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Front row, left to right, Revd Nick McKee; Director of Vocations; Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley; Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster and Ruth Haldane, Diocesan Warden of Lay Ministry with the more than 100 Licensed Lay Ministers commissioned at the Cathedral; all standing together at the West Door. 

There was a palpable sense of joyful celebration in Blackburn Cathedral this weekend as more than 100 Church of England Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) from across the County gathered to renew their commitment to ministry.  

The Cathedral’s usual Saturday Evensong was buzzing with excited anticipation as the LLMs assembled for the relicensing service, which only happens every three years.  

Emphasising the importance of the event, all three Bishops of the Diocese were involved in the service.

Rt Revd Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, led the service; Rt Revd Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, was the preacher and Rt Revd Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster, led the intercessions.  

Speaking after the service, Bishop Julian said: “As a Diocese we are committed to enabling as many people as possible to play a full part in the life of our local churches and so it was a joy to be able to commission more than 100 LLMs for ministry. 

"It is important to stop and give thanks for all that has been; and to step expectantly into all that God has in store for us as we seek to serve the people of Lancashire.” 

The Diocesan Director of Vocations, Revd Nick McKee, explained: “Our LLMs come from all walks of life and from all kinds of parishes across the country. All of them are volunteers who generously give of their time to work alongside our parish clergy. 

“Every LLM’s ministry is unique but each offers a mix of teaching the Christian faith, enabling mission, and leading in church and society.” 

At the same service, the Diocesan Warden of Lay Ministry, Ruth Haldane and her Assistant Wardens (Greg Doughty from Thornton Cleveleys; Melanie Clarke from Clitheroe; Pam Daunton from Samlesbury; Peter Dyer from Carnforth and Peter Williams from Clitheroe) were also commissioned.  

Ruth said: “It is an exciting time to be in lay ministry in our Diocese as we continue to make disciples, grow leaders, be witnesses and inspire children and young people for Jesus Christ as part of our recently refreshed Vision 2026.

"This is especially the case at this time as we have begun to Unlock following many months of lockdown due to the pandemic.” 

For more information about Licensed Lay Ministry in our Diocese and how to become an LLM, click here to go to the relevant page on our Diocesan website. 

Caption for the group shot photo above taken at the West Door of Blackburn Cathedral: