THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN
The Diocese of Blackburn (The Church of England in
Lancashire) was founded in 1926 by the then Bishop of Manchester,
William Temple. Bishop William was concerned to
emphasise Christian pastoral support for the expanding cotton
This was underlined by transforming the parish church at the
centre of Blackburn into Lancashire's Anglican cathedral. Blackburn
Cathedral is, in fact, one of England's newest cathedrals, yet it
is one of the country's oldest places of Christian
It has a reputation for groundbreaking work in the area of
interfaith relations and community cohesion and it was the first
cathedral in the world to employ a Muslim dialogue development
With coastal plains to the west and the foothills of the
Pennines to the east the boundary The Diocese of Blackburn is
virtually coterminous with the geographic county of Lancashire;
that is the administrative county plus the unitary districts of
Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool.
The Diocese has 237 parishes with 177 benefices. These
include 232 churches and 28 mission buildings in the 14 deaneries
of the Archdeaconries of Blackburn and Lancaster.
After a period of decline, attendance figures are on the rise
again across the Diocese with the most recent figures showing an
average rise of around 4%.
The Church of England in Lancashire owns and runs Whalley
Cistercian Abbey, which includes an active and
well-used Abbey House. As well as being a venue for many key
Diocesan meetings, the House is also hired out as a venue for
weddings, business meetings, parish retreats and
The Abbey House sits amid the beautiful and tranquil ruins of
the original Abbey and one of its Gatehouses. Another
Gatehouse, a short walk away, is owned and managed by
Church of England schools in the Diocese total 186, including
four run jointly with the Methodist Church. Recently a
Multi-Academy Trust (Cidari) was established and has
already welcomed its first few schools, with many more to
Academic progress has seen three universities established in
the county in the last 50 years: Lancaster University,
University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and Cumbria
The University of Cumbria is a church established university,
the Lancaster campus previously being the site of St Martins
College, established as a teaching college in 1964. The total
student population is over 55,000.
Industries as diverse as engineering and tourism retain
important places in the regional economy.
Christian care for changing populations includes the largest
number of aided schools in England, besides chaplaincy work in
prisons, schools, hospitals and universities.
Expanding educational chaplaincy, alongside new directions in
Christian social care and developing interests in Christian
dialogue, provide examples of how a changing Church establishes
mission priorities for changing societies.
Many parts of Lancashire are rural and affluent; but there
are many areas, including Blackpool and several towns in East
Lancashire, with high levels of
Many foodbanks have been established as a result by local
parishes keen to practice Christian mission work in their own
Blackburn Diocese has links with The Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Braunschweig which consists of around 400,000
members in over 400 parishes as well as Free State in
South Africa (formerly known as Bloemfontein). The
latter is the oldest Companion Link in the Anglican
People regularly visit each other from the link Dioceses;
there is a constant flow of prayer and a number of very strong
parish to parish links. The Diocese of Blackburn is
served by a Diocesan Bishop (The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev.
Julian Henderson who was appointed in 2013) two suffragan bishops
(The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. Philip North and the
Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson) The Dean of Blackburn,
currently in vacancy and also two archdeacons (The Venerable Mark
Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn and The Venerable Michael Everitt,
Archdeacon of Lancaster).