Meet the Team

Reverend Denise Smith (Retired NSM and Church Warden)

I am an ex-teacher who received a calling very late in life, at 55 years old. I was ordained in 2008. Recently I retired at 70 years old after 8 years of service as an O.L.M. (Ordained Local Minister) and then as an N.S.M. (Non Stipendiary Minister). I served as a governor of Crawshawbooth Primary School and am a trustee of Crawshawbooth Community Centre.

I share the branch Leadership of Goodshaw Mothers' Union with Mrs Wendy Cox. I am the Rossendale Deanery Leader of Mothers' Union and recently accepted the role of Bolton Archdeaconry Chaplain. One of my great loves is helping to organise festivals and retreats for Mothers' Union members.

It is now over 20 years since I was widowed but I have a lovely extended family, with 14 grandchildren and 1 great -grandchild. When I was 70, the family made me a poster saying, "Mum loves:- Gin & Tonic, a good party, Elvis, being a grandma and then God!" They were teasing me because they know very well that my love for God comes before everything else!

I will continue to serve my Lord in as many ways as I am able, as long as my health holds out. The Lord  does not seem to understand the meaning of the word 'retirement'!!

Lorraine Ashworth (Lay Reader)

Rossendale born and bred, I’m a Licensed Reader which means I have studied for 3 years to enable me to preach sermons, help to lead worship and distribute Holy Communion within the parish. I live outside the parish but try to make a full contribution to parish life when work commitments allow.

I qualified as a primary school teacher in 1996 and worked as a supply teacher in many different schools until 2017. I now work as a customer care adviser.

To relax, I enjoy reading from a wide variety of genres but especially Sci-fi/Fantasy and crime novels. I also love going to watch live rock music with my daughter and friends.

I love my role which I feel God has called me to and want to serve him with joy and purpose in all aspects of my life.



Mike Black (Church Warden and ALM)  

Born in Yorkshire, but brought up in Rossendale from a very early age, I moved to Bocholt, Rossendale’s German twin-town, after completing an HND in Business Studies. Eighteen months later, I moved to Brussels, where I stayed for 14 years. Most of my professional life was spent in the field of speciality papers and nonwovens. I was very fortunate to have had a career, which took me all around the world, included being managing director of companies in Belgium and the UK, as well as being on the Board of 3 Chinese joint-venture companies and being the founding Chairman of two companies in Indonesia, a country which remains close to my heart in retirement. Being multi-lingual certainly helped with all of that !

I count myself very lucky to have been brought up in a profoundly Christian family, for which I am eternally indebted to both of my parents. Raised in the Anglican tradition, I did stray to the Roman Catholic church, while living in Germany, then to the Scottish Presbyterian Church, while in Brussels. It was there that I consider that Christ really took a meaningful part in my life. I was called to lead house groups and to be ordained an Elder of the church.

Since returning to Rossendale in the mid-1990’s, the church of St Mary & All Saints, Goodshaw, has become my spiritual home. Nobody is perfect, and I did go through a divorce in the 90’s, but then re-married (to the church organist). Between us, we have 4 children and 7 grandchildren, who are the apple of my eye.

A couple of the past clergy at Goodshaw had tried to encourage me to take up holy orders, but I feel that God has other plans for me. I did train as an Authorised Lay Minister (ALM) in 2018, perhaps as a compromise. (You know when God is nudging you !!) Being a churchwarden in a parish with no vicar is no walk in the park, but, with God’s help we will grow our church family.

Away from family and church, my “retirement project” involves the reforestation of 5000 hectares of depleted rainforest in a remote area of Indonesia and the creation of a local agroforestry-based economy.


Pam Bateman (Lay Reader)

I was born in London in 1944 to a single mother. I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour when I was about 8 years old and baptised by full emersion in1957. I worked in a Pharmacy until I started training as a Nurse in May 1963, later training to work in operating theatres and in Midwifery.

I have worked overseas in Morocco, where I spent 5 years including time within the American Red Cross programme on the nearby American Base assisting in the midwifery team and also in the Chaplaincy programme. I then worked in Holland and returned to the UK in 1977 as Theatre Supervisor at Mildmay Mission Hospital.

I later transferred into the nursing school at the Royal London Hospital as a Clinical Teacher and finally a Tutor until moving to the Peak District to be closer to my mum, working at the school of Nursing at the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital which became part of the School of Medicine at Sheffield University. I remained there until retirement.

I commenced Reader Training with Derby Diocese and completed training in 2007. I met my husband, Graham, an Orthodox sub-deacon, about the same time and we married in 2015. We moved to Rossendale, firstly to find a larger home for the two of us and to be closer to Graham's eldest son and grandchildren.

I joined St Mary and All Saints, Goodshaw about a year after arriving, enjoying a time without leading and preaching responsibility but praying that God would show me how I might be of use in this community. I already held permission to conduct funerals in both Derby and Manchester diocese', so transferring my licence seemed to be an appropriate step into God's future after the incumbent left the parish.

I enjoy study and sharing with others about what the Bible means to me and about Christian living. I learn so much from others through this kind of exchange. I read copiously. I enjoy singing in a choir and sharing our home with 2 rescue dogs, Molly and Blaze.