Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham

Area Missions - St. Benedict Partnership

Parishes in the Partnership of St. Benedict:

These are the parishes who have taken part in the Area Mission in St. Benedict's Partnership:

  • Our Blessed Lady Immaculate, Washington
  • Our Lady Queen of Peace, Penshaw,
  • St. Bede’s, Sacriston,
  • St. Bede’s, Washington,
  • St. Cuthbert’s, Chester-Le-Street,
  • St. John Boste, Washington
  • St. Joseph’s, Birtley,
  • St. Mary’s, Easington Lane,
  • St. Michael’s, Houghton-le-Spring,

These are the Schools who have taken part:

  • Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School, Penshaw.
  • St. Bede’s Primary School, Washington,
  • St. John Boste Primary School, Washington,
  • St. Joseph’s Primary School, Washington
  • St. Michael’s Primary School, Houghton-le-Street,
  • St. Robert of Newminster Comprehensive School, Washington,


Walk of Witness

More than 170 people get involved in Walk of Witness in the Partnership of St Benedict

Walkers gather at St. Bede's and St. John Boste at start of walk

As we started our school and parish mission fortnight, based around the YMT mission at St. Robert of Newminster School, Washington, we enjoyed our inaugural Walk of Witness in our Partnership of St. Benedict. The idea was to walk between all nine churches. With the total distance covering all nine churches being over 24 miles, and the walk being in November we were limited by hours of daylight. So, the plan was for two groups to start, one at each end of the Partnership and work inwards to meet in the middle before the sun went down.

Walkers gather at St. Mary's and St. Michael's at start of walk

As we walked we five carried lanterns each one decorated by one of the five primary schools involved in the mission. Hannah Mitchell, our Children’s Ministry Coordinator, worked with the schools and the children to decorate the lanterns which will move over the two weeks from the walk, to the churches, to St. Robert’s, back to the churches for Youth Sunday and finally back to the primary schools where they were decorated. They are the symbol that we should all ‘Let our light of Faith shine’ for others to see. We also had prayer cards to hand out to those we encountered on the walk to explain who we were, what we were doing and why. It also included a prayer for those we met.

The question was how many people would respond to the call to take part? Our extreme expectation was about 60 people in total. The reality was staggering! On the longest leg of the walk we had 29 people joining us for some or all the 13+ miles. The other leg started with 45 people, most of whom covered all 10+ miles. By the end, this leg had 87 people. In total more than 140 people walked some part of the walk. In addition, we had people in each church offering refreshments and a short liturgy to send the intrepid walkers on their way to the next church. They had been told to expect 15 to 25 people for refreshments, so they had a massive challenge when sixty plus turned up. A fantastic effort by them! In total more than 170 people were involved.

At the end of the walk over 110 walkers gathered at St. Bede's, Washington

The walk is a physical and practical demonstration of the binding together of people and parishes of the Partnership of St. Benedict. With a response of more than 170 people we have great hope for the future of the partnership community. It also bodes well for the impact of our two weeks of mission.

Walk route 1: St. Bede’s, Sacriston, St. Cuthbert’s, Chester-Le-Street, St. Joseph’s, Birtley, St. John Boste, Washington and St. Bede’s Washington.

Walk route 2: St. Mary’s, Easington Lane, St. Michael’s, Houghton-le-Spring, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Penshaw, Our Blessed Lady Immaculate, Washington and St. Bede’s Washington.