A Blackburn church which underwent a dramatic £1.4 million transformation is set to officially reopen to the public.

Worshippers at St Luke’s in Blackburn are heading back into the building as of this week with special events to mark the occasion.  

The main church building has been redecorated and a new-church hall was built which has already been nominated for two architectural awards.  

This week, the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Cllr Parwaiz Akhtar joined guests from across the borough at a special community launch.

This weekend a ‘Homecoming Service’ will be held on Sunday at 11am.

The Community launch was attended by Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Anglican Bishop of Lancaster; Rev. Cath Brooks, Vicar of the Benefice of St Luke’s and St Aidan; Rev. Jason Gardner, Church Leader at St Luke’s and his wife Rachel, who is the Youth Innovation Leader. 

Also attending were children from local schools St Luke’s and St Philip’s Primary Academy and the choir from St Wilfrid’s Academy.

Lancashire Telegraph: Rev. Cath Brooks reflects on the last 10 years in a panel chaired by Rev. Jason, left and featuring Becky Gilbert-Rule from the architects (Pictures by Clive Lawrence)

Lancashire Telegraph: Rev. Jason, Bishop Jill, the Mayor, Parwaiz Akhtar, Rev. Cath and Rachel Gardner after the launch event

Other church leaders from the local community and local partners, including Lancashire Police, Blackburn Foodbank and the architects of the new church hall, Patrick Wilson Architects, were also in attendance.

St Luke’s is now part of the Diocese’s exciting and innovative ‘Lighting Up New Generations’ project following investment from the national Church. 

St Luke’s is also looking to establish a multi-generational ‘resourcing church’ in the town that supports youth ministry there of course.  

Rev Jason Gardner said: “We arrived two years ago to help breathe fresh life back into St Luke’s and the local communities around here.

"Thanks to the Diocese of Blackburn and the Church Commissioners we have been able to get the building missional ready as a Youth ‘Resourcing Church’.  

“Although the past two years has seen a lot of work on the building we haven’t been standing still, we have been building relationships with the community, with young people, with the schools and this week is a celebration of all that and what we have to look forward to as well. 

“People who worshipped here previously are still here and still playing a massive part so we are now multi-generational.” 

Youth Resourcing Lead at St Luke's Blackburn, Rachel Gardner said: “Members of our congregation on Sunday morning are often people who have walked 100 yards from their house.

"Quite a of lot of teenagers are coming on their own to church because they are loving what’s happening here and then, excitingly bringing their parents.

“This week is an exciting celebration of how the church can play an active part and bring hope and good news in and to this community.” 



During the community launch, those attending watched a special video about the mission of St Luke’s and other similar churches across the country and there were a number of panels where people who have played a key part in the journey to this point were introduced.

Rev. Cath Brooks spoke of how she had the vision for a youth-focused church not long after arriving back in 2013.  

Rev Cath said: “During lockdown in 2020 something good came out of that time!

"It was then that Bishop Jill asked me if I had ever thought about a Youth Resourcing Church at St Luke’s! I was delighted and that was the take-off moment; the birth of what we see today.” 



Bishop Jill said: “I have to pinch myself really to look back on the journey since that meeting with Rev. Cath in lockdown, to see what we have today.

"It is a testimony to the Lord’s miraculous work in so many different ways. I want to thank everyone who has made it happen and all the community representative who have come today and are supporting our work.

"May this be a place from where many beacons are lit across this town and the whole of Lancashire; where many young people can come home and meet with Jesus.” 



Mayor Parwaiz Akhtar, added: “It’s a privilege and honour to come here today as Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen and to see what a wonderful new resource has been created here in this 140 year-old building; a place where the local community – and particularly the young people of the area – can come together.” 



The Community Launch movingly concluded with prayers for the whole St Luke’s community, led by leaders from other local churches.  

The ‘Homecoming Service’ takes place at 11am this Sunday morning, October 1. All are welcome.