Three Anglican parishes, which will be joined together for the first time, have a new minister.
Vicar of Christ Church, Fulwood and Dean of Preston, the Rev Canon Brian McConkey has been appointed to lead St Wilfrid’s, Ribchester and St Saviour’s, Stydd; St John’s, Hurst Green and All Hallows, Mitton.
‘This is a new challenge because it is bringing three parishes together’
Mr McConkey, 54, who is married to Susan with two daughters aged 20 and 18 and hails from Northern Ireland, says it is with sadness that he will be leaving leaving Christ Church after 13 years, but felt ready for a change.
“This is a new challenge because it is a new job bringing three parishes together,” he said.
It will be Canon McConkey’s first village posting, but says he is no stranger to rural life, growing up near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, where his parents ran a village shop.
He also grew up a Presbyterian and spent a gap year in youth evangelism with the Methodist Church in Ireland, later training at Cliff College, Derbyshire.
Then in 1989 he became one of the first Church of England youth pastors to be appointed in Lancashire, working in Lancaster before moving to Blackburn and later being appointed diocesan youth officer.
A governor of Archbishop Temple CE High School, he has been vocations advisor for Blackburn, also becoming a bishop’s selector.
“It has been a full 13 years, with not much time to sit still. But I don’t see my move to the countryside as a place to relax. It is three parishes and three very busy parishes with a lot to do and I am looking forward to serving in them.”