The Institution and Induction of Fr. Peter Walsh to the Over Wyre Benefice

Sunday, 3rd March 2024

Blue skies, bright sunshine and a beautiful spring day, provided the perfect backdrop for an extraordinary Sunday celebration.

The Institution, by the Bishop of Blackburn, and the Induction, by the Archdeacon of Lancaster, of Fr. Peter Walsh to the Over Wyre Benefice took place at Pilling, St. John the Baptist church.

In front of family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, civic guests, Ecumenical representatives, and parishioners from all six churches, Fr. Peter celebrated a fresh start as the new Parish Priest. The Order of Service proclaimed:

“Welcome to an afternoon of joy!  Today, we celebrate a fresh start for the people of God in this place as a priest begins their new ministry and as we all rededicate ourselves to play our part in the worship and witness of the Church. But above all, today, we celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ in our midst and his call on our lives as we worship him in word and song.  Our Diocesan Vision challenges us to be ‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’.  May that prayer be richly fulfilled in this place as we commit ourselves anew to bearing witness to his saving love and power.”


A procession of joint choirs, readers, Licensed Lay Workers, visiting clergy, and readers of the parishes, the Patron with the Incumbent designate, the Area Deacon, the Archdeacon, Churchwardens, Bishop Philip and his chaplain made their way down the aisle as the congregation sang, ‘All My Hope on God is Founded’.

Bishop Philip introduced the service before inviting Fr. Peter to stand before him, ready to present the Incumbent designate to the six churches which make up the Over Wyre Benefice.  Smiling broadly, Fr. Peter then turned to face the congregation, demonstrating his sheer delight at the prospect of becoming the new Parish Priest.


Scripture readings were delivered by LLM Mr. Ray Hart and Rev. Naomi Barraclough, interspersed with the hymn, ‘Praise to the Holiest in the Height’, based on the words of Cardinal John Henry Newman.  This section of the service was followed by a choral rendition of ‘Come Holy Ghost our Souls Inspire’ (Tune: Veni Creator Spiritus).

The Declaration of Assent and the taking of Oaths of Allegiance and Canonical Obedience were solemnly undertaken, with the Bishop then declaring:

“Thank you for this declaration of loyalty.  On behalf of our Diocese, I, with all God’s people here, undertake to support and uphold you in your new ministry.”

Bishop Philip prayed over Fr. Peter, as he knelt before him:

“Peter, do not forget the trust of those who have chosen you.  In your work and ministry, and with your colleagues, care alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor…”

Sitting, the Bishop read the Deed of Institution, gave it to Fr. Peter, before standing, taking up his staff, praying and finally blessing him.  These actions concluded the Institution and paved the way for the next part of the service – the Induction.


Archdeacon David, was asked to induct Fr. Peter in the presence of the Churchwardens and the congregation.  Fr. Peter accompanied the Archdeacon to the main church door, along with representatives of the Parochial Church Councils and the Churchwardens. He said:

“The Lord watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time forth for evermore.”

After returning to the front of the church, Fr. Peter was welcomed with a hearty round of applause and smiling faces.

Representatives from all six churches led the intercessions, praying for the growth of God’s kingdom before the congregation joined together, saying the Lord’s prayer.

The final hymn, ‘To God be the Glory’ brought a service, which mixed medieval traditions with modern flourishes to a triumphant close.  After this, everyone was invited to share in a feast of homemade sandwiches and cakes, lovingly prepared to mark this wonderful occasion.

A day to remember? Absolutely!