Old salt

The Northern Echo: FIRMLY INDEPENDENT: Rae Scott, who celebrates her 100th birthday

11:54am Saturday 12th February 2011

While her church faces new challenges, Rae Scott joins a growing band of URC centenarians.

Saints and sinners

The Northern Echo: IN FINE VOICE: Stanwick Group Choir members, back from left, Ian Black, Brian Heap, Michael Moran and Dinah Iceton, front from left, Sheila Grundy, Moraig Hyde, Janet Hall and Doreen Liston

12:20pm Saturday 5th February 2011

Officially redundant, though not a lost cause, Stanwick St John church rises to the occasion for a fine service.

Miner miracles

The Northern Echo: THE TUCKER FAMILY: Russell and Ann with Joshua, six, and Beth, three

11:26am Saturday 29th January 2011

After ‘opening fire’ on colliers with resounding success in the Twenties, Sherburn’s Sally Army is still going strong.

Absentee fathers

The Northern Echo: GREAT FAITH: Anne Jeans

12:14pm Saturday 22nd January 2011

A report in its own newspaper warns of difficulty and decline in the Roman Catholic Church. There’s some optimism nonetheless

Moving spirit

The Northern Echo: FOUR SQUARE: Leaders Adrian Hancock, Richard Sellick, Hazel Charlton and Gordon Lennox at the Memorial Hall where they now meet

12:29pm Saturday 15th January 2011

Moving out has proved a step in the right direction for West Auckland’s former Methodists.

Sober reflections

The Northern Echo: LIGHTS OUT: The congregation leaves the late-night service at Ripon Cathedral

11:11am Saturday 8th January 2011

An illuminating and strangely intoxicating occasion lit the way to the New Year at Ripon Cathedral.

Christmas Carole

The Northern Echo: Departing priest Carole Lloyd

10:53am Friday 24th December 2010

A service with all the trimmings brings warmth to a chilly eve at Chilton.

Many a slip

The Northern Echo: CLOSER LOOK: Mary Wells, left, and Jean Lazenby enjoy the decorations on one of the trees on show at the festival

10:53am Saturday 18th December 2010

Message in a bauble, Harrowgate Hill Methodists spread a little Christmas cheer by tying festive wishes to their Christmas trees.

Wonder worker

The Northern Echo: LITTLE HELPER: St Nicholas assisted by Emily Williamson from the Chorister School

11:13am Saturday 11th December 2010

Lanterns at the ready, children in Durham celebrate their patron saint St Nicholas’s day.

Forthcoming attraction

The Northern Echo: INTO THE LIGHT: Members of St Cuthbert’s church choir process down the central aisle with their candles

10:50am Saturday 4th December 2010

Despite Arctic conditions, St Cuthbert’s Advent service brings people in from the cold – symbolically and literally.

Total immersion

The Northern Echo: HAVING A GIGGLE: Two of the oldest church members, Mary Walker, 87, right, and Brenda Atkinson, 76, left, with some of the youngest

10:06am Saturday 27th November 2010

Living on the Edge, maybe, but as Advent nears the Baptists pass a milestone.

Time honoured

The Northern Echo: STANDARD BEARERS: Youngsters representing the town’s Cubs and Brownies with their organisations’ flags

10:59am Saturday 20th November 2010

Remembrance Day is one of the ‘biggest and proudest of the year’ for one Ferryhill veteran – as it is for many.

Spread betting

The Northern Echo: ANNIVERSARY GATHERING: From left, the minister and former ministers of Howden-le-Wear Methodist Church, from left, Bill Middlemiss, Eileen Appleyard, Dr Alan Powers, current minister Ann Sheperdson, and Tom Wilkinson.

12:36pm Saturday 13th November 2010

A FAMILIAR theme, what should be the collective noun for Methodist ministers?

High and handsome

The Northern Echo: ‘WONDERFUL YEAR’: Steward Jean Proud at High House chapel, Ireshopeburn

11:04am Saturday 6th November 2010

John Wesley visited Ireshopeburn 13 times, clearly at home at High House

Batman and bobbin’

The Northern Echo: JAMMY: Enjoying the doughnut eating challenge

10:36am Saturday 23rd October 2010

The event’s named S2 after a couple of saints. It could be subtitled ‘hanging on to your youth.’

Stitches in time

The Northern Echo: LABOUR OF LOVE: A knitted Last Supper at St John's church, Lynesack, for the harvest and festival of talents

11:01am Saturday 16th October 2010

A rich harvest of knitted and edible offerings, proggy mats, pictures... and plenty more.

Ship shape

The Northern Echo: LICENSING AGREEMENT: Archdeacon Nick Barker and the Bishop of Jarrow Mark Bryant welcome newly licensed Richard and Margaret Deimel

11:08am Saturday 9th October 2010

SAVE for bibulous Blackpool, which may need neither introduction nor explanation, the large and possibly less meretricious village of Studley in Warwickshire is said to have more pubs per head than anywhere else in England.

A light on the town

The Northern Echo: Visitors to St Mary’s admire the anniversary quilt.

12:53pm Saturday 2nd October 2010

Stitch in time, the golden days of St Mary’s, in Newton Aycliffe, are celebrated with a bunfight, a 50-panel quilt and a pilgrimage to Rome.

Action stations

The Northern Echo: LET BATTLE COMMENCE: Above, ‘Germans’ parading at Frosterley

11:14am Saturday 25th September 2010

The enemy is in sight, all guns drawn at noon, but there’s more than a battle lined up at the station.

Cross purposes

The Northern Echo: IN CONFERENCE: The NHS consults in the Upper Room of the Cornerstones development at Chester-le-Street Methodist church

10:54am Saturday 18th September 2010

AS you or I or the chap on the No 1 bus might understand it, today’s column isn’t really about a church service at all. It’s about a church performing a service, and doing it both impressively and innovatively, nonetheless.

Sunniside up

The Northern Echo: BRONTE BUNNIES: The Reverend Alf Waite with his Dutch Blue rabbits

10:04am Saturday 4th September 2010

A warm welcome to the new superintendent, and not forgetting Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

Bright – and early

The Northern Echo: ANNIVERSARY: A wedding at Marske Methodist church in 1960

10:52am Saturday 28th August 2010

Rail and bus delays notwithstanding, we arrive at our destination with weeks to spare.

Together sown

The Northern Echo: MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The Reverend Jane Grieve

11:28am Saturday 21st August 2010

Everything in the garden seems to be wonderful, but there’s still a deal of problems to be sorted out.

Baby boomers

The Northern Echo: IN SAFE HANDS: Newborn Judah is held by his father, Jon Cook, pastor of Newcastle CLC

11:35am Saturday 14th August 2010

Five years ago there were nine members; now there are 500. At NCLC there’s an air of expectancy…

Sandwich course

The Northern Echo: A WIGGLE ON: The Wigglettes go through their paces

10:48am Saturday 7th August 2010

Perhaps not in Wesleyan style, but the hymn sandwich may never taste the same again.

Geometry lesson

The Northern Echo: NEW PARISH PRIEST: Father John Livesley, right, with father-in-law Father Peter Anderton, outside St Andrew’s Church, Tudhoe Grange

11:36am Saturday 31st July 2010

The new man’s long-awaited and much welcomed. It’s only the angles which are obtuse.

Better late

The Northern Echo: GOLDEN JUBILEE: St Margaret of Scotland, Brookfield, Middlesbrough

11:58am Saturday 24th July 2010

Events are running behind, but what’s half an hour when there are 50 golden years to celebrate?

Courting ritual

The Northern Echo: GOWN AND OUT: The procession from Durham Castle to Durham Cathedral

10:50am Saturday 17th July 2010

Judges, sheriffs and sundry bigwigs attended a pomp-filled annual ceremony at Durham Cathedral.

Ford popular

The Northern Echo: GALE FORCE: The faithful gather on a blustery day for the open air service outside Barton Methodist chapel

11:36am Saturday 10th July 2010

Rain – and wind – threatened to stop play at a village day with a Stars and Stripes theme.

Suicide notes

The Northern Echo: HIGH CHURCH: From left – Father Ray Burr, Father Ian Grieves and Father John Payne, priests at St James the Great

11:31am Saturday 3rd July 2010

Twenty years ago, St James the Great in Darlington was on the brink of closure. Now, largely thanks to the hard work of its priest, the church is full of vigour.

Vital organ

The Northern Echo: PLAYING TO ITS STRENGTHS: Whitworth Parish Church, near Spennymoor

12:45pm Saturday 19th June 2010

THE Reverend Lynda Gough is vicar both of St Paul’s in Spennymoor and of the altogether smaller parish of Whitworth – 35 houses, fewer than 100 people – a couple of miles to the west.

Baptism of fire

The Northern Echo: THE TARDIS: Esh Winning Methodist church, big enough to billet two battalions

1:04pm Saturday 12th June 2010

A late starter he may be, but Brian Thornton’s making giant strides rather than taking baby steps.

(That’s Garsdale’s Wonderful Railway)

3:50pm Saturday 5th June 2010

SINCE Garsdale railway station may already be the closest place to heaven within these sceptred shores, an open-air church service on the up platform could be deemed to start with a distinct – some might say unfair – advantage.

Renewal form

3:16pm Saturday 29th May 2010

The sun shines on the righteous as a church dedicated to a perhaps fictional saint marks its 850th anniversary.

Play things

The Northern Echo: PLAY DAY: Nine-year-old Trinity Frank with a toy puzzle cross in the Jean Watson Godly Play room

11:44am Saturday 8th May 2010

More than scraps of paper and a few felt-tip pens, Godly Play is light years on from the Plasticene age.

Old haunts

The Northern Echo: UNITED: Superintendent minister Chris Eddy

11:04am Saturday 1st May 2010

A congregation returns happily to its old church – but is anybody else there?

Occasional treat

The Northern Echo: MUCH-TRAVELLED: The Reverend Laura Wilford

12:41pm Saturday 24th April 2010

IN the 170 years of its ecclesiastical existence, the lovely little church of St Agatha in Skeeby – Grade-II listed, much hedged about – may only twice have featured prominently in the popular prints.

Easter offering

The Northern Echo: EASTERN PROMISE: The sky starts to turn pink over Ireshopeburn, in Weardale, at the Easter dawn service

10:16am Saturday 10th April 2010

The sun may not quite make it, but Easter morning rises as always to the occasion.

Pilgrims’ progress

The Northern Echo: RUGGED CROSS: Methodist ministers Ruth Gee and Leo Osborn at Wolsingham

11:09am Saturday 3rd April 2010

It’s been a long and winding road for two Methodist ministers who have braved all weathers for a river trek.

President and correct

The Northern Echo: VIP VISIT: Minister Keith Bamford

10:23am Saturday 27th March 2010

The column finds itself singing to the wrong tune when the Methodists’ main man visits Richmond.

Keller instinct

The Northern Echo: FULL OF PRAISE: Above, ‘Bishop Tom’, the Bishop of Durham ,pays his first visit to St Helen’s Church in Kelloe, alongside priest Carole Lloyd and lay reader George Reed

10:59am Saturday 20th March 2010

The birthplace of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the churchwarden who can’t stay away from ladders.


The Northern Echo: HANDS RAISED: Members of the congregation at the Xcel Church, in the Xcel Centre, Newton Aycliffe

10:27am Saturday 13th March 2010

While the Xcel Centre may not be every churchgoer’s cup of tea, many have a taste for the evangelical.

Duty bound

The Northern Echo: LICENSING SERVICE: Bishop of Jarrow Mark Bryant, centre, with the Reverend Chris Elliott, left, and Archdeacon of Auckland Nick Barker

11:14am Saturday 6th March 2010

THE new parish priest is greeted cheerfully. “Up here,” they tell Chris Elliott, “we’ve six months winter and six months rotten weather.” It may not in one sense be a warm welcome, but it’s as warm as it’s been these past 12 wintry weeks.

Little bundles

The Northern Echo: ‘SPORTS GEAR’: The Reverend Roberto Viana, in colourful attire, preaches in Maltby Methodist Church

10:52am Saturday 27th February 2010

So small it could be mistaken for a tractor shed, Maltby Methodist Church is a little building with a big heart.

Good vibrations

The Northern Echo: OLD AND NEW: George Barber at the digital keyboard, with the pipe organ behind

11:41am Saturday 20th February 2010

Music from a £60,000 digital organ is the food of love at a service of celebration held on Valentine’s Day.

Candle power

The Northern Echo: Candle power

11:34am Saturday 13th February 2010

Though the vicar’s leaving after 26 years, Heighington church still offers an illuminating experience.

Light minded

The Northern Echo: BRIGHT OUTLOOK:  Steward Kathy Grylls inside the new-look building

11:37am Saturday 6th February 2010

The column tackles a pressing matter and, ‘providentially’, enjoys sharing a church’s fresh start.

Joined-up thinking

The Northern Echo: ALL TOGETHER: Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Saltburn, after a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

10:46am Saturday 30th January 2010

Churches get together – but their linked effort has a bit of trouble drawing stadium-sized crowds.

Getting the point

The Northern Echo: HISTORIC CEREMONY: The Highside Longsword Dancers ‘behead’ Bishop James Bell at St Mary’s Church, Masham

11:10am Saturday 23rd January 2010

The theme is agricultural as parishioners plough on with a tradition – and turn their swords on a bishop.

Torch bearers

The Northern Echo: INDUCTION EVENING: Anne Coates, Luke Denley and Sylvia Ward.

11:01am Saturday 16th January 2010

Dominoes goes by the board as three new Methodist preachers volunteer for light work.

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