Welcome to the latest Communications Update for parishes across the Diocese featuring some current news highlights.

The next Dean of Blackburn

The next Dean of Blackburn will be the current Vice-Dean of Chester Cathedral, Canon Peter Howell-Jones.

Canon Peter, 54, who will succeed The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong, made his first public appearance on Saturday November 26 at a welcome event in Blackburn Cathedral.

Read more about the appointment by clicking here for the story on the Diocesan website. And listen to the coverage on BBC Radio Lancashire here on iPlayer (at 1h 21m 35s) available for 28 days.

Watch highlights of the welcome event on our Diocesan YouTube channel by clicking here and view pictures on our Diocesan Flickr feed by clicking here.

Make sure your service details are on ‘A Christmas Near You’ website

With less than a month before Christmas Day, Bishop Julian, Bishop Geoff and Bishop Philip are promoting a new national Church campaign.

With the social media hashtag #joytotheworld, the ‘A Christmas Near You’ campaign aims to encourage as many people as possible in Lancashire and beyond to attend Christmas services, by searching for events near them on a special version of the existing website ‘A Church Near You’.

But the website needs information about the services to be uploaded first! It’s really easy. Just go to and input as much information as you can about your services over the Christmas period. The site will then be live at from December 1, but services can still be added via the upload area after that date if you want to.

Although is part of ‘A Church Near You’ you don’t need to have administrator access to add Christmas services, you just need your email address. For full details click here to read a story on the Diocesan website.

Facebook Live Bible Study

Are you one of the half a million people who have seen the recent Facebook Live Bible Study session with the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby and Bishop Philip, the Bishop of Burnley?

Bishop Philip was the first Church of England Bishop to participate in the initiative, which began in May this year. The Bible Study is still available on the Archbishop’s Facebook page or you can see a recording which has been uploaded to view on our YouTube channel here.

Parish Share

Information about the Budget and Parish Share for 2017, including a printed booklet summarising the budget, has been sent to all incumbents and treasurers around the Diocese.

Further information about the budget, including links to an online version of the booklet; a Powerpoint presentation given to Diocesan Synod in October and a video version of the presentation (with audio added) can all be accessed via this page on the Diocesan website.

Blackburn Prayers

Are you familiar with ‘Blackburn Prayers’ – the Diocesan prayer diary? It enables you to pray by name for a different parish in the diocese each day; for our links with The Free State and Braunschweig; for our Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities, and much more.

If you haven’t discovered Blackburn Prayers yet, it is sent to all clergy by email every month and can be downloaded free from the diocesan website. Go to and click on ‘Faith and Worship’ then ‘Blackburn Prayers’ or you can have the Prayers emailed direct to you, by contacting and asking to be added to the mailing list.

If you use Blackburn Prayers regularly please send an email to with any stories of how using them has made a difference to your prayer life.

Bishop Geoff’s Bible Challenge – latest

A Church of England first is proving a huge hit with school children across Lancashire. The Bishop’s Bible Challenge, introduced in September to the county’s church schools and parishes by Bishop Geoff, had to double the order of starter packs after the first 5,000 ran out in days!

To date, more than 8,000 of the packs have now been distributed. The aim of the Challenge is to encourage youngsters to explore and respond to the Gospel of Luke. Using the challenge pack they must complete eight activities and the children are already on challenge three for December!

Other Dioceses, including Carlisle, have approached our Diocese to express interest in copying the format. For more information about the challenge click here.

Event reminders

A final couple of imminent Diocesan events to remind you about:

  • Renewal and Reform: Does it have a Theology? A Lecture and Discussion led by Dr Jeremy Worthen (Secretary for Ecumenical Relations and Theology for the Church of England) takes place on Thursday December 1 at Preston Minster from 7.30pm to 9pm, followed by refreshments. The event is free and all are welcome. Contact if you require more information.
  • An Advent Quiet Day takes place at Whalley Abbey, the Diocesan Retreat and Conference Centre in Ribble Valley, next Tuesday December 6, 2016 from 10am – 4pm. This will be a day to focus on the coming of the Lord Jesus with meditation on the Scripture and space for quiet reflection. Led by the Rev Canon Andrew Raynes, the Vicar of Christ Church, Blackburn, the event is open to all. The cost is £15 per person which includes refreshments and lunch. To book your place contact Whalley Abbey on 01254 828400.