The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, joined two new Church leaders on an urban pilgrimage through Stoke-on-Trent.
The Canon Andrew Wickens was licensed as the new Rector of Stoke Minster a fortnight ago while the Revd Phillip Jones was licensed on Saturday as the new Hanley Team Rector.
They took part in the pilgrimage last Friday with Bishop Michael and Andrews wife the Revd Dr Caroline Wickens, the Superintendent of Dudley Methodist Circuit.
Led by Staffordshire Ecumenical Mission Officer Robert Mountford, they walked from Penkhull, through Stoke and Hanley to Burslem before driving to Beacon House of Prayer in Tunstall, Potters Church in Birches Head and Hulton Abbey in Abbey Hulton.
Robert explained: The idea of the pilgrimage was to give Bishop Michael, Andrew and Phillip a cross-section view of Stoke-on-Trent. We called on churches, statues, parks, old coal mines, potteries and the YMCA in Hanley en route and got a real feel for the area.
Bishop Michael said: Pilgrimage is an ancient Christian tradition which helps to root those who take part in the area through which they travel. Stoke-on-Trent has a rich spiritual, social and cultural heritage and it was fantastic to get a flavour of this and to spend time with Andrew and Phillip as they start their important ministries.
Andrew said: As I get started at Stoke Minster, it's been incredibly rewarding to discover the wider city and its history. We're indebted to Robert Mountford for his insight and experience."
Phillip added: It was a fantastic insight into the history of the Potteries but also of the challenges and opportunities of the present and the future to the City and its churches.From left: Canon Andrew Wickens; Revd Chris Rushton, Rector of the United Benefice of Hartshill, Penkhull and Trent Vale; Revd Phillip Jones, Bishop Michael and Robert Mountford outside St Thomass Church in Penkhull.
Pictured: (from left) Canon Andrew Wickens; Revd Chris Rushton, Rector of the United Benefice of Hartshill, Penkhull and Trent Vale; Revd Phillip Jones, Bishop Michael and Robert Mountford outside St Thomass Church in Penkhull.