The new minister at three Pendle churches has thanked his congregation for helping him create lasting memories at his official welcome service.
The Rev. John Wensley Knott has now been instituted and inducted as Rector of St Michael and All Angels Church, Foulridge, Christ Church, Colne, and St Mary’s Church, Trawden.
His latest post follows 18 months working in Colne, after he moved to the town with his wife, Judy, to take up an initial three-month assignment.
Brought up and educated in Lancaster, Mr Knott became more involved in parish church life while he was living in Dorset.
After studying at Salisbury and Wells Theological College, he was ordained priest in 1990, and in 1994 he moved to Munich, where he stayed for nearly 20 years.
Speaking of his new position, dad-of-three Mr Knott said: “I was delighted when the churches here asked me to stay, although I must admit to being quite nervous and apprehensive.
“It was wonderful to be with so many friends at the induction service.
“I would especially like to thank our Mayor and Andrew Stephenson, our MP, for taking the time out of their busy schedules to join us.
“The singing was truly amazing and I am sure God really enjoyed our praise and worship. The Bishop’s sermon was inspiring.
“A huge thank you to all those who helped prepare the service, provided the refreshments and helped with the tidying up. Judy and I would like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts for a wonderful ‘official’ welcome. We enjoyed every moment of the service. It will hold great memories in the years to come.
“With God’s help, I will do my very best and try not to let everyone down. Of course, I’m only a small part of a big team - God, ‘everyone’ and me.”
Mr Knott’s role marks the beginning of a new era for Colne’s five churches, since they have now been split into two united benefices.
He states one of the greatest challenges for the three churches is to discover ways of supporting those who are on the fringe of faith.
He added a further challenge is to build on the friendly and supportive communities in the churches, so that visitors feel welcome when they come through the doors, and that companionship and comfort is provided to older members of the community.