Archbishop of York visits Whalley Abbey, Burnley College and Ghausia Mosque

The Archbishop of York, The Most Rev. and Rt Hon. Stephen Cottrell, visited Burnley as part of a long weekend of mission and ministry in Lancashire.

The Archbishop’s journey across the Diocese took him to Burnley, Whalley, Blackburn, Lancaster and the Fylde Coast.

Archbishop Stephen said: “I had a fantastic weekend in Lancashire – there is much to celebrate and give thanks for. Thank you to everyone involved. My prayer is that we are confident in sharing our faith with others so that more may now the love of God and enter into a relationship with him.”

Across the weekend media interest in the visit was high with the visit featuring on BBC Radio Lancashire multiple times; That’s Lancashire TV and many local newspapers across the region.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell listens and chats with other guests at Burnley College. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Meanwhile the Diocese’s own social media channels were very active throughout the weekend using #celebratelancs and many pictures plus a ‘video diary’ with the Archbishop as he travelled across the county; together with videos recorded with many other participants including Bishop Julian himself; Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster and Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley.Archbishop Stephen then moved on to Burnley where his first stop was Burnley College and he mingled with civic, commercial and business leaders from the town for discussions over lunch. They included the Council’s Chief Executive, Mick Cartledge and the Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Cosima Towneley.

Speaking just before the Archbishop arrived, Bishop Philip said: “Nearly 6000 students study at Burnley College for a huge variety of courses. It’s a really energetic place at the heart of a really energetic town and I’m really excited the Archbishop is coming to Burnley; to find out more about the good things that are going on in education and commerce and to meet people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds.”Later, Archbishop Stephen met with students from the college who peppered him with questions about his journey to becoming an archbishop and his personal faith.He then moved on to the Ghausia Mosque in Burnley where he was greeted by community leaders, including the Leader of Burnley Council, Coun. Afrasiab Anwar. After a warm welcome to the mosque, a fascinating inter-faith discussion was led by Andy Pratt, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire and Bishop’s Adviser on Inter-Faith Matters.Archbishop Stephen said: “It was a fabulous meeting. We have received wonderful hospitality and importantly great conversations about where we can build bridges and friendships together and work for the common good.”Coun. Anwar added: “It’s been a pleasure to welcome the Archbishop to Burnley and to this mosque as leader of the council but also as chairman of the inter-faith organisation ‘Building Bridges in Burnley’ – a role I’m passionate about. Building understanding and bringing communities together to learn more about one another helps to reveal all the things we have in common and allows for honest conversations.”It was then on to Whalley Abbey, where the new Diocesan Centre for Christian Discipleship and Prayer is based, run by Director, Rev. Adam Thomas.At the Abbey on Friday night there was a wonderful open-air service attended by several hundred people from parishes across the Diocese and led by the Archbishop; who also blessed the Abbey site and the work of the new Centre.