The Diocese of Newcastle is the ‘land of the northern saints’, as it was from Lindisfarne (Holy Island) that St Aidan and St Cuthbert and others helped to introduce Christianity to this part of England.
We are committed to being a church which reflects the generous, open and engaged nature of God in whose name we live and work, and to sustaining Christian presence in the city, the suburbs, the seaside and the countryside throughout our Diocese.
Until 1882, the Newcastle Diocese was simply part of the much larger Diocese of Durham. But between 1801 and 1861 the population of Newcastle doubled to more than 100,000 as people converged on what had become an important industrial and commercial centre. It became clear that the Church of England could no longer serve the people of both counties from the one centre in Bishop Auckland.
So on St James' Day, July 25, 1882, the Diocese of Newcastle came into being, covering an area almost equivalent to the County of Northumberland, and the town-centre church of St Nicholas became the new Cathedral. The Rt Revd Ernest Wilberforce was the first Bishop of Newcastle.
In the 130 years since then, the North East has experienced yet more social change. The mines and the shipyards have virtually closed, heavy industry has given way to the 'service industry', and farming has changed almost beyond recognition.
These days our Diocese is actively involved in education in 49 schools throughout the area, working alongside other Christians in the care of asylum seekers in the city, and playing a large part in sustaining community life in both urban and rural areas. The Diocese has also discovered new ways of making the most of its church buildings – in community projects, children's centres and housing projects.
"Now in the 21st Century, we continue to seek to make God's love known, in Jesus Christ, in as many ways as we can," says the Rt Revd Martin Wharton, the present Bishop of Newcastle.
How the Diocese is organised
An Anglicans it is our understanding of the Church that the Bishop is the key figure in the diocese and he shares his ministry with other clergy and with the whole people of God. In particular, he shares his episcopal responsibility with the Dean, the assistant bishop and two archdeacons, meeting with others as the 'Bishop’s Staff'.
The everyday work of the Church in the Diocese is undertaken by some 20,000 people on parish church electoral rolls, supported by stipendiary Clergy, self-supporting Clergy, Readers, Authorised Pastoral Assistants, Shared Ministry Development Teams, Youth Workers and others. The rich variety of ministry going on in the parishes of the diocese can increasingly be accessed through their own websites.
Providing specialist expertise to support this work are a number of Advisers attached to the various Boards and Committees of the diocese – in particular the Bishops' Council of Mission and the Board of Education. Central administrative support is provided by the Diocesan Office, led by the Diocesan Secretary.
This part of the website will give you information on all these people, the work they do, the part they play, and the way they relate to each other and to the Bishop.
The multitude of ministries exercised by the people of Newcastle Diocese are usually identified with various places. Indeed the idea of ‘place’ has an important part to play in Anglican thinking, which has always been committed to the unique significance of ‘place’ in human experience. This has been the basis of the parish system and the central role of the church building in any community.
The administrative centre of the Diocese is the Diocesan Office which is at Church House at Percy Main.
The Diocese itself is made up of 200 Parishes and Churches, and it is in the Parishes that the heartbeat of the Diocese lies. Parishes are, in turn, grouped in Localities and Deaneries. These again are grouped in 2 larger Archdeaconries.
The largest church in the Diocese is, of course, the magnificent St Nicholas Cathedral in the centre of Newcastle.
Another large group of significant places in the life and mission of the diocese is the family of Church Schools, of which there are 49, serving many thousands of children and their parents and the communities in which they live.
Many other places have a vital role to play in the life of the diocese of Newcastle, ranging from Shepherds Dene, the Diocesan Retreat House we share with Durham Diocese, the North East Religious Learning Resources Centres, institutions of theological education, libraries and more.
Most important of all, the Churches of the diocese are where people pray, worship and study the scriptures together, where they can spend time in quiet and reflection, seek inspiration and consolation and be renewed for their daily lives. Churches are also there for those special times in people’s lives - Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals - which are an important part of belonging to the Christian faith.
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