Thousands respond to call of Christ as four-day extravaganza deemed to have carried a potent message
It had a cast of thousands and involved 450 separate church events.
And at the end of four days of the Crossroads Mission, the top Church of England clergy in Lancashire all agreed it had been a “great success.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, initiated and led the mission, assisted by 24 bishops and their teams from across the North of England.
After the final event on Preston’s Flag Market, attended by more than 1,000 people, the bishops of Blackburn, Lancaster and Burnley joined forces to pay tribute to the many thousands who worked so hard to make it a weekend to remember.
And they shared the hope that the event would have a long-term effect at churches across the county with people coming forward to take a closer look at what it means to be a Christian.
Travelling across Lancashire to all points we have been amazed at the many ways people have been engaging in their local communities to share the gospel message
In a joint statement Bishops Julian Henderson, Geoff Pearson and Philip North said: “Crossroads Mission has been a great success.
“Travelling across Lancashire to all points we have been amazed at the many ways people have been engaging in their local communities to share the gospel message.
“This hasn’t just been a weekend of nice social events - although many have been VERY social and great fun.
“There are many organisations out there that put on good events - but we have a ‘unique selling point’ which can be summed up in a name - Jesus.
“Crossroads has been about sharing that USP - the good news about Jesus Christ - with the people of Lancashire and literally hundreds of events have taken place across the county.
“We want to thank the Archbishop of York, all the visiting bishops, their teams and the teams from our local deaneries, in our parishes and schools, plus many ecumenical partners, for all their hard work.
“We give thanks to God for those who have heard and responded to the call of Christ to come and follow Him during the Crossroads Mission.
“In the coming months we pray for an increase in the numbers of people coming to what are called ‘enquirers courses’ in our parishes.
“At these courses people can delve further into what it means to become a Christian and perhaps decide to make a personal step of faith themselves.”
The Flag Market event, which featured Archbishop Sentamu, brought the four days of celebration to a close. It was the first time the Crossroads Mission had been held in the North West.
The Archbishop gave a rousing sermon to the crowd in Preston city centre and invited members of the audience who wanted to give their lives to Christ to come forward. Many did so and were prayed for by the three Lancashire bishops.
In a speech at the start of the Mission at Blackburn Cathedral, Dr John Sentamu said: “Be excited that you can turn the world upside down. When the Holy Spirit fills a person, they are filled with a love that must come out.”
More than 40 events were organised in the Preston area alone and included a visit by Dr Sentamu to meet staff and pupils at Archbishop Temple School in Fulwood, family fun days, barbecues and a sports tournament in Longridge.
One of the biggest events of the four days came at Ewood Park, Blackburn on Friday morning when more than 4,000 children from schools in the area attended a celebration with singing, dancing and fun.
A further 500-plus young people were at an event called Light At The Crossroads on Thursday night at a scout camp in Great Harwood.