The Church of England in the North West is a great place to live, work and minister.
That is the message from three North West Church of England dioceses as they launch a campaign to highlight the region at the Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) in Manchester, which started yesterday and continues today (October 9 2014).
Responding to media coverage earlier in the year indicating that some clergy may not have considered a move north, Blackburn Diocese (which is the Diocese for Lancashire) has joined forces with Liverpool and Manchester Dioceses to say simply: ‘see for yourself’!
The campaign is supported by a wide variety of senior clergy from all three Dioceses and the lead cleric for the campaign is Lancashire’s own Bishop, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, who recently made the move north himself.
Other leading clergy from Lancashire making an appearance at the stand over the two days are the Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Geoff Pearson and the Archdeacon of Lancaster, The Venerable Michael Everitt.
As well as the stand, a campaign website also launches this week at www.cofenw.org.uk, which contains fascinating case studies of clergy who have made the move north as well as links to each Diocese’s own website and current vacancies.
The North West offers a huge variety of opportunities suiting all callings, from parishes in affluent areas to challenging parishes with extreme deprivation; as well as some of the best opportunities to engage in rural ministry anywhere in England.
As well as leading clergy, Diocesan staff from all three Dioceses concerned with making clergy appointments are also fronting the stand at CRE and chatting to delegates.
Collectively they are highlighting the many positives of working in the North West: including ministry opportunities, vibrant towns and open spaces, sports venues, and the warmth and friendliness of the people.
The Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, was inaugurated at Blackburn Cathedral in October of last year. Previously Archdeacon of Dorking in Surrey, he had spent all his life in ministry in the south before his move to the North West.
He says: “My wife Heather and I came to the North West in response to a call from God through His church to serve both His people and the whole wider community in Lancashire. We did so joyfully and with a real sense of expectation and excitement.
“Since our arrival we have been welcomed by countless people across the region (churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike) and have felt very welcome. It is a fabulous place to live and practice ministry and the opportunities to make a difference in ways that really matter and to grow His kingdom are numerous and exciting.
“I am delighted to be able to support this campaign which is a fantastic initiative we hope will encourage people to think about the North West and its opportunities.
“It also helps to set those opportunities in some context by giving potential candidates ways to find out from those already practising ministry here what it is really like, as they can read their case studies at www.cofenw.org.uk before clicking through for the very latest vacancies on the website of each diocese.”
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