New Bishop of Blackburn announced

The new Bishop of Blackburn will be the Venerable Julian Henderson, currently Archdeacon of Dorking.

The decision was taken by the Crown Nominations Committee and announced this morning.

The Archdeacon made his first public appearance at Blackburn Foodbank and then visited Blackburn Cathedral to meet the Dean of Blackburn Cathedral, the Very Rev. Christopher Armstrong; staff from the Diocese offices and cathedral workers.

This afternoon he will make a private visit to Whalley Abbey to meet senior Diocese clergy and staff.

The Ven. Julian Henderson said: “To find I am the person invited to become the next Bishop of Blackburn is extremely humbling. It is an honour to be entrusted with such an important and significant responsibility.

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“I am very aware of the very significant challenges facing many in Lancashire at a time of austerity and cutbacks and a shortage of jobs. It is no coincidence this announcement is taking place at a foodbank, one of many round the country, each a sign of the struggle it is for some to get through the next week. I would hope to be a champion and spokesman for those whose voice is often not heard.”

The next Bishop continued: “I am aware of different deeply held convictions around the diocese on the ordination of women to the priesthood and to the episcopate. Let me be clear, I am in favour of women serving as Bishops and will want to introduce a change in the current diocesan pattern by ordaining women as deacons and priests.

“But I hope my vote at General Synod last November will be a reassurance to those opposed to this development, that I want to be a figure of unity on this matter and will ensure there is an honoured place for both positions within the mainstream of the Church of England. Might Blackburn be a model for the rest of the Church of England!”

The Rt Rev. John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley and Acting Bishop of Blackburn, added: “I am delighted to welcome The Ven. Julian Henderson as our next Bishop. He has the full support of the senior clergy in the Diocese, including myself, as he seeks to bring God’s Word to Lancashire in the years ahead. We are all looking forward immensely to this new era for Blackburn Diocese.”