Permission has been granted to build Lancashire’s first education centre to train the next generation of religious leaders.
Undertaker Geoff Whalley, the man behind multi-faith God’s Acre Chapel at the Much Hoole Woodland Burial Ground in Moss House Lane, has successfully applied for an extension to the building to form a classroom.
He is now ready for applicants aged 18 to 24 to enrol on 10 week courses, which will begin in May.
He said: “I wanted to do something because churches of all kinds are closing down across the district and there’s no young people coming through.
“I also wanted to bring a business angle to it.”
The course, called The God’s Acre Course For Biblical Study For Youth and Formative For Mission, is being supported by The Rt Rev John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley, who Mr Whalley said he “couldn’t have done the work without”.
Rev Malcolm Maymand will chair the scheme, supported by a committee of Kathleen Cooper, chair of Bishop Rawsthorn Academy, florist Margaret Mason, former nurse Mary Layfield, Mr Whalley and his wife Anne.
Kat Witham, diocese youth officer for the Diocese of Blackburn, has praised the scheme and will be a special advisor.
Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes is also in support.
Mr Whalley added: “Some of the young people might not want to go onto ministry, but it will be useful if they want to join an organisation like Christian Aid.”
It is hoped the top students will be able to enjoy a holiday to the Bishop’s residence in Cape Town, South Africa.
Anyone interested in applying is asked to write to Mr and Mrs Whalley at Goose Green Farm, Moss House Lane, Much Hoole, PR4 4TD or call 01772 612900.