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The New Bishop of Blackburn - Julian Henderson

The Venerable Julian Henderson

Friday 1st March 2013

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has welcomed the announcement that the Venerable Julian Henderson will be the new Bishop of Blackburn.

The new Bishop of Blackburn will be The Venerable Julian Henderson, currently Archdeacon of Dorking.

The decision was taken by the Crown Nominations Committee (CNC) and is announced today.

The Archdeacon made his first public appearance this morning at the Blackburn Foodbank. He then made his first visit to nearby Blackburn Cathedral where he met with the Dean of Blackburn Cathedral, The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong; staff from the Diocese offices in neighbouring Church House and cathedral workers.

This afternoon he will make a private visit to Whalley Abbey where he will meet with senior Diocese clergy and senior Diocese staff.

The Archdeacon’s name was sent to the Prime Minister by the CNC at the end of January and then to Her Majesty The Queen, in her role as head of state and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, who recently gave the decision her final approval and ratification.

The Venerable Julian Henderson commented: “To find that I am the person invited to become the next Bishop of Blackburn is extremely humbling. It is an honour to be entrusted with such an important and significant responsibility.

“Heather and I come to the diocese in response to a call from God through His church to serve both His people and the whole wider community in Lancashire. And we do so joyfully with a real sense of expectation and excitement.

“I am very aware of the very significant challenges facing many in Lancashire at a time of austerity and cutbacks and a shortage of jobs. It is no coincidence that this announcement is taking place at a foodbank, one of many round the country, each one a sign of the struggle it is for some to get through the next week. I would hope to be a champion and spokesman for those whose voice is often not heard.

“I am also aware this Foodbank has been supported by the whole community, not just the Christian community, including local Muslims and Buddhists and people of no faith who just want to help people in need.

 “Our relationship as leaders sends a vital message to our separate communities about finding good ways of living alongside one another, respecting our differences and working together where we can for the common good.

“I also look forward to meeting and working closely with civic leaders and CEOs of local and County authorities; a partnership in which I believe the church has much to offer.

The next Bishop of Blackburn continued: “At another level I am aware of different deeply held convictions around the diocese on the ordination of women to the priesthood and to the episcopate. Let me be clear, I am in favour of women serving as Bishops and will want to introduce a change in the current diocesan pattern by ordaining women as deacons and priests.

“But I hope my vote at General Synod last November will be a reassurance to those opposed to this development, that I want to be a figure of unity on this matter and will ensure there is an honoured place for both positions within the mainstream of the Church of England. Might Blackburn be a model for the rest of the Church of England!”

The Venerable Julian Henderson also spoke of the opportunities for mission his new position affords saying: “Compared to other areas of the country Blackburn Diocese had a stronger response to the question about faith in the most recent 2011 Census. Around 67% of people in the region describe themselves as Christian, compared with 59% nationally.

“There is a strong Christian core running through Lancashire, much like the writing in a stick of the famous Blackpool rock! I want to build up and encourage my fellow Christians in the region to stand up and speak out for what they believe in and to make a difference where it matters – in peoples’ lives. We can grow the Kingdom in this area as much through the works we do as by the words we say.

“There are great opportunities for the church today. I am passionately committed to encouraging church leaders and their families, lay and ordained, in supporting them and their parishes in the front line work of proclaiming the Gospel and serving their local communities.

“It is a tough call to be church today and I am aware of the cost and commitment of many in fulfilling their calling. Without their presence many local communities would be the poorer. I also long to see the church more fully engaged in the mission task given to us, to go and make disciples of all people.

“I believe that knowing Jesus Christ is Good News and I will do whatever I can to speak of Him and encourage others to believe in Him. I hope to be able to boost confidence in this Gospel message and for the Christian community to be more and more unashamed of their faith in Jesus Christ.

“So we look forward to moving to Lancashire and becoming part of your life here. When that will be has yet to be decided, but I hope we shall be able to give you dates in the not too distant future. In the meantime, we value your prayers not just for us, but also Bishop John and the team as they continue to carry the responsibility of the vacancy.”



The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “I am delighted to welcome The Venerable Julian Henderson as Bishop of Blackburn. Julian has many years of Christian Ministry and will bring to this new and challenging role the joy of the Christian Gospel. I look forward to working with him to advance God’s kingdom of justice and peace in Lancashire.”


Rt Rev. John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley and Acting Bishop of Blackburn, added: “I am delighted to welcome The Venerable Julian Henderson as our next Bishop. He has the full support of the senior clergy in the Diocese, including myself, as he seeks to bring God’s Word to Lancashire in the years ahead. We are all looking forward immensely to this new era for Blackburn Diocese.”


Factsheet about the next Bishop of Blackburn



  • The Archdeacon is currently based at the Diocese of Guildford, covering most of Surrey and part of Hampshire. The Diocese cathedral is Guildford Cathedral and the bishop is the Bishop of Guildford. It is part of the Province of Canterbury. Website:
  • The Archdeacon is 58 and was born in 1954.
  • Educated at Keble College Oxford he became an ordained Deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1980.
  • From 1979 to 1983 he was Curate at Islington St Mary; Diocese of London.
  • From 1983 to 1992 he was Vicar of Emmanuel and St Mary in the Castle in Hastings; Diocese of Chichester.
  • From 1992 to 2005 he was Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Claygate; Diocese of Guildford, where he was also Rural Dean of Emly from 1996 to 2001.
  • Since 2005 he has been Archdeacon of Dorking.
  • He has also been Honorary Canon of Guildford Cathedral from 2002.
  • He is currently chair of the Church of England General Synod Business Committee.
  • He also supports The Limpsfield Trust which works to provide fun activity holidays for young people from across the UK from all backgrounds.


Other background information

  • In 2010 the Archdeacon was one of 4000 delegates representing 198 countries at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in Cape Town, South Africa … ‘the most representative gathering of Christian leaders in the 2000 year history of the Christian movement’ (Christianity Today). He heard powerful stories from around the world about evangelisation and the importance of placing God at the centre of peoples’ lives; not only speaking about faith, but acting out faith in the Works we do as Christians. It is the importance of action as well as words that led the Archdeacon to choose the Blackburn Foodbank for his first appearance as the next Bishop of Blackburn.


Other personal information

  • Julian Henderson is married to Heather and has two grown-up children, Susannah, 27 and Jamie, 25.
  • In his leisure time he enjoys gardening, design and DIY, walking, reading, tennis and cycling


Some information about the Foodbank Warehouse

  • Blackburn Foodbank was started with seed money from St Gabriel’s Church of England in Blackburn and opened on November 16, 2012.
  • It is franchised by the Trussell Trust, a national network of foodbanks. Blackburn Foodbank is run by Ros Duerden, a parishioner and former church warden of St Gabriel’s.
  • In the brief period since it opened the foodbank has fed 886 people. It shifts a tonne of food every single week.
  • There are around 11 volunteers who help out regularly and donations come from a variety of sources including local churches, both C of E and other denominations; private individuals; local businesses and other faith groups.
  • The foodbank has a solid Christian ethos behind it – supporting people in need and sharing the gospel in an informal way.
  • Find out more at the Foodbank website here:

·         To find out more about volunteering or just making a donation email

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