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Our free #HomeGrown Online Conference starts 7pm on Tuesday 13 October and continues on Wednesday 14 October until 9pm.

All are welcome, lay or ordained and you can BOOK NOW for the seminars (see below) and max of two per person. 

The Conference will be a combination of worship, key-note speakers, discussion and webinars - everything is online. 

It will be a chance to 'meet' people from across the Diocese and find encouragement in each other.

The theme of the conference is ... 

Hearts on Fire with Love for You


Tuesday 13th October

19.00    Home Grown Live session on YouTube: hosted by Bishop Jill and Bishop Philip 

Keynote speaker: Bishop Julian: 1 Kings 18 – God and fire

20.30    Finish

Wednesday 14th October

08.30    Morning Prayer Live on YouTube: led by the Cathedral Chapter

10.00    Home Grown Live on YouTube: hosted by Bishop Jill and Bishop Julian

Keynote speaker: Bishop Jill: Matthew 5 – Jesus and fire

11.00    Coffee Break

11.15-12.15     Seminar Options (1): Headliner AD Mark Ireland

12.30    Midday Prayer on YouTube – Stillness led by Fr Neil Kelley

14.30-15.30    Seminar Options (2): Headliner AD David Picken

17.00    Live: Children’s Pick Me Up on YouTube: Sarah Earnshaw and Tom Woolford

19.00    Home Grown Live on YouTube: hosted by Bishop Jill and Bishop Julian

Keynote speaker: Bishop Philip: Acts 2 – the Holy Spirit and Fire

20.30    Conference Close

#HomeGrown seminar options: Wednesday 14th October

Browse the seminars (to be held at 11.15am and 2.30pm on October 14, each for one hour).

There are 12 seminars in total available. Morning and afternoon seminars run simultaneously, so get ready to choose one morning and one afternoon session via the Eventbrite links further below ... 

Seminar Titles

Seminar Leaders




Morning Seminars


The Environment: Archdeacon Mark will chair a

panel exploring two questions:

- How has Covid-19 changed our thinking as

Christians about the climate emergency?

- What one thing are you going to do differently

about the environment post lockdown, and one

thing you will be encouraging your church to do?

AD Mark Ireland

John Rodwell

Rebecca Aechtner

Sam Cheesman


Home Grown Christian Enquirers’ courses

Claire Cook

Jo Smith

Pete Tomkinson


Children: Hearts on Fire with Love for You

Sarah Earnshaw


Digital Church:

The timeless message of Jesus has and will never change, but the mediums we use to communicate that message are constantly changing. Come learn from a local parish church about how they use the internet to engage with their local community and leave with ideas to try in your setting.

Geraint Harries


Home Grown Evangelism

Bishop Jill Duff

Andy Pratt

Javier Salcido



Afternoon Seminars


The Sacraments should never be boring!  Conversation with a Catholic Charismatic

AD David Picken


Black Lives Matter

Anderson Jeremiah

Geraldine Onek




Prayer and Fire:

Taking the image of fire in the traditions of reflective prayer we will reflect on our own experience of being warmed by the Living Fire of God's Love.

Bishop Jill Duff

Nicholas Heale



Carol Backhouse


Planning Ahead for Christmas

Fr Neil Kelley

Fleur Green


#Love your Neighbour:

Shared lessons on how to be a practical solution

to some of the social issues exposed by Covid-19.

Sam Haigh


Youth: Hearts on Fire with Love for You

Rachel Gardner

Ben Green


Seminar registration

To register for a morning and/or an afternoon session, please click on the relevant Eventbrite link below.

Once the page opens, click on the green 'Register' button on the right of the page and you will be taken to the full list of seminars. Register for the one you want to attend.

Please note, as the morning seminars and the afternoon seminars take place at the same time you can only register for one morning and one afternoon session:


Click here for the Morning Seminars' Eventbrite page


Click here for the Afternoon Seminars' Eventbrite page

YouTube live sessions and social media during #HomeGrown

In addition to the 12 seminars, there will be several live events premiering on the Diocesan YouTube channel during the two days of the conference.

These take place at 7pm on October 13 and also at 10am and 7pm on October 14 (with additional midday prayer also on YouTube at 12.30pm on the 14th).

You don't need to book for YouTube of course, but we do suggest you visit the channel in advance and click the 'subscribe' button to receive alerts when events go live. 

Please note: All the live sessions will remain on our YouTube channel permanently after initial broadcast to engage with at any time; catch up with if you missed one and/or to share online with your family friends and other members of your church family too. 


As well as the YouTube live sessions there will also be activity on the Diocesan Twitter feed @cofelancs; on the Diocesan Facebook page and the Diocesan Board of Education Twitter feed (@BDBofE) during the two days of our online conference.

You are encouraged to use the #HomeGrown hashtag on social media to chat about your experience of the event; post anything relevant and to chat about what you may have learned.

Seminar Leaders

Get to know who will be presenting our seminars during the #HomeGrown conference ...

Carol Backhouse Rev'd Carol is the new Vicar of Christ Church, Lancaster, having crossed the Pennines from her curacy in Northallerton. Prior to ordination, she worked as a nurse, including time in A+E, and was also the lay worker for Transcendence, an alt:worship Fresh Expression in York Minster. A new vocation came after a time of repeated bereavement; and the Psalms of lament and their use in liturgy became the topic for her MA studies. In her spare time, Carol enjoys Wainwrighting and choral singing, although rarely at the same time

Claire Cooke is currently part time formation group tutor at St Mellitus college and part time Curate at St Thomas' Lancaster. Her passion in studies is in missional theology, exploring how mission is an exciting part of what the sent church of Jesus is and learning how we live in the joy and freedom of that identity. Claire loves to have fun with friends but during lockdown has embraced her inner geek and developed a secret love for watching gardening programmes.

Bishop Jill Duff is Bishop of Lancaster. Her brief includes the oversight of mission, evangelism & church planting in the Diocese of Blackburn.  Previously she was the Founding Director of St Mellitus College North West (2013-2018) the first full-time ordination course in the North West for over 40 years. She taught New Testament, mission, and church planting.  Prior to this she has served as an urban parish priest, school chaplain, pioneer minster church planting, and as Associate Fellow at Liverpool Hope University. She was ordained Deacon in 2003 and ordained priest in 2004.  Prior to ordination, she worked in research and business management at Esso Petroleum. She has an MA in Theology and DPhil in Chemistry from Oxford University and MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.  She is mum to two boys and married to Rev Prof Jeremy Duff, Principal of St Padarn’s. In spare time with her family Jill enjoys walking, wild camping, and holidays in the fresh air with big vistas. She runs, journals, and enjoys writing fun lyrics to well-known songs as the occasion demands.

Sarah Earnshaw is married to Ken and she lives in Blackburn with her two boys, Max (11) and Elijah (7).  She began working for the Diocese in the Board of Education in 2010 and has worked with children of various ages in church for over 15 years.  In December 2018, she was appointed as the Diocesan Children’s Work Adviser, so her primary focus is supporting and inspiring parishes to be able to offer quality Children’s Ministry.  She is passionate about seeing the faith of our children and young people grow, for them to feel part of creative worshipping communities and to equip them so they feel confident to share their faith with others.

Rachel Gardner is the President of the Girl’s Brigade England and Wales, Director of Partnerships at Youthscape, an Ambassador for Home for Good, founder of Romance Academy and a bestselling author for youth and young adults.  She is on the leadership team at Preston Minster where she serves with her husband.  They have two adopted children, amazing neighbours in Fulwood and a few fish.

Ben Green is Youth Adviser here in Blackburn diocese.  He loves coffee, sport, the colour green, and young people coming to know the love of God for themselves.  Having started out in youth ministry 20 years ago in his late teens, he continues to be a volunteer youth leader at his local church.  Ben is passionate about seeing youth leaders equipped and confident in their ministry, and young people stepping into all that God has called them to.

Fleur Green has been the vicar of St Peter’s Church in Darwen town centre for the past 8 and a half years, having previously worked in churches in Blackpool, Lancaster and Blackburn. For the past two years she has also been Area Dean of Blackburn with Darwen Deanery which covers a diverse area of the two towns and along with the parish, is work she really enjoys. Fleur loves Christmas, has a spoilt cat and a weakness for chocolate and shoes. 

Sam Haigh leads the Preston Resourcing Parish, a cross-tradition project between Preston Minster and St Georges. Sam became a Christian aged 18 and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall before serving two Curacies the most recent at HTB, the home of the Alpha course. Sam is married to Hannah and they have five children. Together they are passionate about evangelism and church growth.

Nicholas Heale Since he moved into Lancashire in 1999, he has lived for a decade in Blackpool, then on the northern edge of Lancaster. Almost two years ago he moved again and now lives among Moslems in Blackburn.  He has received greatest comfort and inspiration from the marginalised and the poor.  As a friend of the Spirit, a pilgrim, he values the solitude of the urban desert, which is where he seeks a contemplative vision of the Love of God.

Geraint Harries is a Technical Manager at Lancaster University as well as serving on his village church’s PCC. He has a talent for technology and digital communication and a passion for sharing it with the church. Last year Geraint’s church, St John’s Ellel, made national news for their innovative approach to using social media for evangelism. As well as serving in his local parish, Geraint also often guest writes blogs for the Church of England Digital Labs team. 

Archdeacon Mark Ireland is currently the Archdeacon of Blackburn. He has been in this role since 2016. He was ordained into the Diocese in 1984. After his curacy, he became Vicar of Baxenden from 1989-1997. After which he then became the Diocesan Missioner for Lichfield and Team Vicar, then became the Vicar for Wellington with Eyton.  He is glad to be back in Blackburn, where he was ordained, living two miles down the road from where he served his first curacy. When he gets time off, he enjoys fell-walking, skiing, cycling, learning to sail, and watching the occasional Blackburn Rovers match (a triumph of hope over experience!)  He has served on the General Synod and has previously been on a Bishop’s Council of Directors.

Anderson Jeremiah holds a Ph.D degree from New College, the University of Edinburgh and is an ordained Anglican Priest. Anderson's research primarily centres on the study of contemporary Christianity and the socio-cultural implications of the shift of Christianity to the global south. His areas of academic expertise include Christian Theology in Asia, Postcolonial Approaches to Theology, Anglican Communion, Dalit Studies, Contextual Theologies, History of Christianity, Modern Missionary Movements, Inculturation and faith, Biblical Hermeneutics, Economics and Liberation Theology, Encounter between Christianity and other Religions, Inter-Faith Understanding, Religious fundamentalism and Politics, Religious Pluralism, Politics and Society in India.

Fr Neil Kelley has been Rector of St Laurence’s Chorley since October 2017 having moved from the parish of Bushey (Herts).  Before Bushey, Fr Neil served the Liverpool Diocese for 15 years as a Parish Priest, Diocesan Advisor on Liturgy and Worship and member of the Diocesan Church Growth Team.  Fr Neil is passionate about people engaging with Christ through inclusive worship and daily discipleship.  When he is off duty, he can be found playing the piano (his professional hobby), enjoying time with friends and walking his black Labrador, Poppy.

Geraldine Onek is a qualified primary school teacher but currently taking time out of her career to bring up her three boys. Recently she was appointed as Chair of The Lancaster Black History Group, whose aim is to campaign for schools to embed black history into the curriculum but also to educate and inform Lancastrians about the districts’ hidden history.  She came to Lancaster in 1988 aged 2. Her parents brought her here from Juba, South Sudan after her father, Leonzio Onek, won a scholarship to study Biomedical science at Lancaster University. Their intention was to eventually return to South Sudan but as refugees they were granted leave to remain due to the civil war in Sudan. As a result, she grew up here and has worked as a Primary School Teacher in some of the local schools as well as in East London for 7 years. Although originally from South Sudan she considers herself a Lancastrian.  She also hopes to use her experience as one of the few black teachers as well as a black woman in a predominantly white community, to raise awareness of racial discrimination and prejudice. Decolonising is about challenging the power structure we live in and yet our curriculum is doing a disservice because it limits the expectations and aspirations that black students have.

Archdeacon David Picken joined the Diocese as Archdeacon of Lancaster in February 2020.  After a short teaching career, David went to Lincoln Theological College; he brings 30 years’ experience of working in urban and more rural parishes, as Rector, as Area Dean and as hospital chaplain.  Since 2005, David has led the On Fire Mission, a charity dedicated to promoting Charismatic renewal blended with the riches of Catholic spirituality.  David is Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, a role he relishes given his interest in teaching and young people.

Andrew Pratt is the Bishop of Blackburn’s Interfaith Advisor since 2012 having retired from the Lancashire Constabulary after 28 years’ service.  He is Church Warden at Stephen’s Preston and a Canon of the Cathedral, father, husband, and grandad.  He enjoys swimming and playing the French horn.  He volunteers as a Forest School teacher.  His favourite film is The Seventh Seal.

John Rodwell has worked as priest and ecologist together for over 40 years and is the Diocesan Environmental Officer. As a university professor and now as an independent consultant, he works with environment agencies and NGOs across Europe. With parishes, ordinands, and religious communities across Britain, through preaching, retreats, and conferences, he tries to explore the wonder of God’s gift of Creation and our responsibility for it. He is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Lincoln Theological Institute and worships at Lancaster Priory.

Javier Salcido was born and raised in Mexico and served in North America, Europe and Africa as a missionary and lay minister. He works with Church Army as Youth Evangelist in Blackpool. Javier has a double degree in Politics and Philosophy from Gordon College (Boston Massachusetts), and a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry from St. John's College, Durham University.

Jo Smith has been Vicar of Euxton Parish Church since December and what a time to start.  Prior to her curacy in Horwich, Jo was a Youth Minister in Bolton.  Alongside parish ministry Jo is also Chaplain to Ironman UK (Long distance triathlon) but has no desire to ever do an Ironman!  With a passion for others to come to know and love Jesus, Jo has led Alpha & Youth Alpha courses in the past, but lockdown required some more creative thinking, hence online Alpha.

Pete Tomkinson A former soldier, Pete has a remarkable story to tell. After a troubled childhood in the care system he joined the Army at 16 years old. An encounter with God changed his life.  Pete is now a Church Army Evangelist; His role is wide and varied and he spends his time chatting to people on the estate, getting involved in community groups, school assemblies, running his ‘Shed Men’ project and teaching bible study and enquirers courses. He lives a life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and he wants others to know the transforming power of our God who loves us. Pete likes to try and keep fit but after 27 years of having to keep fit in the military he admits to struggling to find his trainers most days!





Ronnie Semley, last updated October 2020