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The Dean of Emmanuel Theological College, Revd Canon Dr Michael Leyden (front, centre left) with the Chair of Trustees, Right Reverend Mark Tanner, Bishop of Chester (front, centre right) along with other North West bishops, trustees and staff of Emmanuel Theological College outside Blackburn Cathedral following the launch service

A bright new dawn broke recently as representatives from Church of England Dioceses across the North West gathered together for a celebration service to launch the region’s newest theological college.

The special Eucharist Service took place at Blackburn Cathedral and was attended by more than 300 students, staff, trustees and bishops.

Emmanuel Theological College is non-residential and will serve the six Dioceses in the region as well as non-ministerial independently funded students choosing to study theology.

The launch of the new college is an exciting moment for the ongoing work in the North West of England to train future leaders in the Church.

The majority of the initial 2021 cohort of more than 160 full and part-time students are sponsored by their local dioceses, as part of their formation towards becoming vicars and licensed lay ministers.

It has taken more than a year of hard work behind the scenes by a cross-Diocese implementation team chaired by Right Revd Philip North, Bishop of Burnley to get to this point.

Speaking after the service, The Revd Canon Dr Michael Leyden, the first Dean of Emmanuel Theological College said, “‘I’m excited to be leading the College with its rich blend of students, staff and trustees drawn from a range of backgrounds reflecting the beauty and diversity of people from across the region.’”

Right Revd Mark Tanner, Bishop of Chester and Chair of the Board of Trustees added, ‘“It is such a joy to launch this innovative new partnership today, as we train ministers to serve every person and community in the North West and welcome them into the fulness of life that Christ offers.’”

And Bishop Philip commented: “’Emmanuel Theological College is a Christ-centred, hope-filled and mission-orientated community that exists to equip the whole people of God to serve the whole mission of God today.

The college will provide much more than just training; we have a vision to make a difference as we share Jesus’s love and put it in to practice in every single community in the North West.’”

Background information

  • Emmanuel Theological College replaces non-residential theological training provided by All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry, Cumbria Christian Learning and St Mellitus’ North-West Centre (at Liverpool Cathedral).
  • The six member dioceses of Emmanuel Theological College are: Dioceses of Blackburn (Lancashire); Chester (Cheshire); Liverpool; Manchester; Carlisle (Cumbria) and The Isle of Man, which is a Diocese in its own right (known as ‘Sodor and Man’).
  • Theological education will be delivered by the staff team from teaching centres in Blackburn Cathedral (part-time), Liverpool Cathedral (full and part-time), Church House in Penrith (part-time) and space within Nazarene College, Manchester (part-time).

Pictured above: The Dean of Emmanuel Theological College, Revd Canon Dr Michael Leyden setting out the vision for Emmanuel Theological College in Blackburn Cathedral during the launch service and, bottom pic, Vice-Chair of Board of Trustees for Emmanuel Theological College, Dr Addy Lazz-Onyenobi, and trustee, Rev. Sarah Gill from Blackburn, before the launch service 





Ronnie Semley, September 2021