The Church of England in Lancashire have ordained a new cohort of priests and deacons, welcoming a GP, a teaching assistant, a bookseller, a call centre worker, a professional musician, and a construction worker to the faith.
Ordained at Blackburn Cathedral by the Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, and the Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, the 19 new deacons and priests - the highest figure since 2013 - are all raring to go, 'eager' to get to work in their parishes to help fulfill the Church's ‘Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities' project.
Inspired by his parents' and his grandparents' Christian faith, newly-ordained Victor Sohail of St John the Evangelist in Great Marsden and St Philip's in Nelson has spoken of the importance of trust in the Church's role in the community.
"My grandparents' and my parents’ Christian faith was very influential for me; my grandparents were poor and uneducated people, but still their faith in Jesus was very strong," said Victor, who was born in Sialkot, Pakistan and grew up in Hyderabad. "They helped my parents to educate and grow in Christian environment in Christian boarding schools [which] helped us to grow in our faith."
Married with three children and a great lover of both playing and listening to South Asian music, Victor added: "The importance of building relationships and trust with others is a very important part of ministry. My vision is to help make disciples for Jesus, and help those disciples to grow up to the standard, where they can help in making more disciples."
Rt Rev. Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley, himself said: "Every year we see a new group of men and women of all ages responding to God’s call to become a Priest or Deacon in His church. It is an exciting time for all of them and for their parishes which are scattered across Lancashire.”