*** DEBUG END ***

Fertile mission field of the north-east of England

13 November 2015


From the Archdeacon of Northumberland

Sir, — How demoralising to read your brief report “Churches thrive in the north-east” (News, 30 October). Just who exactly regards the north-east of England as a “barren part of the mission field”, and on what evidence? Not those who live and minister here, for sure.

In Newcastle diocese, we wait enthusiastically, and expectantly, for the arrival of Christine, our 12th Bishop. She will be joining a diocese that is one of only a handful in the Church of England that has managed over the past ten years continually to buck the trend of church decline.

As we have sought to be generous, engaged, and open in our mission, we can celebrate more than 40 Messy Church developments, including one of the largest in the country; one of the first Bishop’s Mission Orders; a plethora of Christian social-action projects (some of which are more than 20 years old); and a smattering of confident Fresh Expressions, including a new church that opened just this year.

Contrary to the apparent notion in your report, in my 15 years in the diocese, only two churches have closed for worship, and 236 remain active. Of course we are pleased that there have been new independent churches springing up among us, many of which represent a welcome change in the cultural diversity of our diocese. However, perhaps your readers could be reminded that it was this so called “barren” mission field that was at the heart of the evangelisation of England long ago, and we remain privileged to stand on the shoulders of such a rich Christian heritage.

I can assure you that God is still very much alive and busy here among us today, and, in true northern style, we will continue to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in behind him.

80 Moorside North
Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 9DU

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Train-a-Priest Fund 2022 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this year. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Forthcoming Events

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

4-8 July 2022
HeartEdge Mission Summer School
From HeartEdge and St Augustine’s College of Theology.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)