People came from parishes across Lancashire to the County’s Anglican Cathedral in Blackburn at the weekend for the Cathedral’s latest annual ‘Festival event’ … this year it was a ‘Festival of Faith in Daily Life’.
Those present also participated later in the day in the launch of a new initiative across the Diocese – The Vine Community.
Joining them for the event were Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley; the Venerable Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn; the Venerable David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster; the Dean of Blackburn, Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones and Rev Canon Dr Rowena Pailing, Canon Missioner at Blackburn Cathedral.
Keynote speaker for the Festival was respected human rights campaigner Lord David Alton, who gave a lecture on various aspects of the history of persecution.
Commenting on how we should respond to such persecution in today’s world he said: “Christians must offer servant leadership, fiercely championing the common good and not being intimidated by the scale of the challenge or our own imperfections.”
Later there were a huge variety of workshops available – eight in total – exploring different aspects of faith in daily life.
Topics included ‘Dealing with life’s big questions’ led by the Dean of Blackburn; ‘Theology for faith in daily life’ with Rev Canon Dr Rowena Pailing; ‘Top tips for clergy supporting people in the workplace’ with Rev Canon Dr Anderson Jeremiah and ‘Faith at home: resources for families with children’ with Sarah Earnshaw, the Diocesan Children’s Work Adviser. You can see The Vine on the Board of Education's website here.
Later in the afternoon The Vine Community was launched as a key part of the closing worship. The Community provides a flexible framework for all ages (sometimes called a ‘rule of life’) to enable people to abide, grow and bear fruit in Christ.
The aims of The Vine Community are centred around three questions, which are:
Those in attendance were encouraged to consider making a ‘pledge commitment’ to be part of The Vine Community – with a pack of prayer and pledge cards being handed out on the day; which are also available to download from a dedicated Vine Community ‘landing page’ on the Diocesan website where participants can also find pointers to many supporting resources also available; with more to come.
In a launch video for The Vine Community also produced on the day, Bishop Julian commented: “It’s great to have been part of the Festival of Faith in Daily Life today at the Cathedral and we are grateful to Lord David Alton for agreeing to be our keynote speaker.
“I’m also delighted to offer my support for The Vine Community launch. This is something that underpins all our other initiatives that are taking place around the Diocese at this time.
“Please do consider joining – it is a virtual community but will meet in person from time to time and we can encourage one another to maintain a fresh, living and strong relationship with Jesus Christ. The first key in-person event after the launch today will be a Service of Commitment on June 19, for all those who have pledged up to that point.”
Captions for the above pictures:
Pic 1 - Pictured at the Festival of Faith in Daily Life and The Vine Community launch at the weekend are l-r Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley; Rev Canon Dr Rowena Pailing, Canon Missioner at Blackburn Cathedral; the Dean of Blackburn, Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones; Lord David Alton; the Venerable Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn; the Venerable David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster and Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn pictured at the Festival of Faith in Daily Life and The Vine Community launch at the weekend.
Pic 2 - People from parishes across Lancashire came to the Festival of Faith in Daily Life and The Vine Community launch at the weekend including this happy group from Freedom Church, Mereside in Blackpool.
Pic 3 - The Vine Community prayer and pledge cards
Pictures: Ronnie Semley; Blackburn Diocese