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On Tuesday, it was announced that Bishop Philip, the current Bishop of Burnley, is to be the next Bishop of Blackburn.

Speaking at St Christopher’s Church of England High School, Bishop Philip talked of his vision for the Church in Lancashire, outlining his three priorities as Bishop of Blackburn.

Bishop Philip said he planned to focus on continuing the growth of local Christian communities; tackling social injustices and financial hardship in the country; and he committed to doing more to develop opportunities for young people in Lancashire.

The new Bishop of Blackburn-elect commented: “I believe with all my heart that God has called me to carry Jesus across Lancashire, to bear witness to his love and peace here. I have done that for the past eight years as Bishop of Burnley, and I will go on doing that as Bishop of Blackburn.

"I am delighted to be staying in a county that I love very deeply indeed, delighted also that we will be able to carry on the work here in Blackburn Diocese.

"There are three things for which I will be labouring tirelessly in the years to come.

"Firstly, I am committed to continuing the growth of the church in Lancashire, helping to build joyful Christian communities.

"Secondly, I would love to see the Church of England in Lancashire being an ever-stronger voice for justice, especially for the poorest.

“And thirdly, I believe children and young people need to be at the very heart of all that we do. The current generation of young people is such an impressive one, with a real desire to build a better world. Yet at the same time I know that life is not always easy for them. There are such exciting opportunities for young people in Lancashire – we need to see more."

Reflecting his three priorities for the Diocese, during the course of the day Bishop Philip visited a school in Accrington, spoke to voluntary groups in Lancaster, and welcomed church and community leaders at Blackburn Cathedral.

At St Christopher’s Church of England High School in Accrington, Bishop Philip shared with pupils his vision for improving the opportunities for young people in Lancashire.

He spoke about the outstanding work being done by church schools and in parishes across the Diocese of Blackburn.

And he stated his ambition for every church to be a space where young people can gather together to build relationships and learn about faith and life.

Following his visit to the school, Bishop Philip met church and community leaders at Blackburn Cathedral.

Those present included the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Lord Shuttleworth; the Mayor of Blackburn, Councillor Suleman Khonat JP; the Leader of Burnley Council, Councillor Afrasiab Anwar MBE.

Also in attendance were Diocesan staff (including staff from the Diocesan Offices, the Cathedral, Bishop's House and Whalley Abbey). 

Those gathered at the Cathedral listened Bishop Philip set out his aim to continue growing the church in Lancashire, helping local congregations to reach communities and demographics that had previously been overlooked.

Click here to read Bishop Philip's address from the announcement at Blackburn Cathedral.

Continuing to reflect his three priorities for the Diocese, Bishop Philip has also travelled to Lancaster in the afternoon. 

There he met with leaders of County community groups, local charities and voluntary organisations.

Together they discussed how The Church of England in Lancashire can work with partners to be an ever-stronger voice for justice; especially for the poorest.

Groups participating in the discussions included The Olive Branch Foodbank; the Refugee City of Sanctuary Homelessness Day Centre and Facing the Past.

Also represented were East meets West Multicultural Forum; Dementia care in the community, Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy.

Bishop Philip currently serves as the Bishop of Burnley in the Diocese of Blackburn.

As Bishop of Blackburn he will lead the whole diocese, serving people and communities across Lancashire. He will formally take up his new role in May or June 2023.


Captions for pictures on this page, from top to bottom

  • Bishop Philip and Bishop Jill after the announcement was made.
  • Bishop Philip speaks to students at the Sixth Form at St Christopher’s High School
  • Bishop Philip and Bishop Jill (centre) with staff and young people at St Christopher’s in Accrington
  • The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Lord Shuttleworth; Lady Shuttleworth and Bishop Jill lead a standing ovation for Bishop Philip as he is announced as Bishop-elect of Blackburn
  • Bishop Philip meeting with the Mayor of Blackburn, Councillor Suleman Khonat JP (left) and the Leader of Burnley Council, Councillor Afrasiab Anwar MBE
  • Bishop Philip greeting Rev. Jane Atkinson, Vicar of St John the Evangelist, Little Thornton
  • A wide view of the room at the meeting in Lancaster of community, civic and faith leaders

 

 

 

 

 

Ronnie Semley  12/01/2022