A Welcome from the Rt Revd Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle
Welcome to the Diocese of Newcastle.
I sometimes tell people that I am privileged to live in the loveliest part of England. The Diocese of Newcastle lies at the north-eastern extremity of England. Indeed from some of our parish churches we look south into Scotland!
I am also very privileged as a Bishop to see so many different ways across the Diocese in which the Christian faith is being lived out. I have attended a wide range of events over the last few years which leave me in no doubt that people’s belief and trust in Jesus Christ makes a huge difference to their lives.
This is a faith which has been passed on to us over the centuries by those who have also believed. So recently I have been delighted to take part in various anniversary celebrations throughout the Diocese: at the bicentenary of St Peter’s Wallsend, the 150th anniversary of St Mary Etal, 100 years of the Mothers’ Union at Choppington, and the 50th anniversary of St Mary Fawdon. All around the Diocese, we are what we are (at least in part) because of the Christians who have gone before us.
But our faith is not just about looking to the past. I am most encouraged that there are many ways in which our Christian faith is being lived out today in parishes right across the Diocese. In Seahouses, the blessing of the boats ceremony indicates our concern for the fishing community, for its safety and continuing way of life. In the West End of the City, together with people from other denominations and other faiths, the ‘Walk of Peace’ indicates our concern that people of difference should be able to live together in harmony and peace. In Morpeth, the people of the town met at St James’ Church to pray together and to give thanks, a year after the September flood.
Collections for the ‘Partners in Community Action’ Fund continue to take place across the Diocese, providing funding for schemes such as: Kids Clubs and Youth Projects, help for asylum seekers, health promotion projects and caring for the elderly.
In today’s ministries we are also looking to the future. Our church buildings are not only beautifully cared for, but also are being adapted, so that they may be community resources for years to come. At confirmation services, I am delighted to welcome young and old as they become members of the church for the future.
We are entering into the second phase of parish Mission Action Plans, and are developing our thinking about the role of Deaneries in our mission and ministry. So today we build on what we have received from the past, and pray for the future life of our Diocese – all the while seeking to be generous, engaged and open in our outlook and actions; sustaining a local Christian presence throughout the Diocese.
Bishop Martin joins local clergy for the 'Blessing of the Boats' ceremony at Seahouses in Northumberland
you sent the gentle bishop Aidan
to proclaim the gospel in this land,
and you called your servant Cuthbert
to follow your Son and to be a shepherd of your people here:
so may we, fired by your same Spirit,
live in simplicity, humility and love for all your people,
bringing home to your fold those who are lost;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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