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 Welcome to Issue 94

10 June 2022
We hope you all enjoyed the Bank Holiday weekend and any Jubilee celebrations that you attended.  

In this issue we have a Pentecost reflection from Revd Julian Sanders, Minister at Morpeth, Widdrington and Gt. Bavington.  Our regular Meet the Team item is from Andy Lie, Northern Synod's Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer.

We have more details about our forthcoming trip to Beamish on 2 July, including further information on the programme of events taking place and key timings on the day.  Hannah and John have asked for some willing volunteers to assist them and help things run smoothly - details are included of how to contact Hannah and John if you feel you can help in any way.

We also have news from churches around the synod and from further afield.  There are vacancies included this time from Northern Synod and the Trinity Centre in Gosforth.

Finally, full details are included for the URC 2023 calendar photo competition which is making a welcome return - the theme this time is "Inside our churches" - entries must be in by the middle of July, so once you have read the brief, please get clicking everyone !

We are always looking for news of interest and your events so, if you have any items that you would like to be included in the newsletter, please send them to or  The next issue will be published on Friday 24 June.

Until next time ......

Lisa and Wendy
Reflection - Julian Sanders
Signs can be confusing can’t they? They try to communicate one thing but end up communicating something entirely different. Like the sign that was put up in a laundrette that simply said:
Automatic washing machines:
please remove all your clothes when the lights go out.

In the New Testament, the word used for ‘sign’ refers not a physical sign that can be read, but more a miracle or event that points to something beyond. So in the letter to the Hebrews we read:  “This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Hebrews 2:3b,4.  Here the writer of Hebrews reminds us that miracles and wonders, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we receive, all point as signs to the salvation that is found in Christ. The Spirit does miraculous things because that is what the Spirit does. And when people catch a glimpse of that Spirit working, they will see for themselves that something is happening here in our world today, and we can make that Christ real and tangible for them. We can be signs of the salvation that is available in Christ.

What kind of sign are we for others? What do people see when they look at us and our churches? Do they see the Spirit alive in these places, and think something new, something exciting is happening here, or are they just left confused and bewildered?

We have had some new front doors installed at St George’s in Morpeth which has required us to revisit the signage in the building and the fire safety procedures.  

This has led to us installing some additional lighting and signs so that people know what to do in case of a fire in the building. These signs need to be clear and be able to communicate effectively in an emergency.  As I consider these new signs that are now in our church sanctuary, it is a good reminder that we need FIRE EXITs in the Church.  Not just for emergencies, but as part of our everyday mission in the world.  The Holy Spirit, those tongues of fire that came down at Pentecost were not given for the work within the church building – but they were given for the work of the church in the world.  The church has always been called to gather so that we can scatter.  As we gather together as Christians, there needs to be a real ‘risk of fire’.  We need to be ringing the fire bell more often.  We need to be on fire with the Spirit and alerting people to the fire that burns here.  But alongside that we need to be running for the exit, so that we can take that fire with us out into the world, so that others can see for themselves the signs of Christ’s love at work in our communities.

Rev Julian Sanders
Minister at Morpeth, Widdrington and Gt. Bavington
Meet the Synod Team

How do you solve a problem like ‘ecumenical’? Strange sounding, perhaps?!
How would you go about encouraging local churches to work together without burdening them with financial demands and legalistic structures?
Should life as a Local Ecumenical Partnership go on forever in a time of dwindling resources and increasingly tired hands? 
How might I turn my daily transaction with my corner shop newsagent into a meaningful inter-religious encounter?
How could we be more hospitable to our neighbours of other faiths when our church hall isn’t much used during the week?
Can I pray with my neighbour from another world faith?
And I’m sure, you’ll have many more engaging questions and issues than I could ever think of!
As I write this short piece on 31 May, my deep thanks to Northern Synod for being patient with me for the past 11 years. So, I enter my 12th year as your Ecumenical & Inter-Faith Officer with hope and anticipation, and continuing to engage with your issues, questions, and situations! As the saying goes, “if I can’t help you, I know somebody who can”.
Thanks so much to the many churches and LEPs that had invited me to share in Sunday worship and fellowship, and I look forward to receiving invitations for the coming year.
Andy Lie
07922 423475 (mobile)
Further Details about Celebrate Together on 2 July


You can book as an individual or as a family group. If you are signing up to come with your church then they will book on your behalf.
For catering purposes we need you to book by Friday 24 June.

Please aim to arrive at Beamish between 10am and midday. There will be a dedicated URC registration desk where you will receive your wristband for the day. This will allow you exclusive access to the URC Marquee on the events field.

Programme for the day
10.00 onwards    Arrival
12.00                   Marquee opens and lunch collected
15.00                   Celebration service
16.00                   Tea and cake
17.00                   Beamish closes

We want you to enjoy the sights of Beamish but there a number of opportunities to gather at the URC Marquee.

From Midday to 12.30 you need to come to the marquee to collect your picnic lunch. Contents below so you may want to bring items to supplement your lunch.
For adults the bag contains sandwich, piece of fruit, pack of biscuits, crisps and bottled water.
For children the bag contains sandwich, crisps, carton of juice and mini ginger bread biscuits

From 12-3 in the marquee there will be activities for all ages including craft, prayer stations, photo and video booths. You can drop in for as much or as little as you want to and hot drinks will be available during this time.

At 3pm we gather for a celebration service at the marquee which will be followed by tea and cake. Beamish closes at 5pm (don’t forget to take home your goody bag)

Beamish has a disabled car park and the URC marquee is on the events field and will be accessible for those with limited mobility. There is an accessible vehicle that will transport people from the entrance to the 1950s town which is a short walk to the events field.



Beamish – Help Needed !
We hope, following all the joy of our Royal Jubilee event, the excitement is now continuing towards the Synod event to be held at Beamish on July 2nd

We are delighted that bookings are being made and there is a real buzz throughout the Synod as you all look forward to meeting up for a wonderful day of fellowship.  Both John and I would be delighted if you would pledge an hour or half an hour to help on the day- we need willing folks to run crafts 12- 3 pm alongside folks willing to serve refreshments and keep hot drinks flowing.  The more of you lovely folks who pledge time the less everyone needs to offer, so that everyone can enjoy their time on the day.

If you feel this is something you would be happy to help us with, drop us a line.  As always. we love to hear from you but on this occasion it would be even nicer to know we have the offer of  help alongside your company.

Many thanks
Hannah and John
Please contact us:
07849 670210 (John)
07548 900290 (Hannah)
Northern Synod News
Morning Prayers    

Everyone is invited to join the Northern Synod morning prayers. Join at 9 am for 15-20 minutes, Monday to Friday, through Zoom or by phone.
More details and joining instructions here.

person sitting while reading book
Big Plastic Count
Following the Greenpeace Big Plastic Count, Revd Dr Trevor Jamison, the Synod’s Green Apostle, has the following update which includes a link to the Living with Less Plastic Handbook:
From Trevor Jamison, Northern Synod Green Apostle

After the Plastic Was Counted

I have just taken part in the Greenpeace Big Plastic Count – one week in which I and many others in the UK, including church members here in Northern Synod, counted the pieces of plastic they recycled or binned.
Now the results for my household are in. If all households were the same as mine, the UK would use 61, 370, 400, 000 bits of plastic every year. That’s sixty-one billion, three hundred and seventy million, four hundred thousand bits of plastic.
  • 6% of that plastic is sorted and reprocessed in the UK to make new materials
  • 9% is exported, often to countries in the Global South, and there are concerns about how much is actually reprocessed
  • 30% goes into landfill, releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere, and carrying microplastics into surrounding areas
  • 55% is incinerated, risking releasing carbon, toxins and pollutants into the atmosphere, with accompanying risks to health and to the climate
If you and your church want to do something to improve that situation then take a look at the helpful Living With Less Plastic Handbook for suggestions about practical actions you might take.
Gas Hob


Due to unforeseen circumstances, a gas hob which had been newly installed in the refurbished synod office kitchen has had to be replaced by an electric hob.  The gas hob (Hotpoint) which has never been used has 4 burners and measures approximately 24” across (61cm) by 20” (51 cm) and is being offered for £50.

Is your church thinking about updating its kitchen or does it need a new hob – if so please contact the Synod Office for further details: 
URC Calendar photo competition
After the success of the URC’s 2022 calendar (featuring photographs of St George’s, Morpeth; Jesmond; and St Columba’s, North Shields), an appeal has gone out for submissions for a 2023 edition.
Please click
here for further details.
Northern Synod 2022 Prayer Diary Available Here
News of Churches around the Synod
St Columba’s URC, North Shields
St Columba's held a celebration Jubilee Coffee morning on Saturday 4 June and a Faith Lunch on Sunday 5 June.  Proceeds from the sale of refreshments and a raffle will be donated to North Tyneside Young Carers.  Photographs can be found here and there was even a delicious jubilee trifle.
We would love to have any of your Jubilee events or photographs to be included in the next edition of the newsletter, if you have anything to share, please send them to or but please make sure you have permission from anyone in the photographs to put them in the newsletter.  Any photographs of children must have the parents' permission.  Thank you.
St Cuthbert’s Centre, Holy Island 
Artist in Residence: 18 – 26 June 2022

The second of this year’s ‘Artist in Residence’ Events takes place from the 18 – 26 June 2022 when St Cuthbert’s Centre will be hosting an Exhibition of Judy Hurst’s Vellum paintings as she makes a return visit to Holy Island.
Judy will be returning after two years to exhibit some original vellum paintings with limited edition prints in the St Cuthbert’s Centre on Fiddler’s Green from 18 June to 26 June.
Her bright and intricate work draws inspiration from the natural world and its relationship with Celtic spirituality.  Lindisfarne has always been a focus for the inspiration, and after two years without her usual residency, Judy says it is a joy to return!  You can see examples of Judy's work by clicking here.
All work will be for sale, but the most important thing for Judy is meeting the public and answering questions.

So please call in, meet the artist, and enjoy the display.
St Cuthbert’s Centre, Holy Island 

Click here for an update on the St Cuthbert's Centre garden.  The Management Group hopes to encourage support from those people around the Synod who enjoy this unique island and who want to support the ministry which the URC provides through the St Cuthbert’s Centre to the thousands of visitors to the island each week.
St George’s Venue, Hartlepool
Dave Bainbridge & Sally Minnear in Concert
Saturday, 18 June 2022
Doors open at 7.00 pm. Concert starts at 8.00 pm.

St George’s are pleased to welcome Dave Bainbridge and Sally Minnear to the Venue for the concert on Saturday, 18 June 2022.
Dave Bainbridge is one of the most under-rated musicians in the UK.  Having founded the Celtic band Iona, he is in great demand by fans and fellow musicians for his skills on stage and in the production studio.  He is currently part of the Prog sensation Lifesigns with John Young who have recently returned from the highly successful ‘Cruise to the Edge’ event in the Caribbean.  The band played to packed audiences and were considered by many critics to have been the stand out band of the cruise.
Sally Minnear is a multi-instrumentalist in her own right with a beautiful voice and great skills on keyboards, guitar and percussion.  Sally is an exceptional talent and delivers the songs beautifully with skill and sensitivity.  You can find further details about the concert by clicking here.
Low Row and Keld United Reformed Church warmly invites you to join them for the visit of the Moderator of General Assembly, the Reverend Fiona Bennett on Sunday, 19th June at 2.30 pm, at Keld United Reformed Church, Keld, Richmond, DL11 6LJ
All are welcome.

St Andrew’s URC, Monkseaton will be celebrating its 90th anniversary next month.
The church plans to hold a Service of Celebration on Sunday, 19 June, led by Revd Dr Trevor Jamison followed by light lunchtime refreshments including a celebration cake.
On Saturday, 25 June there will be concert by the Darling Dollies.
During the whole of the period there will be available and on display photos of the and life and history of St Andrew’s and a commemorative booklet will be available.  Click
here to learn more about the history of St Andrew's.

 General Assembly - July 2022
General Assembly - Synod Representatives

General Assembly will be taking place at The Hayes in Swanwick, Derbyshire, from 8 - 11 July.

It's a lovely venue - all travel expenses will be reimbursed and accommodation, breakfast and meals are all provided.

The Synod is still short of reps to attend and represent us - is this something you might consider doing?
If you're interested please contact the Synod Office: 0191 232 1168
 News from Other Places

Yorkshire Synod – Big Day Out

Yorkshire Synod will be holding its ‘BIG Day Out’ at Lightwater Valley on Saturday, 17 September 2022

On Saturday 17th September this year, Lightwater Valley will open their turnstiles and welcome Yorkshire folk from the United Reformed Churches across the synod.  Yorkshire Synod is excited to offer this opportunity to everyone to invite family, church family, friends and neighbours to come together for a day of friendship and love.

The family friendly resort has something to offer everyone; relaxing on the lake on a swan boat, watching it all happen as you sit tour the park on a steady train, getting dizzy on the carousel or throwing your arms in the air at the top on the pirate ship, whatever your idea of a good time is, Lightwater Valley has it covered!  And if it all gets a bit much, head over to the Show Barn for a comfortable seat, a cup of tea and a friendly face. Of course there will be a time of gathered worship and other surprises on offer as you wander around the park.

Tickets are £15 per person for everyone aged 3 and over.

If you would like to join Yorkshire Synod at Lightwater Valley, further details from the URC Yorkshire Synod website are here:     

Heaton Festival, which has Northern Synod as one of its sponsors and which is being organised by Heaton Churches Together, is being held this year on Saturday, 25 June.

Information about the event can be viewed here and details can be found on the Facebook page here

Following the pandemic, and many requests, County Durham Partnership is relaunching its ‘breakfast seminars’ which bring together elected members, officers, partners and faith communities in roundtable conversations on challenging and timely topics.
The relaunch will take place on Wednesday 22nd June at 8.30am in County Hall, Durham. (Refreshments available from 8.15).  Peter MacLellan, CEO Durham Christian Partnership, will introduce the topic: Beyond the pandemic…A future for hope?
Please click
here for further details.
For organisational and catering purposes it would be helpful to know if you plan to attend, please email:

Central Methodist Church, Blyth are holding a concert by the Ravensworth Singers to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.  The concert is on Sunday 12 June at 2.30 pm.  For further details please click here.
The Prudhoe Street Mission
(Unfortunately, the mission does not fund outside of Newcastle, North or South Tyneside)

The Prudhoe Street Mission was founded in 1910 and was formed into a Christian Charitable Foundation in 2012 to give financial help and support to those within the Newcastle upon Tyne area, and along both banks of the River Tyne. 
The Mission has funds available to give to local organisations including churches, charities and projects.  Grants are not available for building works or repairs.
To find out more information about what type of funding might be available, to download an application form and to find out the history of the Mission please click 

Two Anglican ministers from the area have recently been announced as new Bishops:

Durham vicar, Revd Arun Arora is to become the next Bishop of Kirkstall in the Diocese of Leeds whilst Revd Canon Rob Saner-Haigh is to become the next Bishop of Penrith.

Arun has been vicar of St Nic’s in the heart of Durham City since 2017 after previously being Director of Communications for the Church of England and the Archbishop of York. He was ordained as a Deacon in 2007, serving his curacy at St Mark’s Church in Harrogate before moving to Wolverhampton where he led a Fresh Expression of Church for young adults in the city centre.  . Arun will be consecrated at York Minster on 15 July 2022.

Revd Canon Rob Saner-Haigh is currently Residentiary Canon of Newcastle Cathedral and Director of Mission and Ministry in Newcastle Diocese.  Prior to joining the Diocese in 2020, Rob ministered in Cumbria for 15 years, so this is a return to a county he knows extremely well and where he had served all his ordained ministry before moving to the North East.  He will be consecrated at a service in York Minster on Friday 15 July, followed by a service of introduction and welcome at Carlisle Cathedral on Sunday 11 September at 3pm.

National URC News
Pastoral Supervision Training
Have you thought about training to be a Pastoral Supervisor?
All members of the URC are eligible.  Those taking the course include active ministers, retired ministers and some lay people who have backgrounds and skills in counselling or supervision in other contexts. 
Everyone must have a recommendation from their Synod moderator.
URC Children's and Youth Work

In July 2023 we launch URC Children – the umbrella that encompasses all children and children’s groups and activities associated with the United Reformed Church.

We would like to invite you to pray for us throughout the month of July, especially on 9 July when we hope to take a group of children to General Assembly for the launch.

Pray Like Hannah is a schedule of prayer prompts that can be used through July to help shape your prayers, not only for URC Children but for all children and those who support and nurture them.  You can find it here

Also there are intergenerational posters we are sending out in our all-church mailing this month. One encourages your prayers for the holiday clubs which might be taking place in your church or in a nearby church over the coming months. The other encourages the beginnings of an intergenerational conversation.  You can find further information here

We are also attaching an invitation to our online event in July “Let’s Celebrate: Children and Young People in the URC”. We would love to ‘see’ you there.  Click here for further details.

Finally, if you are thinking of running a holiday club in your own church this year you may be interested to look at our second book of holiday club materials which is now available on our website or by request as a digital copy. Timetravellers takes children and adults on a whirlwind journey through time to talk with children from Bible times and bring back what we learn to help us in our walk with Jesus today and in the future.  You can find it here

Greenbelt Festival
The URC is planning a very special 50th celebratory service on Sunday, 28 August at this year’s Greenbelt Festival (26 – 29 August) and even if you’re not able to attend the whole weekend, it would be great if you could be there for the day.  More information can be found here:
People can email Samara Andrews for more information, esp. for example on the practicalities of bringing a church group to the festival.  Please click here for more information from the URC website or go to the GB website link here.

Click here for the Latest URC News
URC 50th Anniversary
Click here for URC 50th Anniversary News
­­New Elders Safeguarding Resource

There is now a Safeguarding for Elders package which is being launched by Carrie Kaunda (Safeguarding Training and Development Co-ordinator for the denomination.)
This will be launched via a webinar and there are two available dates at the moment – one during the day and one on an evening.  Each webinar lasts between 60 and 90 minutes so please allow 90 minutes, which gives time for questions at the end.
The dates and times are as follows and can be booked by contacting Carrie directly via her email address -
Tuesday 14th June 2022 at 7.30pm
Thursday 21st July 2022 at 2pm


Trinity Centre Manager - Location Gosforth
Part time – 28 hours per week (worked across 4 days)
Trinity Centre is a vibrant community hub occupying a unique position, incorporating Trinity Church, in the heart of Gosforth High Street.  This is a successful local business offering space to hire for events, conferences, fitness activities and for other community groups.  The Centre Manager has responsibility for maximisation of revenue and the identification of new revenue streams, as well as the daily running of the Centre and management of four staff and a number of volunteers in support roles.  Closing date, Monday 20 June.


The Newcastle Central and East Circuit of the Methodist Church is seeking to appoint a Youth Worker who will be based at Trinity Church, Gosforth.  This is a 3 year Fixed Term Contract; 20 hours per week to be worked flexibly by arrangement.
Commencing in August 2022. 
Salary: £10,902 – £11,508 depending on experience
Closing date, Friday 24 June 2022

Northern Synod Pioneer Worker - Home based
Part Time – 20 hours per week
Fixed Term –  initially 2 years
Salary £24,600 FTE
The Northern Synod is seeking to invest in work with children and young people as it develops its 5 year plan for the future.  This post is based in the North West and Central Newcastle group of URC churches working specifically with Jesmond URC, St Andrews Kenton URC & West End URC.  Closing date, Monday 13 June.

For further details, including how to apply for these roles please click here

e-Newsletter Events Calendar
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