The Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, is approaching his final week in the County as Diocesan Bishop and is continuing with his ‘Deanery Farewell Services’.
Those 14 services are taking place at churches across Lancashire.
Preparations are also at an advanced stage for Bishop Julian’s final Farewell Service at Blackburn Cathedral in 10 days on July 16 at 2pm, to which all are welcome. That service will be livestreamed here.
Other Lancashire faith and civic leaders will attend the Cathedral service, alongside current and former colleagues from the Bishop’s Leadership Team; Bishops and senior clergy from other NW Dioceses and clergy and representatives from parishes and schools around the County.
Meanwhile, Bishop Julian led his latest Deanery Farewell Service of prayer and reflection at St Laurence’s Church, Chorley yesterday, (pictured above outside St Laurence’s, fifth from the right), attended by clergy and representatives from congregations throughout the Chorley Deanery; including the parish of St Laurence itself.
At the service, the Bishop talked with warmth and humour about the key landmarks of his nine-year tenure and reflected on how the Diocesan focus was now on Jesus Christ and our Diocesan 'Vision 2026 – Healthy Churches Transforming Communities'.
He praised parishes for the way they had embraced the Vision, as well as his senior colleagues and Diocesan staff for the way they had supported and promoted Vision 2026.
Bishop Julian also spoke warmly of the emphasis placed on supporting women’s ministry in the Diocese, especially the ordination of many women priests over his nine years (he was the first Diocesan Bishop for Blackburn Diocese to do so); alongside the appointment of a Dean of Women’s Ministry.
He said: “Blackburn is now a very popular Diocese for all the clergy who come here and stay here. We have resisted the temptation to cut our investment in clergy posts unlike many Dioceses in England.
“We also really blessed here in Lancashire with the number of church schools that we support and maintain.”
During the service the Bishop also took the opportunity to highlight how an emphasis on prayer and in increasing knowledge of Scripture had underpinned his tenure.
He added: “Knowing what the Bible says is something we all must continue to work on. If we know relevant verses of Scripture we will be empowered to use them.”
This approach has been reflected in a variety of initiatives endorsed and led by Bishop Julian over the years to embed Bible knowledge across the Diocese. These have included adding memory verses to the daily prayer email circulated to parishes and monthly ‘Blackburn Prayers’ plus the introduction of a bespoke booklet for the Diocese, just prior to the pandemic, entitled ‘Knowing the Scriptures Better’.
During Bishop Julian's visit, the Vicar of St Laurence Rev Neil Kelley, presented the Bishop with a Deanery gift and also some all-important Chorley Cakes, saying: “We hope this will remind you of your time here and it comes with the thanks of us all for your ministry to us.”
Five Deanery Farewell Services have taken place so far, with a further nine in the coming days. All are welcome to attend and to take the opportunity to say goodbye to the Bishop.
The remaining dates, times and venues are:
Ronney Semley, July 2022