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New Face for Witness in the Bishop’s Leadership Team:

One of the opportunities of this challenging time is the openness to the Gospel we are seeing across Lancashire, as parishes reach out in word and deed.

One of the four strands of Vision 2026 is Being Witnesses. This is overseen by Bishop Jill, who until this month has been flying solo, since Dave Banbury left to become a vicar in Liverpool Diocese before she started, and Ed Saville retired over a year ago.

After much deliberation we decided to appoint a Being Witnesses Manager to join the Bishop’s Leadership Team. This is a strategic role enable us to be:

  1. Sharing the Gospel of salvation with confidence
  2. Meeting human need: actions as well as words
  3. Starting New Local Congregations and Strategic Church Plants

We are delighted that Joy Rushton starts work this month, after moving up from her role as deputy head in a West London primary school, just before the lockdown. She brings a wealth of missional and organisational expertise. We invited Joy to introduce herself in her own words to you:

“‘It’s good to be back in the North;’ I keep saying to myself.  For the past few years, I have lived in London and been teased for the way I pronounce ‘bath’ and ‘grass.’  I am currently living in Blackpool, the town where I first went to school and have just started my role as ‘Being Witnesses Manager.’

I grew up on Lancashire (Blackpool and Preston) before embarking on my daunting journey down the M6 and M1 to London.  I completed a theology degree at London Bible College and eventually ended up working for the Board for Mission and Unity in Westminster.  During that time I worked alongside the Revd Geoff Pearson (as he was known then) on the Decade of Evangelism.   After leaving Church House, I trained to be a teacher and worked in various primary schools in the London area. 

The next chapter of my life is now opening, as I begin my role as ‘Being Witnesses Manager.’  I am very excited about being able to play my part in the vision ‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.’  We are all so aware of how much our communities need the healing and transforming love of Jesus at this time. 

I am looking forward to getting to know people and places across Blackburn diocese.  In preparation for starting my role, I have been looking at websites, Facebook pages and YouTube channel services.  I have been deeply moved by the many ways people in our diocese are reaching out to their parishioners.  It is very impressive to witness the depth of care that is exemplified in the daily posts being shared.  Be encouraged that your efforts are noticed, appreciated and are having an impact in ways that you might not know.”

Bishop Jill said: “I am delighted to be working with Joy. She has a prayerful heart for mission, evangelism and especially for those on the margins, combined with a great capacity to organise and deliver. May we see many beacons lit and fanned into flame across Lancashire because of Joy’s work with us.”

Bishop Julian said:

 Joy is great news for the Diocese and is already contributing to our work here. I am very much looking forward to seeing how she uses her wonderful skill set as we work together towards our Vision 2026 goal of healthy churches transforming their communities