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Tributes paid to ‘fine pastor’ from Lancaster with 65 years of service in diocese

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Canon Gordon Bellinger, a lifelong servant of God and the people of Blackburn Diocese, has died at the age of 89.

Gordon was married to Sheila, retired to Garstang in 1993 and served all his 65 years of ordained ministry in the diocese.

He was ordained in 1953, serving his first curacy at Ribbleton St Mary Magdalene and then Lancaster Priory (St Mary). Gordon moved to take up the position of Vicar at Colne Holy Trinity in 1958 where he stayed for 10 years.

He then served as Vicar at Scotforth St Paul for 25 years from 1968 until his retirement in 1993.

Gordon also held the position of Burnley Deanery Youth Chaplain from 1959 until 1967; Rural Dean of Lancaster from 1982 until 1989; was made an Honorary Canon of Blackburn Cathedral in 1986; served as the Retired Clergy Officer from 1994 until 2002 and held the Bishop’s Permission to Officiate following his retirement in 1993.

The Archdeacon of Lancaster, the Ven Michael Everitt, paid tribute to Canon Bellinger this week, saying: “Gordon’s long ministry in the diocese transformed the lives of many people over the years, both in the parishes he served, in Colne and Scotforth, and in the many clergy he trained and helped.

“I always valued his wisdom, his prayerfulness, and above all his encouraging smile – may he rest in peace.”

The Archdeacon of Blackburn, the Ven Mark Ireland, was a curate at Lancaster Priory in the 1980s and remembers Gordon well.

He said today: “Gordon was a great encourager of the ministry of others, including my own. I remember him most of all as a fine pastor; one who loved God and loved people and who, by faithful pastoral care, built up a very large and thriving congregation comprising members of all ages. He and Sheila were a great team, who have impacted for good on the lives of so many.”

Gordon’s funeral service will take place at St Paul’s Church, Scotforth, at 1.30pm on Tuesday July 31, followed by cremation at Lancaster Crematorium. All who knew Gordon are welcome to attend.

Gordon leaves his wife Sheila, daughters Alison and Rosemary, their husbands and four grandchildren.