The Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman, is delighted to announce the award of £2.6m from the Church of England to help revitalise church life in Newcastle city centre.
The grant will see the creation of a new Resource Church, aimed at people between the ages of 17 and 45 – students, office workers and their families. It is projected that the church will have a 400-plus strong congregation within five years.
Once established, the church will then act as a catalyst for growth across the whole of the Diocese of Newcastle, working with other churches in both urban and rural communities to stimulate growth.
A large building is required to house the Resource Church and while there have been a number of ideas, the lead proposal is to use the historic All Saints’ Church on Newcastle Quayside. This 18th century church was a place of worship until the 1950s and remains a prominent sight on the Newcastle skyline. Bringing it back into church and public use represents a visible sign of the transformation that Christian life and hope can bring to our community.
Bishop Christine said: “The news that we have been successful in securing such significant funding to create our own Resource Church is wonderful and supports God’s call to us to be faithful and bold in everything that we do. This ambitious and exciting project will help transform Christian life across the Diocese. As the Resource Church grows, it will be able to provide support and resources to other churches as they too seek to grow and develop.”
The project, which represents a new approach for the Diocese and supports its five-year vision ‘growing church bringing hope’, is in response to challenges faced by the national church as a whole to grow church numbers. The plans have been shaped by the experiences of similar ‘Resource Churches’ set up across the country to attract more people to church.
The Reverend Ben Doolan, the newly appointed leader for the Resource Church in Newcastle, said: “We are so grateful to the Strategic Investment Board of the National Church for their support. This is a new and exciting project that we trust will bring growth to the church in the city and other parts of the diocese. We believe that within five years the Resource Church will have played its part in revitalising church life in the city of Newcastle, particularly reaching out to the huge numbers of young people who live in the city. We look forward to working with other churches in Newcastle to see this happen”.
Click below to listen to Premier’s Northern Correspondent Ian Britton in conversation with Reverend Ben Doolan, the newly appointed leader for the Resource Church in Newcastle.