A 66-year-old woman from Lancaster is among candidates to be ordained by Blackburn Diocese (the Church of England in Lancashire) this weekend.
A total of nine Deacons will be ordained at Blackburn Cathedral tomorrow, Saturday June 29, at a special service beginning at 10.30am and conducted by the Bishop of Burnley and Acting Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev John Goddard.
Deacons are preparing for priesthood and are usually ordained as priests about a year after their ‘diaconal ordination’.
In addition to the nine Deacons a further 14 candidates (or ‘ordinands’) will be ordained as priests at other venues across the region over the weekend.
These other services for Priests-to-be will take place in Blackpool, Clitheroe, Lancaster, Standish and Blackburn (Christ Church) and will be conducted by Rt Rev Goddard and Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster.
It is an exciting time of the year for the church and the total number of candidates being ordained in 2013 is very similar to last year – 23 compared to 24 in 2012.
The 2012 figure was a record number for the Diocese since the current register began in 1982.
The candidates work across the region of Lancashire, from Lancaster to the outskirts of Wigan and from Blackpool to Clitheroe. Nine of the group are women with 14 men.
The oldest to be ordained deacon is Helen Leathard from Lancaster, who is 66, the same age as the oldest person to be ordained priest - John Mountain.
Prior to the weekend ahead all candidates have been on retreat at Whalley Abbey.
Speaking in advance of the services, Bishop of Burnley and Acting Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev John Goddard said: “It is a joyous time for the church when we welcome new Ordinands.
“The candidates are very high quality and give me much hope for the future of the Church in Lancashire as we await the arrival of the next Bishop of Blackburn, The Venerable Julian Henderson.
“I hope they enjoy their special day. They have all worked hard to reach this point and deserve to be recognised for that hard work.”