The church is part of an informal grouping of churches in East Blackburn comprising: St Jude’s and St Oswald’s C of E; St Joseph’s and St Teresa’s RC; and St Paul’s Methodist Church. Leaders of these churches have met regularly over the last few years. There have been joint services, often followed by soup and a roll, in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and some churches have shared in Bible Study sessions during Lent.
Links with groups of other faiths
The church has strong links with the Blackburn with Darwen Interfaith Forum, which has been instrumental in the formation of a new forum for the faith leaders of four churches and four mosques in East Blackburn. Clergy from St Jude’s C of E; St Paul’s Methodist, St Joseph’s RC and Westbury Gardens URC meet regularly with the leaders of four local mosques in what is known as the East Blackburn Faith Leaders’ Forum. This is a ground-breaking initiative.
The mosques are: Noorul Islam; Jaame; Chester Street and Rizwan Newton Street.
The leaders, and others, from these places of worship have expressed a desire to work together to engender greater familiarity and understanding between the members of the congregations. They are also committed to work together to:
- address local issues such as crime and disorder,
- increase respect for places of worship and faith,
- consider the impact of global issues as they occur, and
- work with the media.
Over the last few years successful ‘Getting to know you’ meetings have been held. On the day of Pentecost 2008, over 200 people, with an equal split between Christians and Muslims, attended a meeting about the origins of the four denominations of Christianity represented in the area. A similar event looking at the strands of Islam being practised in the Borough was held at Noorul Islam mosque on Saturday 7 February 2009.
A former Chair of the Interfaith Forum, Derek Estill, is a serving Elder of this church and continues to serve as a member of the Interfaith Forum.
A leaflet has recently been produced entitled: East Blackburn Interfaith Trail. This is a walking route that connects places of worship and other places of interest, such as the birthplace of Alfred Wainwright. He is known for his famous guides to the Lakeland Fells and was a church member at Furthergate Congregational Church (our predecessor) before moving to Kendal. For further information contact www.livingstreets.org.uk