A NEW rural super-parish has been launched covering three country churches.

And its first rector is delighted to be returning the East Lancashire,

The new Church of England Bowland Benefice combines the congregations of St. Ambrose in Grindleton and St. Peter and St. Paul in Bolton by Bowland with St. Mary the Virgin Gisburn.

It's rector the Rev Mark John Williams, previously team rector of Worsley, taught for four years years at Blackburn's Pleckgate School and spent eight as vicar of St. Mathews with Holy Trinity in Burnley.

The new benefice was inaugurated by the Bishop of Burnley the Rt Rev Philip North and the Archdeacon of Blackburn the Venerable Mark Ireland on Wednesday.

Rev Williams, who will live in Grindleton Rectory, said: "I am delighted to be returning to the Blackburn Diocese.I am looking forward very much to ministering in the newly-created benefice. It will certainly be a different challenge to anything I have experienced It is such a beautiful area to live in."