Last updated 25th August 2023
The Diocesan website and the Diocesan Board of Education website (www.bdeducation.org) are great places to start if you are looking for help and support with Vision 2026.
Below we introduce a range of people available to support parishes with the implementation of the Vision. Do get in touch if you need support – they would love to hear from you
A printable version of the information on this page can be found in this document.
Carolyn Barton is available to provide Vision 2026 support to your parish including helping PCCs and leadership teams to discern how to realise the Vision in local parish contexts. She is available to come to speak at PCCs or any other church meeting to support you in promoting and growing a healthy church that transforms its community. Carolyn is supported by Chrissie Oakley and together they are available to provide Vision Champions with advice and support along with guidance on funding for new ideas and projects. .
Director of Vision Delivery
Tel: 07990 032600
Tel: 07393 504904
When implementing Vision 2026 within your parish, a Vision Action Plan can help to provide focus and ensure plans are tailored to the particular circumstances of the individual church. The Diocese website contains information to support with action planning and the Archdeacon of Blackburn, Ven Mark Ireland, along with Mike Chew have written a book (“How to do Mission Action Planning: Prayer, Planning and Process”). This is a good place to start when developing a plan.
Using the image of a healthy tree, a ‘Healthy Churches Toolkit’ has been developed by Archdeacon Mark to provide a framework for local conversations to consider the health of different aspects of church. Parishes find it helpful to use this to assess their overall ‘health’ and to determine actions to become healthier and to grow.
Vision Partners are available to help parishes to develop Vision Action Plans. They can also provide advice, new ideas, be an effective sounding board and can offer help at key points, like PCC Awaydays which they are available to lead if this is helpful. They are all church leaders who have practical experience of applying Vision 2026 at parish level. Please get in touch with Rev Steve Haskett if you would like more information on Vision Partners
Rev. Steve Haskett
Parish Renewal Lead
Tel: 07379 195763
The Archdeacon of Blackburn, Ven Mark Ireland is the Diocese lead for the Making Disciples part of Vision 2026. The focus under this Vision strand is on growing knowledge and understanding of the Bible, praying with greater depth and urgency, being active members of worshipping communities and giving willingly of time, talents and treasures.
Archdeacon Mark Ireland
Tel: 07866 778791
Whalley Abbey was re-launched in 2021 as a Centre for Christian Discipleship and Prayer and is a fantastic resource available to parishes to use for meetings and residentials or for individuals to visit for retreat and refreshment. The Abbey holds special events and retreats which run throughout the year, and most are available for anyone to attend. Details of events and how to book are available on the Whalley Abbey website.
The diocesan ‘Roots of Faith’ course is a programme available to support people in knowing the bible better, praying with greater depth and urgency, talking about our faith with more confidence, thinking about how we show God’s love in action, reflecting on how our churches fit in to today’s world and considering our own participation in the church. There are six modules which are independent and therefore it is not essential to do them all or complete them in a specific order. More information on the Roots of Faith course can be found here.
God has made us His stewards of everything that He has given us - our time, our abilities, our possessions, our money, our whole lives. Our Diocesan Stewardship Resourcing Officers, Stephanie Rankin and Christy Sawyer, are available to support parishes to think about stewardship and how to encourage people to review giving and join planned giving schemes. A Parish Situation Report is a document that Stephanie and Christy can help produce for discussion with your PCC which sets out helpful information about the financial health of your church and can support with discussions around stewardship and giving. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer people carry cash, this means that contactless and online giving are now popular options for making it easier for visitors to our churches to give. Stephanie and Christy are able to provide information on whether this is a cost-effective solution for your church.
Stewardship Resourcing Officer - Lancaster Archdeaconry
Tel: 01254 503273
Stewardship Resourcing Officer - Blackburn Archdeaconry
Tel: 07483 948381
At the March 2022 Diocesan Synod, the ‘Parish Giving Scheme’ was formally launched in Blackburn Diocese following a successful pilot. This is a convenient way of enabling people to give by direct debit to their parish, claim gift aid and enabling giving to be linked to inflation.
The Being Witnesses strand of Vision 2026 is led by Bishop Jill Duff. It is focussed on sharing our faith with confidence, reaching out to new groups of people through starting new local congregations, planting new churches, leading Christian Enquiry courses, enabling social action to support those struggling in our communities, and ensuring we are maintaining our world for future generations caring for creation.
Bishop Jill runs a four-week Beacon course on zoom which aims to support and equip those who are considering starting a new local congregation or who would simply like to find out more about it. Inspirational input is given by Bishop Jill and guest speakers, with plenty of time to feedback, draw out ideas and identify assets – ‘What’s in your hand?’ This is a ‘who to’ not ‘how to’ course drawing out riches from all traditions.
Bishop Jill Duff
Bishop of Lancaster
Joy Rushton is the Being Witnesses Manager and is available to provide support for all aspects of the Being Witnesses strand. If you are interested in: the Beacon Course; running a Christian enquiry course; understanding more about what your church can do to reduce its carbon footprint or become an Eco-Church; reaching out to people living with Dementia and their carers; offering ministry in a sports context or setting up a new congregation, Joy will be able to offer advice and appropriate contacts to progress your ideas.
Being Witnesses Manager
Tel: 07388 137265
God calls people from all walks of life to share in his ministry to the world. The Growing Leaders team is on hand to work with anyone, regardless of their background, to help them to discern what role they may be being called to do within the church or beyond.
Director of Vocations
Alongside ordained roles, there are many formal and informal ministry roles carried out by lay church members which are equally vital to the growth of healthy churches that transform their communities.
The new diocesan Lay Majority Ministry Framework provides opportunities for lay people to receive training and be equipped and commissioned in their varied roles and incorporates Authorised Lay Ministers (with elected modules in a wide variety of areas including children’s ministry, preaching, worship and administration), Licensed Lay Ministers, Church Army Evangelists and those fulfilling informal ministry roles.
Training modules are available in a range of topics to support those working within their church communities and to help them make the most of the opportunity they have been given. Further information on the Ministry Framework can be found here.
Ruth Haldane is the Warden of Lay Ministry and is available to answer any questions you may have on Lay Ministry and whether this is something that is right for you or a member of your congregation. Amy White is the Lay Training Officer and can support you with queries regarding training for Lay members of your church teams.
Warden of Lay Ministry
Tel: 07896 490832
Lay Training Officer
Tel: 07384 971796
Supported by national church funding, Blackburn Diocese also offers particular training for ordained and lay leaders serving on urban estates through the M:Power programme. This training is explicitly focussed on training and equipping leaders to minister on estates and in urban communities. To find our more take a look at the website.
The Children and Youth team from the Diocese of Blackburn’s Board of Education is on hand to support you whether you are new to this area of work or have been doing it for years.
Sarah Earnshaw is the Children’s Work Advisor and runs events throughout the year to offer ideas and inspiration, to allow you to see new resources and connect with others in a similar role.
She is available to work directly with parishes and can deliver bespoke training for groups if necessary. Sarah also organises the annual Children’s Ministry Conference in the spring which is a great opportunity to hear ideas from keynote speakers, meet other parish children’s workers, participate in workshops and share idea.
A suite of resources is available to download free of charge from the Board of Education website (links below). These include weekly lectionary-based materials offering ideas for use during all age worship and children’s groups, plus seasonal materials and resources for groups with under 5’s.
A series of podcasts have been developed aimed at a range of audiences. ‘Follow the Son’ is suitable for children aged 3-7 years old and is a great way to introduce young children to spending part of their day with God.
‘Bible Podlets’ offers a bible study and discussion resource for adults to complete with primary aged children and you will also find podcasts on the website, and videos on the YouTube Channel which provide advice and support on various aspects of ministry to children.
The team has recently developed a Children and Youth Ministry Self-Assessment Tool, which has been designed for churches to use in order to review their current practices and highlight potential areas for development.
Submitting a completed self-assessment will generate a summary of your responses which is sent directly to your inbox. This can be used to identify one or two key areas where you might like to focus your energies until you feel ready to review your progress again. More information on Children’s Work can be found here.
Children’s Work Advisor
Tel: 07976 205739
Youth Work Advisor
Tel: 07813 903420
Are you keen to reach out to the young people in your community but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you want to re-invigorate the youth work in your parish making it relevant and engaging for today’s teenagers but need some new ideas?
The Diocese Youth Team, led by Ben Green, is on hand to support you. Events are run throughout the year to encourage young people in their faith and explore what living out that faith looks like.
For clergy wanting to make a step change in their parish’s ministry to young people, the Launchpad course is available to help clergy to initiate youth work in their church. Launchpad is presently being delivered deanery by deanery and receiving unanimous support from the clergy involved so far.
After completion of Launchpad or if a parish wants to jump right in, parishes can move into the diocesan Youth Learning Community which enables them to work with others in their church, along with the Youth Team, to develop a youth vision and plan – sharing the journey with other parishes at similar stages in the development of their ministry to young people. Further information on Youth work can be found here.
Becoming a healthy church that transforms its community can entail adaptations to church buildings as well as planning for day-to-day building maintenance.
Jen Read is the Senior Church Buildings Officer and is available to visit churches across the diocese to support you in thinking about how your church could be better utilised to enable fulfilment of the Vision.
If building work and alterations are needed, Jen can advise on obtaining permissions for this work and approval through the faculty process.
Senior Church Buildings Officer
Tel: 07899 348952
If, as part of your role in implementing Vision 2026 within your parish, you are doing something which might be of interest to others across the Diocese, please tell us about it.
If you would like to promote something through the Diocesan communication channels our Communications Manager, Ronnie Semley, will be able to offer advice and support.
If you are a member of the Vision Champions Facebook group, feel free to post information about what you are doing to raise awareness with other Vision Champions.
Tel: 01254 503416
Our churches can only be ‘Healthy Churches’ if they are safe churches. For advice on any aspect of safeguarding, please do not hesitate to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, their details can be found here.
The safeguarding team is led by Catherine Smith who is the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor, Catherine will be very happy to support you with any safeguarding queries you may have.
Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor
Tel: 07711 485170
The Parish Vision Fund is available to provide funding to parishes which are seeking financial assistance for a local initiative focussed on one or more of the four Vision priorities (i.e. a local initiative to make disciples, be witnesses, grow leaders or inspire children and young people). To be considered for funding, an application must be submitted which sets out how the work will promote and resource one of more of the Vision priorities. Further information on the process of applying to the vision fund can be found here.
Last updated August 2023, Ronnie Semley