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Preparations for Christmas are in full swing at churches across the County. This page below highlights a small selection, from across our Diocese, as examples of the hard work going on in all our parishes at this time.  

For more about Christmas in our Diocese see our Advent and Christmas Resources Page on our Diocesan website, which includes our Bishops' Christmas messages, already issued a few days ago, and much more – including Christmas services at Blackburn Cathedral.

  • For further activities from our parishes across this Christmas, follow us on social media (see the links on the homepage of this website, top right, and if you are in one of parishes and using social media use @cofelancs and #attheheartofchristmas when posting online. 

Find a church this Christmas

Before you go on to read the stories below ... are you visiting relatives in Lancashire? Looking for a church to attend over Christmas time? Or just haven't been for a while and you want to seek out some Christmas hope and cheer? Simple!

Visit the 'A Church Near You' website and put in your details to find a church nearby where you will be welcome to visit. 


St Luke’s in Blackburn town centre 

The Rev. Jason Gardner, Church Leader and Assistant Curate at St Luke’s, and his wife Rachel, who is the Youth Innovation Leader there (pictured with their family) have been leading several different initiatives in the parish as part of our ‘Lighting Up New Generations’ project.  

In the summer, the Diocese announced its plans to renew ministry ‘across the generations’ following new investment from the national church of £3.5m. 

As a ‘resourcing church’, Jason and Rachel and the team at St Luke’s will be catalysing the development of younger and more diverse leadership to lead to the revitalisation of church life and youth ministry in their parish and many others across the Diocese.  

Work has already started on the demolition of the old church hall as a key part of the project and now they are looking forward to Christmas and beyond into 2022. 

Jason says: “At St Luke’s we love holding onto the Biblical purpose of being a family on a mission to love God, love each other and love God’s world. 

“During this advent season and as a newly launched youth ministry project, that has meant so many things. We have joined together with St Aidan’s Church, Blackburn Baptist Church and St Wilfrid’s CofE Academy to provide food hampers for Children’s Services on our estate. 

Pictures from various local Christmas initiatives at St Luke’s can be seen on Rachel Gardner’s Twitter feed here

Jason continued: “We have hosted Christmas hangouts for young people in the area with a whole lot of food; organised ‘panto’ style nativities in our local primary schools – live Donkeys included – and are continuing the fun in Blackburn town centre, walking around as angels, shepherds and wise men and women telling people about the good news of Christmas. 

“We love Advent: celebrating Christ being born. What better way to invite people to live life and life to the full than to proclaim his Kingdom with feasting, fun and generosity. 

“St Luke’s has already started working with young people across Galligreaves and Bank Top in Blackburn and in key local schools, and so we’re excited that our work is taking a big step forward, including at Christmas time.” 

As well as building a bigger parish hall with two storeys, St Luke’s Church is being remodelled. Meanwhile, plans for 2022 include programmes like after-school clubs.


Hope Community Church, Grange Park, Blackpool 

At the Hope Community Church, based at the community centre on the Grange Park Estate in Blackpool, church leader Captain Matt Rowley of the Church Army and his wife Lucy (both pictured) are also looking forward to the Christmas season.  

They have been joined by Jeni and Pedro Nottingham and their baby daughter Maria. Jeni has taken on the role of pioneer evangelist working alongside Matt on the Estate, as well as in the wider parish.  

“At Christmas, we are reminded of a name given to Jesus, Emmanuel, which means God with us,” says Matt. “This is at the core of our church; God came down to men. Taking Christ and his church to the people is what we are about and being free from a church building sets the tone for us to be Christ among the people.  

“The local Scout group contacted us to be a part of our Christingle Service. Instead of them coming to us, we organised a special Sunday service at their meeting place where children and their parents came along: taking the good news to them. 

“Hope Community Church operates from two Community buildings, helping us to have a wider presence across Grange Park. ‘The Boat House’ gives us the facilities to run our Sunday service, children and youth work and at our other centre, Argosy, we run our weekly prayer meeting, outreach café and other social activities.” 

“We would love to see Grange Park transformed by the power of the gospel, and for the church to be a blessing to the people who live on the estate. 

"There are lots of things going on in the community this Christmas time with a mission focus, which we would love people to be a part of," said Matt. 


Multilingual carol service; held at All Saints, Higher Walton in Lancashire

Meanwhile, our Diocesan monthly multilingual service this month was a special Christmas carol service and was livestreamed from All Saints' Higher Walton on December 19.

Rev. Sarah Gill, Vicar of Blackburn St Stephen's and St James, led the multilingual service as usual, while Bishop Julian was the preacher. (Both are pictured in a still from the service.)

All Saints' Vicar and Curate, Rev Hannah Boyd and Rev Bryn Naylor were amongst the others who were also involved.

You can watch a full recording of the livestream from the day by clicking here for an embedded video and more information. Please share with family, church family and your friends on social media if you can on the run-up to Christmas. 


Find a church this Christmas

Visiting relatives in Lancashire? Looking for a church to attend over Christmas time? Or just haven't been for a while and you want to seek out some Christmas hope and cheer? Simple!

Visit the 'A Church Near You' website and put in your details to find a church nearby where you will be welcome to visit. 

 

Ronnie Semley, December 2021