Archbishop's visit to Newcastle Diocese day 2: from Politicians to Paulinus


Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu paid a two-day visit to the Diocese of Newcastle on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd March 2012 in his role as Primate of the Province of York (the 14 northern dioceses of the Church of England).

Archbishop and Bishop with Members and staff of Northumberland County CouncilHis second day in the Diocese began at Northumberland County Council, Morpeth, meeting Council Leader Jeff Reid, Chief Executive Steve Stewart and other elected members and senior staff. Dr Sentamu took part in a discussion about the social, economic and cultural issues facing Northumberland, and particulary the effects of the impeding closure of Rio Tinto Alcan's Lynemouth aluminium smelter and the current round of government spending cuts.

Interview with Year 8 at Dr Thomlinson's CE Middle School, RothburyThen it was off to see the real Northumberland at Dr Thomlinson's Church of England Middle School, Rothbury, where the Archbishop spoke to a special assembly, explaining the meaning of his robes and something about his job, and giving a quick drumming lesson to one of he year eight pupils. After lunch with the students, he was interviewed by members of year eight on subjects including church, faith and international politics.

Q & A: Harbottle pupils in green; Netherton Northside pupils in red.Heading further into the hills following Rector of Upper Coquetdale Michael Boag, Dr Sentamu arrived at Harbottle Church of England First School to be greeted in the playground by the whole school, bearing banners, together with six of the eight children on the roll at Netherton Northside First School from further up the valley. Inside, he was interviewed again by the whole school with questions including, "Do you like being Archbishop of York?" (he does) and "Are you friends with the Archbishop of Canterbury and will you miss him?" (he is, and he will).

Processing in the steps of PaulinusThe day and the Archbishop's visit ended at Holystone, where the Well of St Paulinus is reputedly the site of 3,000 baptisms on Easter Day 627AD by the Celtic saint who became Bishop of York.

Robing in the farmyard at the foot of the track to the Well, Dr Sentamu led a procession of children from Harbottle and Netherton Northside through the fields to the tree-lined hollow where the well feeds a stone-lined pool the size of a tennis court.

In the footprints of St Paulinus: open air service near HolystoneHere, with hymns accompanied by a Northumbrian Pipe Band, the Archbishop led a short service for nearly 200 people gathered from the valley, culminating in a renewal of baptismal promises during which he sprinkled those present with water from the ancient spring.





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