AN HISTORIC first will take place when churches in the West Craven area do an annual pulpit exchange on Sunday.

Although the exchanges first started 15 years ago, it will be the first time that a lay Protestant has preached in a Catholic church in West Craven.

But that's what will happen when David Hartley, lay minister at St Peter's Methodist Church in Earby, goes into the pulpit at the town's St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church.

Mr Hartley said Catholic deacons, including the Rev Malcolm King, who died in 2011, had preached in other churches in the West Craven area, but ministers from other churches had not preached in St Patrick's.

Mr Hartley said he would preach in St Patrick's by the kind permission of the priest Canon Kevin Firth, who will be preaching in Mount Zion Baptist Church in Earby.

Earby vicar, the Rev Hugh Fielden, will take the service in Salterforth Baptist Church; the Earby Methodist minister, the Rev David Edmondson, will conduct worship at two Anglican churches – All Saints', Earby, and St Mary's, Kelbrook; St Peter's Methodist Church, Earby, will welcome David Baker from the Majestic Church in Barnoldswick; and Robin Turner, representing the Baptist minister who is on sabbatical, will lead the service at the Majestic Church.