The Tablet – Public Lectures

As part of The Tablet‘s 175th Anniversary Conference, there are two public lectures taking place shortly:

On Monday 2 November, Prof. Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University (named “America’s Best Theologian” by Time magazine in 2001) will deliver a lecture on The Spirit and the Church. Prof. Karen Kilby (Bede Professor of Catholic Theology) will chair, and Prof. Paul Murray (Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies) will respond.

On Tuesday 3 November, Cardinal Walter Kasper (former President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) will deliver the Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture on Church, Mercy and the Signs of the Times. fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP (Blackfriars, Oxford) will chair, and Prof. Janet Soskice (Cambridge) will respond.

Each lecture takes place at 8:00pm at the Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre in the Calman Learning Centre. Tickets are normally £12, but concessions are available, including a limited number of free concessionary tickets for students: contact Theresa Phillips ( or 0191 334 1656).

Following Cardinal Kasper’s lecture on Tuesday 3 November there will be a celebration of Compline (Night Prayer) at St Cuthbert’s – about 10:00pm – all welcome.

Why do we need Creeds?

Council of NicaeaWhen we say the creed each Sunday, we proclaim the faith into which we were baptized. Although we are not entirely certain where creeds come from, we know that catechumens in the early Church had to learn answers to a series of questions about the core beliefs of the Church. They repeated these publicly as part of their baptismal ceremony to attest to their belief. Creeds may have originated in part as a condensed version of these answers, and would have varied locally (one of the most famous surviving examples is known to us as The Apostles’ Creed – it was actually the local creed used in Rome). The Council of Nicaea produced a Creed in 325 and later in the same century the Council of Constantinople (381) produced another which it said expressed the faith of Nicaea, and it is this we use today. Bishops had to sign up to this creed when they were ordained, and gradually, over many decades it came to be used in the liturgy and in catechesis.

Catechumens professing the faith at their baptism did need to have a basic grasp of the creed, but not perhaps for the reason you might think. Gregory of Nyssa, a bishop who was present at the council of Constantinople, worried that a false conception of the Trinity would undermine the Christian at the very beginning of his or her new life in Christ. Why? Not because we have to understand in order to for God to save us, but because we do develop ideas about God in our imaginations. The ideas in the creed help us to develop our faith, hope, and love. Doctrine is not a barrier to keep out those who have difficulty comprehending it (such as children, for example, whom Jesus said we ought to be like), but a gift to keep our imaginations faithful.

Part of a series on the Creed by Medi Ann Volpe

Forward Together in Hope – Individual Questionnaire

Please give us your views about the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle – and ask as many other people as you can to do the same.

As part of Forward Together in Hope – the Diocese’s three-year programme for renewal – a short on-line questionnaire has been developed that provides the opportunity for anyone to offer comments about the present and the future of the Catholic Church in the Diocese.

We are inviting as many people as possible, people of all faiths and none, to offer their views. We want to look at our Church through your eyes, to see ourselves as others see us. We want to learn from you, and we appreciate any help you are able to give us.

Please publicise the link – as widely as you can – for example through forwarding it to friends, through newsletters, websites, schools, social media etc.

Visiting Preacher

fr. Nicholas Crowe OP will be preaching at Masses on Sunday 25 October. fr. Nick is based at St Dominic’s Priory, London; he is the Vocations Director for the Dominican Friars and Director of the Dominican Youth Movement.

Want to become a Catholic, get confirmed, or find out more?

Are you interested in being baptised or becoming a Catholic? Or perhaps you’ve missed out on Confirmation, or just want to find out more about the Catholic faith? If so – or if this applies to somebody you know – then you need to know that this year’s Journey in Faith (“Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” or RCIA) programme begins on Thursday 29 October at 7:00pm, with meetings each Thursday evening during Michaelmas and Epiphany terms in which we will explore the riches of the Catholic faith. To find out more, please contact fr. Ben or Andy Doyle (

The Creed

Have you ever wondered why we say the creed each Sunday? The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that ‘Communion in faith needs a common language of faith, normative for all and uniting all in the same confession of faith’ (CCC 185). The creed is a gift, and an essential part of what constitutes us as a community. When we say the creed, we accept the gift of faith that is the Church’s faith, and we put our trust in the One she names as Lord and Saviour. 

Do we need to understand every word of it in order to proclaim it? No. A child learns to say ‘I love you’ long before she really grasps what love is, and yet she speaks truly. So also we say ‘I believe’ as we grow in understanding of the commitment we make together. Nor do we come to understand it in the order in which we speak it. We may feel we grasp more clearly the statements of the second article of the creed, those which remind us of the narrative of Jesus’ incarnation, life, passion, death and resurrection—and so we should. The tender love and compassion of ‘God the Father Almighty’ who might seem rather distant as ‘maker of heaven and earth’ shows forth in all its gentleness and forbearance in the life of Christ. 

The creed offers us a chance, week by week, to meditate upon the faith we have received, and to make it our own.

This is the first in a series of thoughts on the Creed by Medi Ann Volpe.

Introducing Laudato si’

Durham Churches Together is organising an evening to introduce Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ on the care for our common home on Monday 19th October at 7.30 pm at Elvet Methodist Church. Speakers: Canon Simon Oliver (Van Mildert Professor of Divinity) and Jonathan Elmer (Ecological Consultant).

This will be a café style evening enabling discussion on issues raised by the speakers with further feed-back. Refreshments will be served. The evening will be free and all are welcome.

New Students

We warmly welcome to Durham newly-arrived students. The First Sung Student Mass takes place at 6:30pm on Sunday 11 October, followed by a welcome reception and buffet supper for all student (including those who might have gone to an earlier Mass!).

More details about activities for students now and throughout the term can be found in the yellow Chaplaincy bulletins and on the Chaplaincy website

Young people’s pizza and film night

For Year 7 and upwards a pizza and film night will take place on Saturday 10 October at 5:30pm. We will have our usual shared meal and watch a film together or possibly the new episode of Dr Who. Please bring something for a shared table. Please feel free to bring a friend or two! Everybody is welcome.

Pope John Paul II Award

The launch of the Pope John Paul II Award in our Diocese will take place over September and October this year. This is an award for young people in the age range of 16 to 18 and is intended to empower them to take an active part in the life of the Church. If you are a pupil in a Catholic secondary school, you should already be aware of the Awards but if you are being educated elsewhere, or have left school you may not be aware but are encouraged to participate in the award. To find out more visit, or talk to our parish coordinator, Mandy Hampshire (384 4805).

Called to the Supper of the Lamb

“Called to the Supper of the Lamb” is a day of reflection for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. It is led by Sister Sheila McNamara and takes place at Saint Joseph’s Parish Hall, Gateshead on Saturday 17 October 2015, 10.30am – 3.30pm. Cost: £7.50.

This day fulfils the undertaking made by Extraordinary Ministers to attend an annual day of recollection. To book a place contact Ciara in the Parish Office on

Start of Term

With the start of the University Term, “Holy Half Hour” (Exposition with confession available) will resume 6:30pm-6:55pm on Wednesday 7 October (and will be a regular feature most Wednesday evenings between now and Christmas). The Sunday evening sung Student Mass begins again on Sunday 11 October at 6:30pm.

Fundraising Committee

The Parish Fundraising Committee meets on Thursday 1 October at 8:00pm. Earlier in the year we were able to announce the successful completion of fundraising for the recent £300,000 stonework and Harry Clarke window restoration project. But there remain many smaller projects, both in our own parish and further afield, which will require funds in coming years.

If you can help with fundraising, or can help organise the social events which both bind together the community and express solidarity with those in need of support, please come along to our meeting.

Shared Harvest

Our annual Shared Harvest takes place after the 10:00am Mass on Sunday 27 September.

Produce that members of the Parish have grown or made will be on sale in the Parish Room; please be generous in enjoying sharing the fruits of our labour! Proceeds will support Patrick Laing’s project to build new classrooms in Peru in the summer of 2016.

Patrick writes: In August 2016 I will part be part of a group heading to Peru to build 3 classrooms in a deprived area called Iquitos. This is going to finish an ongoing project started in 2011 by St Leonard’s School in which a clinic, classroom and toilet block have already been built. Whilst there I will be working with the parish community and clergy. To fund our work we need to raise £4000 each. I would like to thank the parish for all of their support so far.

Pastoral Council Meeting 28 May 2015

Minutes of St Cuthbert’s Parish Pastoral Council Annual
General Meeting

28th May 2015

 1. The meeting opened with prayer.

Present:  fr
Ben Earl, Cliona Kear, Gil Bolton, Mary Bolton, John Marsland, Susan Penswick, Margaret
Doyle, Andy Doyle, David Hughes, Margaret Harvey, Dominic Goodall, David
Crookes, Judy McLean, Sarah Milner, Margaret Davis, Andrew Davis, Michael
Laing, fr David

Marianne Fleming, Mandy Hamilton,
Frances Simmons, Alison Purvis

3. Minutes of
the previous meeting were accepted.

4. Matters
– None

Election of Officers:
Chairman – David
Hughes – proposed by Gil Bolton and seconded by Michael Laing.  There was no nomination at this poiunt for
the position of Deputy Chairman.

6.  Financial Report:  A copy fo the Financial Report was distributed.  There is a cap pf £8,000 for Gift Aid on
small donations.  The Deposit Account
stands at £43,606 and the Current Account at £33,059 which includes £4,000 of
restricted funds which is the money raised for Belpahar.

7. Reports from sub-committees/groups:

Building committee report to St Cuthbert’s
Parish Pastoral Council

Period ending 28th May 2015

Choir loft balustrade. 

 Details for fixing the balustrade extension have been drawn up and the
architect is getting costs for the work. ongoing

 Works carried out since the last PPC.

 Making good of internal decoration around the church and presbytery
was carried out in March.

 The installation of the shower to the first floor bathroom is

 Repairs to the church roof were carried out as planned.

 A replacement boiler serving the presbytery had to be installed due to
the continual failing of the existing one.

 Proposed work.

 Porch and narthex

Next stage is to design the cupboards and obtain prices.

External decorations to church and presbytery.

 Other maintenance continues as and when required.

 Gil Bolton

Chair Building Committee.

St. Cuthbert’s Fundraising Committee

Report to PPC period ending 28th
May 2015


Events since the last PPC

 Update on funds raised:

 The book sale raised £544, and the auction of tables raised £50.

The total outstanding at March 2015 was £24k.

The parish has recently received a legacy of £26k, the finance
committee will decide whether or not this can be attributed to the stonework
project thereby clearing the remaining debt.

The committee has decided that now is the right time to take a break
from major fundraising initiatives. 
Some events will continue, with the main emphasis on the social aspect
of events.

Events planned:

A garden party with a barbecue is planned for 28 June.  This will now be a celebration of what the
parish has achieved in clearing the debt from such a major project.  There will be a shared table approach to
providing the food for the barbecue, although we will need to provide drinks
(in particular soft drinks as the event is during the day and more people may
be driving). The committee discussed live music –Alison choir lead will be
approach for ideas.

The Gala is on 11 July and Martin Donbavand will be starting the
provision of hot food early in the morning. 
Donations of bacon are very welcome. 
The Justice & Peace Group will be asked to decide on the
recipients of the money raised, due to the on-going problem with getting
funding to our twin parish in India.

Although the Lumiere event is confirmed for November, we are still
waiting to hear if an installation will be near the church.  If an installation is near the church we
will look at providing refreshments as the previous Lumiere was very successful.

There will be a quiz in St. Oswald’s institute in November.  Donations for a raffle are welcome.

Membership of the restoration Committee.

Prior to the meeting of 30th April the committee advertised
for new members however there were no volunteers.


Gil has now stood down as Chair of the Committee.  He will continue as a member of the group,
and the committee thanked him for his work.

Next meeting:  1 October 2015 @

Gil Bolton – Outgoing Chair Restoration Committee

c.  Catholic

Sunday evening Mass is very well attended.  Around 20 at Lauds.  The dinners are popular.  The Choir is taking off and there is a new
choral scholar.  Close to 60 are down for
the Lindisfarne Retreat.  There will be a
big push for new members at the next Fresher’s Fair. 


How to manage the Accounts?  Should families donate to Cathsoc?  Should a Grant be sought?  There are 90 Alumni on the database – is
there a rich patron amongst these?

d. Churches Together in
Elvet & Shincliffe:


group last met on 5th May.

year’s Pilgrimage to Holy Island will be on Saturday 20
th June.

are looking to have a joint celebration of St Oswald’s Day in early August to
which all the Churches in Durham will be invited.

short series of talks on Social Issues will take place in November hosted here
in St Cuthbert’s.
  We are also looking to
offer a venue and service to the whole of Durham for the Week of Prayer for
Christian Unity in 2016.

2016 is likely to see us revisit aspects of the Passion and Art for a series of
weekly reflections.

next meeting of the group will be on 22nr September here at St Cuthert’s.

    Justice and Peace Group Report 2014-15

 The group has met together three times in the past
  Our aims are

  • to raise awareness of Justice and Peace issues
  • to raise money for CAFOD

We meet after Sunday Mass.  We continue to maintain links with members of
the Justice and Peace Groups at Durham Martyrs, in order to share ideas and
build up links between the groups.

 We have been very concerned about the lack of
progress in getting money raised for Belpahar to the intended recipients.
  We have given much thought to a replacement
good cause. The group would like to recommend to the Parish Pastoral Committee that
the parish ceases to support India and instead supports NEPACS and the Colombia
initiative currently supported by the Durham Martyrs Justice and Peace group. A
worker on the Colombia project, Siobhan, will be visiting Durham and give a
talk at an open evening (probably at St Joseph’s Parish room) on 7
  We have asked Fr. Ben to
investigate the legal position over the use of the money raised but not sent to

are continuing to build on our CAFOD virtual village.
  The young people of the parish collected very
week in Advent and raised £476.55 enough for a camel, two goats and some chirpy
  A two dimensional model of the
virtual village was displayed in church during Lent (made by Judy MacLean).

 Miner’s Gala day raised £770 which was split between
CAFOD and the Building Fund.

 Our Fair Trade stall continues to run twice a
hope to re- launch the stall with additional products when the new storage
facilities and counter are in operation.

 Our annual Shared Harvest took place in September and
raised £128.77 for CAFOD.

 We continue to collect

  • inkjet
    cartridges which are recycled and raise money for CAFOD.
  • old and used
    stamps for St Cuthbert’s Hospice. 
  • Old spectacles
    are also collected and recycled. 

We also tried to collect second hand toys on
Prisoners’ Sunday in November, but we had a limited response to this this

 The parish contributes to the diocesan scheme to
support asylum seekers in the North East.
We now collect toilet rolls and biscuits.  Contributions flood in very month prompted by
a reminder in the bulletin (approximately 50 toilet rolls and 20-35 packets of
biscuits per month).

 We are also raising money to twin the parish
  This is done through Tear Fund
and it costs £60 to twin a toilet.
have so far raised £43.

 The group organised a carbon Fast in Lent where
parishioners were invited to
reflect on the need to
live more simply, reduce our ecological footprint and be in deeper harmony with
all life on God’s earth. 
 The young people of the parish collected
weekly donations for CAFOD as the government had agreed to match all
contributions made in Lent.  We raised

 We would like to thank everyone at St Cuthbert’s for
your wonderful support and for your prayers.

 Amanda Hampshire

May 2015

f. Liturgy & Music:

the last meeting of the PPC the Liturgy & Music Group prepared for the
services for Holy Week and Easter.
has been our practice for the last few years we compiled a single booklet
comprising the principal Triduum services and this seemed to be very well
  The numbers of those attending
seemed to be up on 2014 and fr Ben invested in a live relay of the Easter
morning Service into the Parish Room so as to avoid the problem last year when
some people actually walked away from the Church as there was no room.
  There were some issues with the sound quality
but those who came to the Parish Room were appreciative of the initiative.

continue to deliberate as to how to increase the number of people on whom we
can call for the many Lay Ministeries which support our celebration of the
  In particular, we always struggle
to encourage welcomers and ushers and in recent months a number of servers have
stepped down from active duty.
all Ministries would benefit from an increase in numbers and a “refresh” of

next meeting will be on 16
th June.


g.  Diocesan Meetings: 
Council of Laity – March 2015


Pope John 11 Award Mary
Hughes and Tony Joy


The John Paul 11 award
originates in Ireland and is being launched in the Diocese on 8th
October – the Papal Nuncio will attend the launch.  The Award is aimed at 16-18 year olds and
there are Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. 
Young people collect evidence of their work in Parishes (such as
reading, serving, cleaning) and social awareness and reflect on how what they
have done relates to Gospel values and what it means to be a baptized
Catholic.  The award recognizes what
young people are already doing as well as encouraging new involvement.  Their evidence will be assessed by YMT.  The award is not academic and assessors will
be helping people to present their evidence rather than marking presentations.


The team is currently
visiting schools to tell them about the award scheme and will be looking for a
co-ordinator in each parish and award leaders in each school and Deanery.  A handbook will be producted for
co-ordinators and a training session organized in July.  The award will be run from parishes where
young people are not in Catholic schools and the team welcomes ideas on how to
teach everyone (e.g. in very rural areas such as Northumberland).


Update from the Synod on Family Life – Deacon
Peter Lavery


More tha  750 people in the Diocese responded to the
first consultation and a report was compiled and sent to the Bishop’s
Council.  The level of discussion at the
synod is evidence that views were listened to and not watered down.


The next stage of
consultation is called “The Call, The Journey and the Mission”.  The first section had a very tight deadline
and was completed by the Diocesan team based on the 750 contributions received
for the earlier consultation.  There is a
questionnaire for the clergy about the pastoral response to difficult
situations and a further document with 6 questions which is for discussion in
parishes with a summary of the discussion to be returned to Peter by
mid-May.  This discussion strongly emphasizes
the celebration of marriage and the questions are predominantly positive but
Peter emphasizes that the questions are triggers for discussion and that all
views are welcome even if they do not directly answer the questions.


Update from the Council of Priests:


The Council of Priests
has discussed Forward Together in Hope and the Synod on Family Life as well as
the Diocesan budget and admissions policy in schools.  The Council is looking at how to be more
effective including reducing the number of priests attending, having more
in-depth discussions and more joint councils with the Council of Laity and the
Youth Council.


Forward Together in Hope – Fr Jim O’Keeffe and
Tony Sacco:


Since the last Council
the team has been visiting as many parishes as possible – in one weekend Fr Jim
spoke at 8 Masses.  There were events in
Hebburn and Durham for the nominated Parish representatives and a pack of
material has been made available for each parish. 


The next stage will be
to make a detailed questionnaire available for each parish with specific
information relating to the parish. 
Thjis will be completed by the parish and returned by the first week in
Advent.  Each parish response will be
reviewed and there may be further questions or clarifications and the
representatives from across the Diocese will be involved in a scrutiny process
throughout 2016.  There is a DVD and
Powerpoint for use in parishes and the film is also available on the website.


8. Forward Together in Hope:

There is a DVD on the Diocesan website. 
The 2nd phase is just beginning with a 50 page questionnaire
in three sections – A Picture of our Community under 10 headings.

Margaret Doyle will draw up a timetable and there will be handouts at
Sunday Mass for everyone.

Heritage Open Days:

10th to 13th September.  fr Ben will confirm with the Council re our
participation and which day we will open. 
Volunteers will be needed.

10. Items from the Parish Priest: All items have been covered

11. Any other business: 
fr David

There will be a presentation after Masses at the end of September on
themes of Our Lady, Spiritual Life, married couples, praying, conversation

12. Date of next meeting: 22nd
October 2015 at 7.30 p.m. in the Parish Room

13.  The meeting closed with prayer.



Home Mission Car Stickers

We have been sent a number of “Tree of Life” car stickers for Home Mission Sunday – while stocks last these can be picked up free of charge at the back of the church for you to display in your car and proclaim your faith in the message of the Cross.

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