Rev’s new role as priest of Mereside parish

The licencing of Linda Tomkinson at Whalley Abbey
The licencing of Linda Tomkinson at Whalley Abbey
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A Blackpool reverend made priest-in-charge for her parish celebrated her new role with a 10 mile rite of passage.

When Freedom Church Reverend Linda Tomkinson was invited to Mereside three years ago, she had no church in which to provide a Sunday service and taught the Bible in her own Langdale Road home.

Now she has been officially licenced as Priest-in-Charge at the Parish by Bishop of Lancaster Jill Duff at a ceremony at Whalley Abbey in the Ribble Valley on Monday.

She said: “Services began in the living room of my house and we also took church to car boot sales and had prayers to try and show churches aren’t just limited to church buildings, and show that God can be relevant to all parts of our lives.

“Faith is every day of the week, not just Sunday mornings.

“The church now meets in the Tarnside community centre and it has been going so well that this is the Diocese’s way of saying that what we have started is a viable and sustainable church.”

Her new role means that Linda will now oversee 8,000 people in her parish area - twice the number she had before.

Following the ceremony, she embarked on a 10 mile walk around the Mereside parish.

She said: “There’s a very long tradition going back centuries in the Church of England where people would walk the parish boundary, and it’s a way of reminding everybody where the parish was.

“I thought as the parish has been re-awakened it was a very good oppotunity for me to get to grips with the parish estate.”