At Pentecost this year, all 156 parishes in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle were formally incorporated into 18 Partnerships.
A Partnership’, Bishop Cunningham says, ‘is a group of parishes agreeing to work together, to share resources, both human and material, to become stronger and better equipped for furthering the Kingdom of God.’
Each Partnership has been given a name rooted in our Christian Heritage. The Jesmond St Mary Partnership – named after the Shrine of Our Lady in Jesmond Dene – comprises the parishes of St Aidan, Benton; St Teresa, Heaton; St Mary, Forest Hall; Our Lady and St Vincent, Monkchester Road; St Lawrence, Byker; St Anthony of Padua, Walker; St Dominic, New Bridge Street; and Holy Name, Jesmond.
After the summer holidays, the Partnership Development Group held its second meeting on 6 September at St Mary’s School, Benton Park Road. We were joined by the Episcopal Vicar for Newcastle and North Tyneside, Fr Simon Lerche. The Partnership Finance Group will met on 25 September and was joined by Andrea Emson of the Diocesan Finance Department..
Both Groups took part in an Away Day on Saturday 11 November, led by an external facilitator who will helped us to agree on a Vision for our Partnership and devise strategies for implementing it.
At the Away Day the Development Group members elected Mrs Julia Firbank as Chair and Mrs Rachel Blacburn as Vice-Chair.
Please keep our Partnership in your prayers, that God will inspire and help us to work together effectively. ~ Fr Michael Campion, Partnership Dean
The Holy name Parish Consultation
Prior to the formation of Partnerships, the three-year Forward Together in Hope project asked all parishes in the diocese to review their ‘performance’ over the past 10 years and assess their sustainability for the next 15 years when, it is estimated, the number of active priests in the diocese will be down to 50.
The final Question posed to all parishes was:
Please set out the initial thoughts and ideas from your community about the way forward for your parish. You may also wish to provide a view about anything that is emerging regarding the ability of your parish to flourish into the future – either on its own or in conjunction with another community.
Following extensive consultation carried out by the Parish Council with members and friends of Holy Name, this was our response:
In the parish of the Holy Name, we have a beautiful church, a spacious community hall and a growing, talented congregation. We are fortunate to have great people and physical assets. Our parishioners have demonstrated through the Forward Together in Hope process that they are keen to share and promote everything we have with others to ensure we thrive towards 2030.
We are a growing parish community – we are seeing growth in numbers taking part in Mass, regularity of attendance and the diversity of participants.
We have nurtured growth in our lay capacity both in terms of leadership and capacity to deliver.
We are a key component in the rich tapestry of the Jesmond/NE2/”city village” community – an area whose demographics are unique in the North East – with a very wide range of ages and income levels and the highest concentration of degree level residents (working and retired) in the area.
We are committed to sharing these strengths with an inner city parish or parishes and in the Diocese as a whole.