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The Archbishop of York visits Lancashire

PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 December 2014

The Archbishop in full flow at the seminar for Diocese clergy in Preston Minster (SC)

The Archbishop in full flow at the seminar for Diocese clergy in Preston Minster (SC)

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Thousands of people of all faiths gave a warm Lancastrian welcome to the Archbishop of York, The Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, during a two day visit to the red rose county.

The Archbishop started his visit bright and early at Bishop’s House near Ribchester, ready to head off with Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson to St Michael’s High School in Chorley.

The school was the venue that day for a Vocations Conference for year 11s from across the region. As well as pupils from the Chorley school, other schools were taking part from Lancaster, Blackpool, Accrington and many other areas.

Headteacher Julie Heaton said: ‘We were immensely honoured to have the Archbishop here. Everyone, from the pupils to our young leaders, have been tremendously excited and he has been inspiring to listen to.’

Next stop was the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) where, over lunch and later on a tour of the facility, the Archbishop learned of the work being done by all the chaplains, including the Anglican chaplain Canon Andrew Clitherow.

He then moved on the Blackburn where he participated in a ‘Faith in the Middle East’ seminar at the Cathedral joined by faith representatives from several local communities.

Blackpool was the next stop for a meeting with local political and business leaders at Blackpool Town Hall before moving on to the main event of the two days, the Light in Darkness mission event at the Tower Ballroom.

The Archbishop proved to be as big a draw as Strictly Comes Dancing as venue was quite literally packed to the rafters.

After an introduction from Bishop Julian, who waltzed his way onto the dance floor, a total of 2,000 people heard the Archbishop speak about his difficult early life in Uganda and testimonies from others who had struggled with their own challenges before finding Jesus.

The second day began with the monthly Diocesan staff Eucharist at the Cathedral before moving on to Accrington where the Archbishop spoke at a special All Saints Tide collective worship for more than 500 schoolchildren and their teachers from across the Accrington Deanery.

An interfaith group meeting at Blackburn College was followed by a visit to Preston Minster for a lunch and study afternoon attended by around 120 clergy from across the Diocese.

As the visit drew to a close Archbishop Sentamu spoke with delight about what he had seen, heard and experienced across his two days in Lancashire.

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