Lancashire

Bishop of Lancaster's prayer walk through Lancashire

The Right Reverend Geoff Pearson
Image caption The Bishop ended his walk at St. John the Evangelist in Worsthorne

The Bishop of Lancaster says a marathon walk through Lancashire will better inform the diocese on the appointments they make to improve county life.

The Right Reverend Geoff Pearson was speaking in Worsthorne at the end of the 87 mile, seven day walk.

The Bishop's Prayer Walk included visits to churches in north Lancashire, the Wyre and Fylde coast, central and east Lancashire.

It was the third such walk he has undertaken in two years.

"We have met some wonderful people along the way and learned an awful lot about the communities we've passed through," said the Bishop.

Bishop Geoff set out from the north Lancashire village of Arkholme where he heard about the economic difficulties of keeping historic churches alive in sparse rural communities.

Along the way he was joined by people who walked for a few metres or a few hours with him.

Soul and stomach

The welcome from the county's churches often involved sustenance for both the soul and the stomach. "We have had some marvellous cake in Singleton" the Bishop told BBC Radio Lancashire.

As the days unfolded so did the stories of those he met: "We had a wonderful day in Blackpool where a young police officer was walking with us. He showed us some of the very difficult challenges facing the church in the town.

"He also told us stories about how he often picks up folks in the middle of the night who have had a drop too much to drink and only know they are looking for their hotel which they thought was called The Seaview and is on the promenade."

The last leg of the walk was in the Burnley area, where the Bishop called on six churches: "In Burnley we met a taxi driver who was disillusioned by life in the town and the church. Yet he still allowed us to pray with him."

As the Bishop leaned on his crook on the steps of his final stop, St. John the Evangelist on the scenic Church Square in Worsthorne, he reflected on the unique insight to Lancashire that the series of walks had given him.

"We will use the information I have gained to better meet the challenges that communities in Lancashire face," he said. "Because we have been walking with people, and you walk side by side, we have had more chance to hear their stories."

The Bishop wants to use the walks to better support those who are already at the church face working with changing communities.

"I have met people who have been in their communities for years and years," he said.

"They have seen how their communities have changed and yet they have not given up hope. They have often had to try very different things in their churches to reach out and it has been wonderful to see them doing this."

Joe Wilson presents the faith programme on BBC Radio Lancashire from 6am each Sunday.

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