Announcing the leader of our exciting Diocesan Resource Church


The Rev’d Ben Doolan, Curate at St Michael le Belfrey in York, is to be the leader of a new Mission Initiative in Newcastle for the whole Diocese.

This 'Resource Church’ builds on experience from around the Church of England and will be based in the centre of Newcastle, working alongside the Cathedral and other local churches to engage particularly with students, young people, the business community and those in need.

It is one of the exciting initiatives that the Diocese of Newcastle identified two years ago as part of its strategy ‘growing church bringing hope’.

Welcoming Ben’s appointment, the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Rev’d Christine Hardman said: “It is wonderful to be able to welcome Ben into the Diocese, and to see him take on this very significant role. Ben brings a wealth of experience both from his work at St Michael le Belfrey and in the leadership team of New Wine and I look forward to him establishing and developing this exciting new initiative. This is great news for Newcastle, and great news for our Diocese.

The Bishop of Berwick, the Right Rev’d Mark Tanner, who leads the Resource Church project, commented: “I am delighted we are able to move forward with the establishment of a Resource Church in Newcastle and that Rev’d Ben Doolan has accepted the appointment as leader of this project. Ben brings lots of experience and wisdom from his work and a great track record of working with others in the Dioceses and networks of which he has been part in York and Sheffield.”

The Resource Church will formally launch in January 2019 and offer a number of key gifts within the life of the Diocese.

As a centre of excellence concerning mission and church planting, it will provide resource for the missional growth of the parishes of the Diocese, across our traditions and geographical diversity. This work will include the establishment of an intern scheme and the provision of training for Curates in pioneering ministries which are geared towards church planting in a wide range of contexts.

Speaking after his appointment, Ben said: “This is a very exciting time for the Diocese of Newcastle as we look to be ‘growing church bringing hope’. I believe that planting a Resource Church in the city centre of Newcastle is a fantastic opportunity to join in with other churches in the Diocese to see this bold and engaging vision come to fruition by the grace of God. 

“I know that a key Diocesan goal is that church life in the city centre will be more engaged, vibrant and growing, particularly with students and young professionals. In Newcastle there is incredible potential for a city centre Resource Church to work with other city centre churches, including the Cathedral, to see this goal realised.

“There are approximately 67,000 students in Newcastle and the city is consistently ranked as the ‘best university city’ in the UK. With less than one percent of university students engaging in church nationally, this is a significant time for a resource church to begin to reach out and serve the many thousands of students and young adults who do not know the life and freedom that Jesus Christ brings.”

The Rev’d Matthew Porter, Vicar of St Michael le Belfrey in York, added: "The congregation of St Michael le Belfrey are thrilled to be sending Rev’d Ben Doolan and a team to support this exciting new initiative in Newcastle. Ben is a gifted people gatherer with an infectious faith and a passion to be serving God's Transformation of the North."

Rev’d Paul Harcourt, National Leader of New Wine, said: “As part of the New Wine family, Ben and Ellie are committed to building a local church that serves its local community. They are infectious in their love for Jesus, and they’ve got big hearts for helping people from every background discover God’s love for themselves.”

If you would like to meet Ben and hear more about the Resource Church, an open Synod Forum will be held on Saturday 24th March at the Northumberland Church of England Academy Ashington. The Open Forum will begin at 10:00am, with registration and refreshments available from 9:30am, and finish at 12.30pm. It will also include an update on growing church bringing hope (one year on).

If you would like to come to the open forum, please send an e-mail to: or text message to 07775 037 121.

To read more from Ben, click HERE

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