A PAIR of historic Hyndburn churches have welcomed a new vicar after he was inducted by the bishop he previously served as chaplain.

Rev Toby Webber has taken up his new position in charge of All Saints Church, Clayton-le-Moors, as well as St James’ Church in Altham, one of the oldest in East Lancashire at more than 500 years old.


Rev Webber, 40, has moved on to pastures new after serving as bishop’s chaplain since 2012.

He has had several appointments elsewhere in the diocese including as curate of St Laurence’s Church in Chorley from 2002-06 and priest-in-charge of St Aidan’s in Bamber Bridge from 2006-12.

His most recent induction service, which took place at All Saints Church, was conducted by the Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn.

As well as his family, including wife Rebecca and daughter Annabel, Rev Webber was supported at the induction by colleagues he has worked with at bishop’s house and the diocesan offices in Blackburn.

Rev Webber said: “I have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome I have received and I am excited to be beginning ministry here, particularly at a time when the diocese as a whole embarks on its Healthy Churches Transforming Communities vision.

“I would also like to say a massive thank you to everyone who had a hand in preparing for the induction and to the parishioners, particularly the churchwardens, who have kept things going through the vacancy period.”

Also in attendance were fellow clergy from across Lancashire, including many from his new deanery in Accrington, as well as his new parishioners.

The Rt Rev. Henderson said: “Toby has been an excellent support and guide to me during my first two years as diocesan bishop.

“While his appointment as vicar here is bittersweet for me, it is a great moment for Toby and the people of these parishes.”

Rev Webber was welcomed to his new role by the acting archdeacon of Blackburn, Rev. Canon Roger Smith; the local area dean, Rev. John Holland; the deputy mayor of Hyndburn Council, Councillor Tim O’Kane and representatives from other Christian denominations; schools and the parish council.