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Last updated 7th January 2022

Diocesan staff updates and changes

Jen Read, Senior Church Buildings Officer, January 2022

We are delighted to welcome Jen Read to our Diocese as Senior Church Buildings Officer. 

Jen is making a transition to us across the Pennines, following a number of years working for Leeds Diocese.

Her role with us combines Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) Secretary responsibilities while also being available to visit and liaise with parishes to discuss ideas for building development; helping make those ideas come to life in the best ways possible.

Jen already has a wealth of knowledge and experience that will hugely benefit our parishes; particularly around development and maintenance of church buildings, as well as DAC processes and procedures.

Married with four children, Jen is a Licensed Lay Minister at her local church. Commenting on her appointment Jen said: "I’m very much looking forward to meeting my new colleagues in Blackburn Diocese and visiting the wonderful churches of Lancashire.

"I have a passion for churches, not just as buildings of great cultural and historical significance but also as places of welcome and mission in our communities. My role of Senior Church Buildings Officer combines those two facets of church buildings.

"As DAC Secretary I will balance the heritage and significance of a church building with its role as a centre of ministry and mission; as Church Buildings Officer I will visit PCCs and clergy in their churches to help them realise their vision for their building as well as offer practical advice on maintenance, funding and permissions."

Carolyn Barton, Director of Vision Delivery, added: "The creative use and development of church buildings is frequently a key enabler of growing healthy churches that transform communities. So I am delighted Jen has joined us here in Blackburn Diocese to offer professional guidance and support to parishes in these important areas."

Retiral of Diocesan Secretary Graeme Pollard, December 2021

Graeme Pollard, Diocesan Secretary, has now retired. Stephen Whittaker, Director of Education, is currently the Acting Diocesan Secretary).

The following letter marking the announcment of Graeme's then pending retirement was sent to all in the Diocese and was written by the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson who is pictured with Diocesan Secretary Graeme Pollard.

Dear friends,

It is being announced today that Graeme Pollard, our Diocesan Secretary for the past 16 years, (pictured) has decided to retire at the end of this year (2021).

Any decision of this magnitude is never easy and I know Graeme has wrestled over a number of months to discern what God wants him to do. At a time when there is much exciting work going on across the diocese, with the Vision 2026 implementation plan, the Mission and Financial Flourishing programme and new Strategic Development Funding projects getting underway, to name just a few, there never seems to be a right time.

Graeme has expressed his concern that he feels a decision to retire is letting the diocese down. I have tried to reassure him that is far from the case, not least because of his faithful and very dedicated service over such a long period of time.

The Diocese of Blackburn is in a very different place from what it was 16 years ago and Graeme has played a significant part in that period of transformation. A Diocesan Secretary is a key player in the team with a huge responsibility that carries a heavy load. Yes, there are others who share that load, but in the end much rests on the shoulders of the Diocesan Secretary. Graeme has borne the weight of that responsibility through lots of change with courage, persistence, flexibility and his strong faith in Jesus Christ.

Personally I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Graeme for his loyalty and support over the last 8 years. He has been available, wise and generous in dealing with the many complex issues that have been, and in some cases still are, needing to be addressed. As Graeme steps down, there is much to celebrate and thank God for from his service in the diocese.

This news was announced at the Staff Eucharist at Whalley Abbey earlier today, 13th October, and Graeme’s final day of work will be marked by the staff Christmas party on December 13th. There will obviously be other occasions, still to be worked out, at which we will be able to express our appreciation to Graeme.

In the meantime, please remember Graeme and Mel in your prayers, as they prepare for this transition, and also for those who will now need to plan for what is needed as we look to the future.

At moments like this my mind is taken to Psalm 31.14/15, where the psalmist says: “I trust in You, O Lord, I say You are my God. My times are in Your hands.”



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