A North Staffordshire boy who grew up to become the Canon Chancellor of a cathedral has published a new book featuring his own prayers.

Canon Ian Stockton, who was born and raised in Silverdale and went to Newcastle High School, has written Cathedral Prayers for All – a collection of themed prayers written for services during his seven years as the Canon Chancellor of Blackburn Cathedral.

Now he hopes his words on subjects ranging from climate change to slavery, sport, sexuality and refugees will help people worshipping at home during the pandemic.

Ian-Stockton-September-2020
Ian Stockton

Ian, aged 71, said: “In these times of continuing coronavirus it’s a useful resource for people stuck in their own home or for people who have the responsibility for leading a simple service. One 91-year-old canon told me that he wishes he’d had my book when he was a young priest and said that it should be in the hands of every young clergyman.”

Ian was born and raised in a slum clearance property in Silverdale, and remembers that his grandmother couldn’t read or write. As a teenager he was a keen letter writer and would often send in letters to the Evening Sentinel, signing them with the nicknames he had for his school teachers. He was entirely responsible for a string of correspondence to the paper about who should be in goal for Stoke City, signing each letter with the nickname for a different teacher. At the age of 20 Ian went to Cambridge to study theology, followed by studies at Nottingham University and a PhD completed in Hull during his spare time. His lifetime of work as a parish priest, theological educator and residentiary cathedral canon has seen him work in the Potteries, Galloway, Lincolnshire, the Northeast and Lancashire.

Ian returned to North Staffordshire to work as a curate in Chell and Trentham. A lifelong Stoke City supporter, he was in the stands to witness Sir Stanley Matthews’ triumphant return to the club. A father of three and grandfather of seven, Ian still plays cricket and runs three times each week. The prayers collected in Ian’s book are mostly drawn from his time at Blackburn Cathedral. They were often scribbled on scraps of paper and sometimes even thrown into the bin then later retrieved. It was only when Ian retired, three years ago, that he dug the scraps of paper out from a file and decided to put them to good use.

“I often found myself scribbling down prayers, in a way they were almost spontaneous. I’d often leave them behind and the cathedral vergers would retrieve them and put them on a desk in the canons’ vestry for me,” says Ian. “I hope that I’ve put together a useful compendium. There are quite a lot of prayers about suffering, which people may find appropriate in current times.”

Ian has also written various academic articles and theology workbooks. His collection of poems, Mindscape and Melody, was published at the beginning of 2020. He has also written a 62,000 word memoir of his childhood in Silverdale and a short children’s novel set in Scotland.

Cathedral Prayers for All by Ian Stockton is published by North Staffs Press and priced £10. It can be ordered from all good bookshops using the ISBN code 1-9160-1528-9, from Amazon or directly from the author by emailing ian.g.stockton@gmail.com

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