A Round-up of the Pathways Mission
Published on Wednesday, 12 September 2018 17:49
Last weekend a group of Bishops, each with a team of mission partners, came to Newcastle Diocese to lead the 'Pathways Mission', a series of missional events run in parishes across the Diocese. The aim was to help and encourage parishes in reaching out to their local communities.
Our Deanery was assigned the Rt Rev'd Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley. St Francis Church played an active part and you can read about some of what we got up to below. A big thank you to everyone who helped and made the events possible! We were especially blessed to have our mission partner, Liz McLean, an ordinand from Accrington who had come to the Deanery with Bishop Philip, with us throughout the weekend.
Thursday - Deanery and Diocesan Launch Events
Jon and Robert attended the Deanery Launch event at St Michael's Byker. Bishop Philip prepared us for the mission ahead by encouraging us not to be overburdened but to listen to those we meet, and speak a simple message of Jesus' love.
Robert then drove a few of the Mission Partners up to Holy Island for the Diocesan Launch event. The Archbishop of York spoke about his prayer for the Diocese that it would become 'Heaven's field', making reference to the miracle of St Oswald.
A great number of St Francis folk then gathered at St Francis Church to prepare for the weekend, to meet our Mission Partner Liz, and to pray for the mission.
Friday - Free tea on the Tramway, Scott House Coffee Morning, and School Assemblies
Very early in the morning, from 6.30 to 9.30 am, members of St Francis handed out free tea, coffee and some bites to eat on the Coxlodge Waggonway, along with our new church leaflet (pick one up from the back of church if you haven't seen it!). We handed out over 200 cups of coffee! The aim was simply to engage with our passers-by, to raise the profile of our church, and to show that we offer a warm welcome!
The remaining cakes were taken over to Scott House, which offers temporary accommodation to parents with sick children in the Freeman, and we held a Coffee Morning there.
In the afternoon Robert, Jon and Liz led an assembly in Cragside school. Liz told the story of Creation, and we told the children about Christian celebration of Harvest and Sunday's Eco-Fest.
Saturday - Mary's Birthday, Preparation for Sunday, Pet Blessings and a Ceilidh
Each morning on the Mission, Bishop Philip and his team would gather to celebrate the Eucharist at St Francis, to pray and prepare for the day ahead. Saturday happened to be the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Bishop Philip told us that, like Mary, we were to point people to her son!
A group of from St Francis gathered to decorate the Church and fold the orders of service ready for the Harvest Festival on Sunday!
St Gabriel's Church held a Pet Blessing Event, blessing passing dogs going for a walk (as well as some more exotic animals) near Pets' Corner in Jesmond Dene.
In the evening over 100 people attended a Deanery Ceilidh in St Gabriel's church!
Sunday - Harvest Festival and Eco-Fest
On Sunday we celebrated our Harvest Festival, donating gifts of food to the People's Kitchen and the West End Foodbank. Jon spoke about soil and how just as the farmer must cast away the seed to reap a harvest, so we must humbly give love in order to reap a harvest of joy. Robert then interviewed Liz about her faith journey and the times in life she has found joy by giving love. It was all concluded with a rousing chorus of 'We plough the fields scatter'!
Afterwards we hosted a number of local groups and organisations including the North East Organic Growers, the local allotment association, a woodturner, a bee-keeping organisation, shared interest, De Paul UK, local ramblers, Freedom from Torture, and The One World Shop. I forgot to take any pictures so please email me one if you have one and I'll update the blog!
The Mission Weekend was a lot of fun has given us a lot to reflect on in terms of different ways we can engage with our community. I has been particularly helpful as we travel together through the 'Leading Your Church into Growth' process, allowing us to dip our toes in the water, as week seek to discern where God is calling us to!