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The work of Lancashire parishes in supporting communities during the pandemic features in more videos from The Church of England in Lancashire. 

These videos were first featured as part of a recent livestreamed Diocesan Conference: ‘#HomeGrown: Hearts on Fire with Love for You’. 

The road trip sequences, presented by Rev Sam Cheesman, the Bishop’s Chaplain, have been edited into separate short films by Jim Cooke of Centreline Films; the final batch now being available on YouTube.  

In one of the films, Sam visits St Thomas’ Lancaster where he meets Rev Jon Scamman who talks about getting to grips with and understanding all the coronavirus regulations and the impact of the pandemic on church life.  

Jon said: “We’ve been constantly reworking what we can do as a church: I’ve been hugely heartened by the creativity of the people in our church; the way that people have been able to respond. We moved our Sunday services online early in the pandemic and that has attracted a lot more viewers than we would normally have, from much further afield than Lancaster.” 

Jon also speaks about ongoing work on the new church centre, which is currently under construction after a major fundraising effort over the last two years.  

Sam also talks in the film to Jeanette Main, St Thomas’ Third Age co-ordinator, about how the church has managed to help people struggling with loneliness and dementia during this year, particularly hrough their 'Lyrics and Lunch' group. 

Also featured is St Thomas’s Youth Coordinator Ali Demet who explores the challenge of keeping in touch with the younger generation of the church family.  

Jon added: “It was great to be able to tell our stories of part of the church’s outreach to Lancashire over these past months; to be able to reflect on some of the challenges, and unique opportunities which this time has brought to us all.” 

Another of the films features St James' Clitheroe in the town centre. Sam interviews the Rev Mark Pickett about his experiences in lockdown with his church and then looks in more depth at a particular aspect of the parish team’s work (on ‘forest church’ in their nearby school’s eco-zone) with Helen Potts, Children and Family Worker at St James’.  

Reflecting on the film, Mark appreciated the way it highlights the challenges faced by the church in this difficult time: “Since the beginning of the main lockdown in March at St James we made the conscious decision to rise to the challenge of ‘being the church’ whilst we were not ‘in the church.  

“Members of our congregation tell us that they have learned to take more responsibility for their own spiritual growth; our pastoral team expanded in order to offer spiritual and practical care for the elderly or isolated; new ways of discipleship developed and I am particularly excited at the emergence of forest church for families, as featured in the film.  

“What keeps me going is this: The Kingdom of God is not paused … and I see faith in Him and service to the community growing day by day.” 

Final stop in this last batch of films is Holy Trinity South Shore where the Vicar, the Rev Tracy Charnock, charts the joys and griefs of worship during these difficult and challenging times. 

Tracy explains how during the first lockdown she chose not to celebrate Communion, preferring to wait until parishioners could receive the sacraments at the same time. “It was wonderful at the end of the first lockdown to be able to come back together in church, but at the same time we were only too well aware that we could not sing, hear our organ playing and receive bread and wine at the altar rail.” 

Tracy was delighted with the opportunity for witness provided by the road trip films, not just from her church but across the Diocese: “In this year of lockdowns, what an amazing opportunity for us to witness those who are faithful in serving Christ across our communities. 

“Seeing Christians across our Diocese rejoicing in carrying out God’s will has inspired and reinvigorated all our parishioners in these challenging times.” 

 A reminder the video links for each parish can be found on our YouTube channel as follows: 

Commenting on these and the other road trip films Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster, who chairs the Diocese Online Resourcing Group, added: “The road trip from our #HomeGrown conference was so popular we wanted to have them as separate films and, with this latest batch, once again we get a glimpse of the wonderful work going on every day across our Diocese.  

“When I first started as Bishop of Lancaster I would often talk about the ‘hidden treasure’ I was discovering as I travelled around Lancashire. Films like these are a great way to shine a light on each of the jewels that are our many and diverse parishes, schools and chaplaincies.” 

Captions for the above photos (top to bottom) are as follows:  

  • Sam speaks to Rev Jon Scamman at the construction site of St Thomas’ new church centre 
  • Helen Potts, Children and Family Worker at St James’ speaks to Sam about their ‘forest church’ work 
  • Rev Tracy Charnock speaks about the work of Holy Trinity South Shore 
  • Bishop Jill Duff

All videos (including livestream recordings) and resources from the #HomeGrown conference are still available to watch and enjoy. Visit this page of the Diocesan website.




Ronnie Semley, December 2020