless you richly this Advent.” 

Meanwhile, Diocesan Bishop Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, said today: “I was delighted to be able to offer a contribution to our new Advent Devotional booklet ‘A Child Shall Lead Them’ alongside clergy from across Lancashire.  

“The pandemic in 2020 has seen the County dealing with many challenges. This booklet, with its reflections on the remarkable prophecies of Isaiah, reminds us of the eternal hope we have in Jesus at all times; while Christmas Day itself teaches us that God keeps His promises and can be trusted.”  

The full list of contributors, in order of their appearance in the booklet (which is available to download here) is as follows … 

  • Rev Nick McKee – Director of Vocations 
  • Rev Emma Swarbrick, Assistant Curate, Blackpool St Thomas 
  • Rev David Craven, Parish Priest, Preston St George 
  • Rev Sue Timmins, Vicar of Appley Bridge All Saints and Parbold Christ Church 
  • Rev Dr Tom Woolford, Vicar of New Longton All Saints 
  • Rev Lesley Prest, Vicar of Greenlands St Anne and Blackpool St Paul North Shore 
  • Rev Canon Stephen Jones, Parish Priest, Carnforth 
  • Rev Matt Allen, Director of Training 
  • Rev Lesley Hinchcliffe, Vicar of Higham St John and Fence-in-Pendle St Annes 
  • Rev Andrew Meeson, Vicar of Leyland St John 
  • Rev Neil Kelley, Rector of Chorley St Laurence 
  • Rev Lesley Atkins, Vicar of Marton St Paul 
  • Rev Michael Print, Vicar of Chorley St George 
  • Rev Chris Holden, Parish Priest of Rishton St Peter and St Paul 
  • Rev David Arnold, Vicar of Adlington St Paul 
  • Rev Hannah Boyd, Vicar of Higher Walton All Saints and Hoghton Holy Trinity 
  • Rev David Ward, Rector of Brindle St James 
  • Rev Mo Baldwin, Assistant Curate of Chorley St Laurence 
  • Rev Canon John Hall, Vicar of Fleetwood St Peter and St David 
  • Rev Claire Cook, Tutor at St Mellitus College 
  • Rev Dr Duncan Bell, Associate Vicar of Leyland St Andrew 
  • Rev Canon Fleur Green, Vicar of Darwen St Peter 
  • The Venerable David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster 
  • The Venerable Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn 
  • The Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster 
  • The Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley 
  • The Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn 





Ronnie Semley, December 2020