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To coincide with 'Racial Justice Sunday' this weekend, the Archbishop of York, The Most Rev. and Rt Hon. Stephen Cottrell, will visit our Diocese to commission the members of our new Racial Justice Group.

He will come to St Peter's in Burnley for the morning service there to mark Racial Justice Sunday when he will preach and, after lunch, the commissioning will take place.

See end of story for a full list of the Group's members. 

Archbishop Stephen said today: "Racial justice really, really matters because it's part of the call of the gospel, the heart cry of God. Therefore, it's really good to be back in the Blackburn Diocese this weekend, alongside Bishop Philip to commission the Racial Justice Group for the diocese and to celebrate Racial Justice Sunday."

There will be full coverage here in the news section of the Diocesan website; including a video looking at the importance of racial justice for the Diocese now and in the future.

You can also check our social channels on X/Twitter and Facebook/BlackburnDiocese for live updates of the commissioning.

Meanwhile there will be a special report on our new Racial Justice Group on BBC Radio Lancashire's Sunday breakfast show live between 6-10am. Listen live or later here.

Bishop's Adviser on UKME and Global Majority Heritage Matters, Rev. Canon Sarah Gill, added: "We are grateful and excited to welcome Archbishop Stephen for Racial Justice Sunday to commission the group as begin our work in earnest - from networking to training events and much more. It is fundamental to our faith because when we exercise racial justice we recognise every human being is important in God's eyes."

Chair of the Racial Justice Group, Archdeacon David Picken, commented: "I'd like to say thank you to the Archbishop for visiting the Diocese to commission the Group. We still have a long way to go, but we will lead our Diocese in tackling the issues that underpin the importance of racial justice."

And Bishop Philip added: "I'm really delighted the Archbishop has been able to join us for the commissioning on Sunday. I'd really commend the work the Group is doing to our parishes and our schools as we seek to address racism and grow really healthy churches that can transform the communities in which they are set."

There will also be a special livestreamed service this coming Sunday morning at Blackburn Cathedral for Racial Justice Sunday.
The guest preacher is Canon Grace Thomas, Cathedral Missioner at Manchester Cathedral.
The liturgy and hymns have been crafted to specially for the service which starts in person and here online at 10.30am.
The Dean, Peter Howell-Jones said: "All of us at the Cathedral are delighted to be participating in Racial Justice Sunday again this year, especially as the day also marks commissioning of Racial Justice Group within the Diocese by the Archbishop."

Blackburn Diocese Racial Justice Group Members

  • Ven. David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster and Chair of the Racial Justice Group
  • Rev. Dr Sarah Siddique Gill, Advisor to the Bishop of Blackburn for UKME/GMH Matters and Vicar of St Stephen’s with St James’ in Blackburn
  • Rev. Sam Cheesman, Chaplain to the Bishop of Blackburn
  • Mrs Emma Marquis, Headteacher of The Parish of St Laurence CE Primary School in Chorley
  • Ms. Rana Shihadah, RE teacher at Cardinal Newman College in Preston and Authorised Lay Minister at St James Church, Brindle
  • Judge Araba Obodai, District Judge Obodai Manchester Civil Justice Centre
  • Mrs Tio Duffield, Authorised Lay Minister at Lancaster Priory
  • Ms Kaarina Leong, Ordinand, currently serving at Lancaster Priory
  • Rev. Dr Augustine Omavuebe, Licensed Priest, Diocese of Blackburn and Officiating Minister, St Stephen’s Church, Preston; Founder/Coordinator of The Nigerian Fellowship, Preston
  • Mrs Jade Hackett, Vice Chair of the Governing Board of Coppull Parish Church School
  • Mrs Sue Grime, PA to the Bishop’s UKME Advisor and Administrative Support for the Racial Justice Group




Ronnie Semley, February 2024