Church shake-up as Ribble Valley parishes move

Archdeacon John Hawley
Archdeacon John Hawley

The Church of England in Lancashire is now home to six Ribble Valley parishes which previously sat under the Diocese of Bradford.

The six parishes – Hurst Green, Mitton, Waddington, Grindleton, Bolton-by-Bowland and Gisburn – have migrated to the Blackburn Diocese with effect from Easter Sunday.

The move comes as part of wider changes to create a new “super-diocese” of West Yorkshire and The Dales.

The Blackburn Diocesan Synod met in April last year and, having reviewed a report by the Dioceses Commission which recommended they should move into the 
Blackburn Diocese, voted by a large majority to welcome the six Ribble Valley parishes.

Today there will be a special welcoming service for the six parishes taking place at Gisburn Parish Church at 6-30 pm to which members of all six transferring parishes are invited.

At this service the Archdeacon of Craven, the Venerable Paul Slater, will symbolically hand over the parishes to the Archdeacon of Blackburn, the Venerable John Hawley.

They will then be welcomed into their new diocese by Lancashire’s Bishop, the Rt Rev. Julian Henderson.

There will be two other occasions of welcome in the coming months.

The first will be on Tuesday, May 13th, at Blackburn Cathedral at the “Primary Visitation Service” for parishes in the Whalley, Accrington and Blackburn-with-Darwen deaneries.

At this service Bishop 
Julian will formally welcome the parishes and their clergy and churchwardens.

The second occasion is on Sunday, June 8th (Pentecost Sunday), when there will be an informal celebration in the grounds of Whalley Abbey, with a service at 3 pm. This is a specific welcome by the Deanery of Whalley to which the six new parishes now 

Archdeacon John Hawley said: “I have had a very warm welcome by the clergy and parochial church councils of each new parish over the past few weeks and months as I have visited them and supported them through the transition period.”