County’s ‘ordinands’ help to answer God’s call

The group of 14 priests and deacons ordained at Blackburn Cathedral in July 2015.
The group of 14 priests and deacons ordained at Blackburn Cathedral in July 2015.
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A comic writer of sketches and sitcoms; a bank manager; a hospital doctor, several teachers a fitness instructor and a dental hygienist.

These are just some of the former jobs of the latest group of 14 new priests and deacons to be ordained by The Church of England in Lancashire.

The annual occasion took place at the weekend during services in Blackburn Cathedral.

The event was mirrored in Anglican Dioceses across the country with hundreds of candidates taking their vows.

For Lancashire the candidates included eight men and six women, with the youngest 29 and the oldest 58.

All 14 ‘ordinands’ have willingly responded to God’s call and are ready and eager to get to work in their parishes – including Anne Beverley, from Lytham.

The 38-year-old is serving in two Blackpool-based churches, Holy Trinity and St Peter in South Shore.

She said: “I want to reach out to people with Christ’s love, by being a church that is a beacon of hope for those in dark places; through which God may be glorified.”

Most of the candidates for the priesthood in 2015 had been ordained as deacons in the cathedral last year and returned for further commissioning.

In addition to the six new priests, a further eight candidates were ordained as deacons at another ceremony in the cathedral on Saturday.

Before the weekend all candidates went on silent retreat at Whalley Abbey, where they had chance to share time together and to pray prior to their big weekend.

“When I heard the calling I felt compelled to explore it,” says Alex Frost, 45, from Burnley. “I have loved every aspect of training, study, worship and fellowship not to mention the fun and laughter I have shared with my fellow ordinands. Some folk may think trainee clergy are stuffy and dull, trust me we are not!”

Phil Maudsley, 41, who is originally from Lancaster and will serve at a church in Fulwood, Preston said: “The call to ordination has been in the background for around 20 years, but it is only really now that I feel I have the experiences in life, and the confirmation from God that the time is right to take this next step in sharing my faith and ministering to others.”

Lorraine Moffatt, 58, also from Lancaster and serving at a church in Morecambe, added: “Getting ordained comes after a long and searching process with a persistent sense of a calling from God.

“At its heart is a yearning to serve God and community.

“I hope to help and move people on their journey of faith to become wholehearted disciples of Jesus Christ and become effective witnesses to others. To encourage and nurture vocations in others so they fulfil their God given potential.”

Kamran Bhatti, 48, originally from Nelson and serving at a Preston church said: “I believe that it is God who has chosen me and not the other way round. I believe that I have a strong sense of calling to ordained ministry since my youth.

“My hope is to show God’s love and mercy by proclaiming the Gospel in both words and actions with humility; encouraging church congregations to grow closer to God; and serving local and wider community by building relationships.”

And Mike Print, 34, from Mawdesley, and serving a church in Padiham added: “God has been calling me to care for his church and reach out to others with the good news of Jesus since coming to faith at the age of 23.

“My hope for the Church is that we might better imitate Christ in our lives and our Christian communities, so that the world might see Christ more clearly, and thus turn to Him.”

Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, ordained the deacons while the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson, ordained the priests on what was the 40th anniversary of his own ordination as priest.

Bishop Julian, the Bishop of Blackburn, said: “It has been a huge privilege to be able to ordain these men and women who have been called by God through His church.

“I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labours in the coming years as they work at parish level to make our Diocesan vision of ‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’ a reality.”

Bishop Geoff added: “This was a special and significant day for all the candidates and their families. The ordinands have worked hard to reach this point and we give thanks to God for their calling.”

Joining the ordinands at Whalley were the entire diocesan episcopal team, including Bishop Julian and Bishop Geoff together with Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev. Philip North.