Guardian of Whalley Abbey Centre for Prayer and Discipleship

This job has now expired
Whalley Abbey

A prayerful and visionary priest is sought for this exciting new post.

You will be responsible for enabling the transition of this beautiful and historic retreat house to become a centre for prayer and Christian discipleship for the diocese, a place of hospitality where all are welcome and where disciples of Jesus are formed. You will lead a small staff team and a new resident community dedicated to recapturing William Temple’s vision for the Abbey as ‘a real spiritual power-house and a seat of learning’, through the Benedictine values of daily worship, service and mission.

The Abbey House is situated in the magnificent grounds of a ruined Cistercian Abbey. Attractive accommodation is provided in a separate house on site.


To have overall responsibility for developing the Abbey as a Centre for Prayer and Christian Discipleship, for forming and leading a small resident community and a larger dispersed community of prayer. Also, to have responsibility for the efficient running of the Abbey, which includes both the management of all paid employees and volunteers and the willingness to get stuck in as part of the team when needed.

There are two initial phases to the role:

  1. develop the business plan [for approval by Bishop’s Council by end April 2020]
  2. implement the approved business plan 

Main Aspects to Role:

  • To refocus the work of the Abbey as a Centre for Prayer and Discipleship, working alongside the Director of Discipleship in creating a strong programme of retreats, quiet days and training for whole-life discipleship.
  • To establish a rhythm of daily prayer and regular eucharistic worship within the Abbey, both for the community and guests, and arrange the provision of spiritual direction or sacramental confession where requested.
  • To work with the Hospitality Manager to ensure that the accommodation, grounds, buildings and catering are all maintained to a consistently high standard, so that all guests are well cared for and have a positive experience of their visit.
  • To form and lead a small resident community dedicated to supporting the work of the Abbey through the Benedictine disciplines of prayer, study, hospitality and service.
  • To draw up a realistic budget and plan to increase usage of the Abbey so that it becomes financially sustainable, within the annual grant agreed with the Diocesan Board of Finance. 
  • To be an Ambassador for the Abbey to the diocese and beyond, promoting and developing its links with deaneries and parishes, and potential partners and users.
  • With the Director of Discipleship and the cathedral, to support the development of a dispersed community of prayer across the diocese, living by a Rule of Life and praying for the Abbey and the diocese.

Operational Activities:

  • To promote the ministry of Whalley Abbey through the website, social media, advertising in retreat and tourist related material and its own printed publicity.
  • To serve on the Management Group of Whalley Abbey.
  • To meet regularly with the Director of Discipleship.
  • To attend Senior Staff meetings when requested.
  •  To lead regular meetings with the whole staff of the Abbey.
  • To support the work of the Friends of Whalley Abbey.
  • To support the day to day operations of the Abbey during peak periods and to cover for staff shortages due to holidays etc.
  • To develop the use of the grounds and ruins and make further links with schools.
  • To ensure all relevant Health and Safety legislation is complied with and assess all foreseeable risks and mitigate risk and effect.
  • To ensure the buildings, fixtures, equipment and fitting are kept in good working order.
  • To carry out any other duties that might reasonably be required.

Management of staff:

  • Care of all staff, including provision of necessary training and arrangement of rosters within individual constraints. Arrangements for temporary extra or cover staff as necessary for the smooth running of the work, and willingness to cover other roles when needed in emergency.
  • To manage staff in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Diocese of Blackburn   including appraisals and recruitment, whilst maintaining good working relations amongst the Abbey staff.


Please find attached the full person specification

For an informal conversation please ring Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn, on 07866 778791 or email

Closing date: 8th November 2019

Interviews will take place at Whalley Abbey on 26th November 2019 – overnight accommodation will be provided near the Abbey if required

For further information on Blackburn Diocese please click here