A SERVICE of thanksgiving for the ministry of The Venerable Michael Everitt, the Archdeacon of Lancaster, and his wife Ruth Everitt has taken place at Blackburn Cathedral.

Saturday's event included a Eucharist, gifts and many warm tributes and was attended by the couple's family and friends and many familiar faces from across the county.

It was in early April when it was announced Archdeacon Michael had been appointed Canon Pastor at Durham Cathedral. To date, he has served all his 27 years of ministry in the Diocese of Blackburn, apart from a three-year secondment to its Link Diocese, the Free State, in South Africa.

He has been a curate; a university chaplain; rector of Standish; priest-in-charge at Appley Bridge All Saints; area dean of Chorley Deanery; Archdeacon of Lancaster from 2011 to present and, most recently, he was also vicar of Preston during a period of vacancy.

While Archdeacon, Michael also has also been a much-valued Chair of both the Diocesan Board of Education and CIDARI –

Speaking after the Thanksgiving Service, he said: “I was both humbled and touched at so many people coming to the cathedral on Saturday and for the generosity in the gifts and comments.

“It was lovely to have all three of our current bishops there, demonstrating our commitment to mutual flourishing. It was also amazing that, alongside my current colleague Archdeacon Mark, there were also present three former archdeacons: John Hawley, Peter Ballard and Colin Williams. I was also deeply touched that Bishop Nicholas and Bishop Geoff were there.

“If ‘first impressions count, and last impressions stick’ (as my Headmaster said on our last day at school) my last impression of Blackburn Diocese is one of a Diocese living out its Vision to be ‘healthy churches transforming communities’.”

The Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, added: “Many people in the Diocese of Blackburn, and some who have moved to other parts of the country, owe a huge debt of gratitude to God for Michael’s ministry over 27 years in Lancashire. As curate, chaplain, vicar and archdeacon he has lived out his calling as a priest with faithfulness and energy.

“I personally have really appreciated his support in my six years in the diocese, not least his remembrance of the date of my consecration with a card each year."