THE Rev Mark Ireland has been announced as the new Archdeacon of Blackburn.

Mr Ireland, 55, currently Vicar of All Saints Church in Wellington with St Catherine’s Church in Eyton, said he was looking forward to the chance to watch Blackburn Rovers matches once again.


It is a return to his roots for Mr Ireland who began his career in ministry as Curate at St Gabriel’s Church in Blackburn in 1984 until 1987.

He succeeds John Hawley who retired in the summer after spending 13 years in the role.

He said: “I feel excited and humbled to have been chosen as the next Archdeacon of Blackburn and to return to the region where I was ordained and served my first curacy.”

Blackburn is also the place where Mr Ireland met his wife Gill, giving the town special significance for them both, he added.

Mr Ireland is a member of the Archbishop’s Council which is leading and developing the national Reform and Renewal agenda for The Church of England.

Buckinghamshire-born Mr Ireland is the co-author of five books on mission, evangelism and spirituality and his latest book, ‘Making New Disciples’ is out next month.

As Archdeacon of Blackburn he will have special responsibility for the strategic delivery of the work to take forward new Church of England Diocesan Vision 2026: Health Churches Transforming Communities.

He will work closely with churches from the Deaneries of Accrington, Blackburn with Darwin, Burnley, Chorley, Leyland, Pendle and Whalley.

He will also be one of two Archdeacons in the Diocese, with the Venerable Michael Everitt, Archdeacon of Lancaster.

Bishop Julian Henderson, who appointed Mr Ireland to the role, said he was delighted that the couple were returning to Blackburn.

“My colleagues on the Leadership Team and I are looking forward to working with him and to benefitting from his skills as we move forward with our new Vision for Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.

“Mark comes to us with a wealth of experience.

“He is certain to make a significant contribution to the life of the Church of England in Lancashire.”