Thanksgiving for Lancashire & Cumbria Theological Partnership

A special service of Thanksgiving has been held to mark nearly 40 years’ work of the Lancashire and Cumbria Theological Partnership (LCTP).

Senior leaders, LCTP staff and former students gathered for the Thanksgiving ServiceThe organisation – which dates back formatively to 1978 – has grown from a partnership between the Dioceses of Carlisle and Blackburn and, since 2007, in partnership with the University of Cumbria.

It has existed primarily to prepare men and women for all categories of ordained ministry within the Church of England, either paid or unpaid. Ministerial training has also been provided for Methodist students and to people from the Baptist, Salvation Army and URC traditions prior to being ordained.

As well as ordinands, the LCTP has also provided training for trainee Readers in the Dioceses of Blackburn and Carlisle and theological education for independent students regardless of their denominational allegiance.

On 1 September 2016, the LCTP will formally end, with the Diocese of Blackburn sourcing future training through All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry in the North West and the Diocese of Carlisle having launched its Cumbria Christian Learning (CCL) organisation.

This week more than 70 people – former students, staff and senior leaders from both dioceses – gathered in the Chapel on the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus - to mark the transition and to give thanks for all the work of the LCTP.

During that service, five former students gave personal testimony of their time training through the LCTP.

One of them, the Rev’d Ian Johnston, head teacher of Caldew Lea CE Primary School and curate at Carlisle Holy Trinity and St Barnabas, said: “My time with LCTP saw me learn to love God and learn to love God’s people in a remarkable and wonderful way.”

The Rev’d Dr Roger Latham , Acting Principal of LCTP and newly appointed Director of Cumbria Christian Learning, gave an address around words written by St Paul in Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16.

He told those present: “It was not until I saw you all walking through the doors this evening that I realised that you have all been teaching me about what these words in Ephesians mean.

“You have been teaching me about the wonderful variety of gifts that God gives to his Church. You’ve taught me that God calls all kinds of people to all kinds of ministry. You’ve taught me that God calls us regardless of background, education and status in life.”

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev’d Julian Henderson said: “We’re very grateful that as joint dioceses we have been able to walk together and to work together through the Lancashire and Cumbria Theological Partnership.

“We’re also grateful in Lancashire for the contribution that the LCTP has made to our church life. People have been trained through LCTP and then gone out into different parishes around the diocese and served Christ.”

The Diocese of Blackburn has appointed a part-time Director of Studies to oversee their training programme through All Saints.

In Cumbria, CCL will roll out from the beginning of September and will be intentionally focussed towards supporting the ecumenical God for All vision that by 2020 everyone in Cumbria has had an opportunity to explore the reality of God and God’s purpose in their lives.

The Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Rev’d Robert Freeman, said: “I have been so grateful to be alongside those of you who have passed through the LCTP over the five years I have been in Cumbria.

“LCTP is not just about preparing people for their ministry it is also been about helping people shift themselves into the manner of Jesus Christ; seeking to be formed into his image and likeness so they are ready to serve him and to give their lives for him.”

Both dioceses will continue to partner together for Post-Ordination training.

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For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.