Twenty-seven new priests and deacons from across Lancashire have been ordained at Blackburn Cathedral.

This year’s group consists of 15 men and 12 women, the youngest of which is 24, Matt Gaze, who will serve at St Paul’s, Hoddlesden, St Barnabas Darwen and St Mary’s Grimehills. The oldest, at 63, is a deacon, Tim Cotterall who will serve at St Saviour’s in Bamber Bridge.

Former or current jobs of some of the new members include a headteacher; police detective superintendent; electrician; music teacher; engineer; commercial director and occupational therapist. 

Many of this latest group come from Lancashire and across the UK, but others were born in places as far afield as Ohio in the US; Cote D'Ivoire in West Africa and Nowshera in Pakistan. 

Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Blackburn, ordained this year’s group of deacons on Saturday morning at the Cathedral and Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster, ordained priests on Saturday afternoon whilst Bishop Philip ordained more priests at a further service on Sunday afternoon.

(Image: Blackburn Diocese)

Senior clergy from the diocese were in attendance alongside the bishops were The Dean of Blackburn, Very Rev. Peter Howell-Jones; Ven. Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn and Ven. David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster. 

They were joined by Rt Rev. Saju Muthulay, Bishop of Loughborough, who led the pre-ordination retreat at the Diocesan Centre for Christian Prayer and Discipleship at Whalley Abbey in the Ribble Valley.

(Image: Blackburn Diocese)

Bishop Philip said: “We're a diocese that has a strong commitment to growth and we believe passionately the gospel can change people's lives. We want to see parishes renewed, with the right lay and ordained leaders, confident in the Gospel. That's why the ordination season is so exciting.

“We have witnessed 27 men and women ordained to the diaconate and the priesthood, unleashing so many new gifts and so much vision and energy to churches around the diocese.”

Bishop Jill added: “It was very special to me to ordain our new priests on Saturday as June 29 was also the anniversary of both my ordination and my consecration.

"At my ordination there were a number of friends from my old workplace and they suddenly realised that Jesus was real. That's very much my prayer going forward now – that through these ordinations even more people across Lancashire will encounter Jesus for themselves.”