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A GROUP of 24 new Priests and Deacons are all set to celebrate embarking on a new phase of their lives as a joyous weekend of ordination services in Lancashire approaches.

The events are anticipated in a new video released today featuring five of this year’s cohort, which is available now on our YouTube channel and also features Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Blackburn and Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, Anglican Bishop of Lancaster.

The ordinands in the video are Emily Barry, Stuart Longworth, Jean Kouacou, Jenny Guilder and Kathryn Sperring who will serve respectively in Ribbleton, Buckshaw Village, Adlington, Morecambe and Little Thornton.

They, together with the other men and women in the 2023 cohort (collectively known as ‘ordinands’) will be ordained to serve in The Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese) to support our ongoing work across the County and to tell people about Jesus as part of our ‘Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’.

Currently all the ordinands are on retreat at the Diocesan Prayer and Discipleship centre at Whalley Abbey, prior to the weekend.  

Places they hail from originally from include places as diverse as Poland, Devon, Bangladesh, Lowestoft, Northern Ireland, Ivory Coast and many places around the UK.

Former or current jobs include occupational therapist; supermarket worker; plumber; secondary teacher; a council head of commissioning; council intern and a Cathedral verger.

The group are currently preparing together for ordination while on retreat at our Diocesan Centre for Discipleship and Prayer at Whalley Abbey.

Deacons will be ordained at Blackburn Cathedral on Saturday at 10.30am by Bishop Philip. There will also be the ordination of one ‘Distinctive Deacon’ at the same service and the receiving of one of the Priests.

Meanwhile the remaining Priests will be ordained on Sunday at churches across the Diocese - Broughton St John at 10.30am; Christ Church Thornton at 2pm and Chorley St George at 5.30pm - by Bishop Philip, Bishop Jill and Rt Rev Tony Porter (Honorary Assistant Bishop serving in our Diocese) respectively. 

  • Livestream for Cathedral service is available here on their YouTube channel
  • Livestream for Broughton St John is here on YouTube
  • Livestream for Thornton Christ Church is available on YouTube or Facebook 
  • A livestream may be available for St George's and will appear here if so.

Senior clergy from the Diocese will also be in attendance at the services alongside the Bishops. The Dean of Blackburn, Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones will be at Blackburn Cathedral with Ven Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn and Ven David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster. Archdeacon Mark will also attend the service at St George Chorley; Archdeacon David will attend at Broughton St John and both Archdeacons will be at the Christ Church Thornton Service.

A full list of this year’s ordinands and the churches and locations where they will serve can be found here.

All Priests and Deacons will serve, or continue to serve, across Lancashire in the following villages and towns: Chorley (2), Blackburn (2), Ribbleton, Thornton-le-Fylde, Darwen, West Pendleside, Hoddlesdon, Broughton (2), Lea, Morecambe, Leyland, Buckshaw, Adlington and Lancaster.

Meanwhile, all our ordinands have all completed ‘profile questionnaires’. You can read them here alongside individual pictures of each candidate. 

Social media coverage of the ordinations will appear on our Diocesan website news pages; on social media at Twitter @cofelancs; Facebook/BlackburnDiocese and (next week) an album of pictures on our Flickr feed.

In the ordination video, released today, Bishop Philip says: “For me it will be a particularly joyful ordination weekend this year because it is my first as Diocesan Bishop.

“I am just really thrilled with the sheer calibre of the Priests and Deacons who are going to be ordained. They are people with real energy; a deep sense of God’s presence; a deep prayerfulness and a really strong commitment.

“It is very exciting to see what will happen to parishes up and down Lancashire as these new Priests and Deacons are released into ministry.”  

And Bishop Jill adds: “At this high point of the service the words say that you cannot bear this calling in your own strength but pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

“So that is what we are praying for now; praying for all our candidates that they will know the gift of the presence of the spirit in fresh ways and, as a Diocese, we are praying literally for the visitation of the spirit across our churches and schools, across our county, to claim our county for Jesus.

“The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few and we look forward to the staging post this weekend for more workers being sent out this weekend to call many loved sons and daughters home.”

Caption for picture above 

Bishop Philip and Bishop Jill, at centre of front row, with this year’s group of ordinands plus the Dean of Blackburn, Very Revd Peter Howell-Jones, back row far right; Revd Nick McKee, Diocesan Director of Vocations, back row, fourth from left and Revd Sam Cheesman, Bishop’s Chaplain, back row second from left.





Ronnie Semley, June 2023