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Rev Canon Peter Ballard/David France
Rev Canon Peter Ballard/David France
UK News

Vicar gets creative with lockdown sermons from a motorway bridge and Blackpool beach

by Chantalle Edmunds

A Lancaster vicar has come up with increasingly creative ways of delivering his sermons during lockdown including filming overlooking the M6.

Rev Canon Peter Ballard, who's a non-stipendiary vicar of St James Church at Shireshead with Forton, joined forces with Derbyshire-based retired broadcaster David France to film the weekly reflections.

To date the duo have filmed more than 50 short films that see Rev Canon Ballard delivering a topical message, along with weekly readings and gospel messages. 

"We have produced them from a variety of settings. I have filmed from all the settings but sometimes we use the film on a green screen and I am speaking from home. I could not keep the camera still or be heard over the wind on Blackpool beach!!" Rev Canon Ballard told Premier.

"David France, a former BBC major events producer, who I had known and worked with thirty years ago contacted me at the beginning of "lock down" in March 2020 and offered to produce what we came to call "Faith in Lockdown" which would be offered to my congregation whilst public worship was banned. When public worship restarted in July, and my church St James, Shireshead, in the Diocese of Blackburn, where I am the SSM vicar began live streaming, we just carried on with the weekly Reflection."

"I record it and David produces it. Much is in situ but we also make use of green screening," he added.

To date sermons have been preached from a variety of locations including a motorway bridge on the M6, Blackpool beach and various cathedrals.

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