All posts by Margaret Doyle

Synod 2021-23: Finchale Partnership Summary

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our discussions as part of the Synod process. Our discussions have now been included in a summary for the Partnership, and the summary has been submitted to the Diocese, where it will be used, together with contributions from other Partnerships and Diocesan groups, as the Bishop prepares his report forour Diocese.

You can read the Partnership summary by following the link below, and the Diocesan document will also be published when it is submitted in April.

Lenten Day of Reflection

Lay Dominicans North East invite you to A LENTEN DAY OF REFLECTION, PRAYER AND STUDY, on Saturday 19 March, 11am to 3:30pm, here at St Cuthbert’s.

The day will include Mass, Stations of the Cross, Quiet Prayer and talks on the theme of “St Dominic and the Cross”. A buffet lunch will be available.

There is no charge for the day but, to manage numbers for COVID and catering purposes, please book by contacting Andy Doyle at andydoyle1066@sky.com or 0798 543 4185.

Synod 2021-23: Join the Conversation

Last weekend, Partnerships across the Diocese sent people to join Bishop Robert for a morning of prayer, talking and listening, and to feedback on what they have heard during the last few months of our Diocesan Synod process.   There was a lot of energy in the room, a joyful atmosphere, and people described “an overwhelming feeling of the Holy Spirit at work”; “It has been uplifting and inspiring..”; “So many people with so many really good things to talk about..”;  “Coming along today has been a real joy.”

Bishop Robert said, “We’ve had a very fruitful morning… we go forward trusting each other, and with a confidence in the joy and power of the Gospel”.

If you’ve not been part of the conversation yet, there is one more opportunity at 7 pm on Wednesday 23rd February. There will be an online gathering where you can join in to add your voice to the Synod. To register and Join the Conversation, visit https://diocesehn.org.uk/news/synod-join-the-conversation/

Synod Update

In our Partnership

Notes from the Partnership meeting of 2 February are now available.

In the Diocese

Our Diocesan synod process has been moving ahead over the last couple of months, and we are now starting to collate the responses from all the diocesan groups and parishes. This is how it will work:

  • On Saturday, February 12th, representatives from all the partnerships will gather with the Bishop, and together, they will reflect on the input and the process so far. 
  • Following this meeting, the partnerships are asked to finalise their responses by February 22nd and to pass these to their respective Episcopal Area meetings. 
  • The Lay Pastoral Forum, which includes representatives of all the Partnership and lay groups in the diocese will compile all the responses received into a submission to the Bishop in early March. 
  • The Bishop will then consider this, plus the responses from the Clergy, Caritas, and other Diocesan groups and produce his final submission by April 8th
  • At each stage, copies of the various submissions will be made available. 

Have you joined the conversation? If you’ve not yet taken the opportunity to make a contribution to the synod process, there is still time to do so. Contact Margaret Doyle (margaretdoyle1066@sky,com) to feed into our parish and partnership response. Alternatively, you can email a contribution to synod@diocesehn.org.

Information about the Synod and notes from our parish meetings are available here:

For a Synodal Church: Final Meetings

Pope Francis has invited us all to take part in a process of discussion and listening about how we are journeying together in the church. The Finchale Partnership will be contributing to the views of the Diocese, and the whole church, leading to the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

To help us bring together the views of the Partnership you are invited to a meeting where you will be able to hear about the discussions in each of our parishes, and you’ll have the chance to share your own views too.  This will help us to prepare the summary we need to send to the Diocese.

The meeting will be at 7.00pm on Thursday 3 February. Due to the current COVID situation we will be meeting on Zoom and the joining details are available in your parish Facebook Group or from margaretdoyle1066@sky.com. If you aren’t able to attend an on-line meeting you can still contribute your views, by getting in touch with Margaret Doyle. 

Parish Reading Group

The parish has a Reading Group which discusses all sorts of literature (not just theology, nor only Christian writing). All members of the parish are welcome to join, including undergraduates and postgraduates. The group is currently meeting on Zoom.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 25 January at 8pm, when we will be discussing Margaret Forster’s biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Contact Margaret Harvey: email margaretharvey@uwclub.net or phone 0191 3840080, if you would like to join the group.

Changes to On-line Events over Christmas

Over the Christmas period we’ll be taking a break from our regular on-line events.

There will be no Gospel Reflection and Coffee morning on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. We’ll be starting again on Saturday 8th January.

We’ll also be taking a break from Lauds on Zoom on weekday mornings. We won’t be meeting from Monday 20th December over the Christmas period. Lauds will start again on Monday 10th January.

Christmas Masses -Bookings Closed

Bookings for both of the Christmas Masses at St Cuthbert’s is now closed. Please do not go along without having received confirmation of your place.

You can book for 10am Mass on Sunday 2nd from 8:30am on Monday 27th December.

NHS staff and key workers: if you have been unable to book a place in advance, you are welcome to come to Mass, and stewards will do their best to accommodate you.

Film Night

We were hoping to hold a Christmas film night on Tuesday 21 December, watching ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’. Unfortunately this event is now cancelled.

We have received the latest guidance from the Bishop about restrictions to keep us all safe in the light of the latest position with COVID. Although there are no changes to our use of the church for Mass and other services, we are asked to cancel events in the parish room. The guidance will be reviewed in January.

Diocesan Advent Sycamore Course

Sycamore is an informal course about the Christian faith and its relevance for life today. It gives you space to meet other people, share ideas, explore your beliefs, and think about questions that really matter. Each session involves a short film and time for discussion.  Everyone is welcome. 

The first of these courses will take place on the four Sundays during Advent at 4 pm, starting on Sunday 28th November. The sessions will be:

First Sunday of Advent – The Search for Happiness

Second Sunday of Advent – A God who speaks

Third Sunday of Advent – The Bible

Fourth Sunday of Advent – The Power of Prayer To book please email: adminfaith.mission@dioceshn.org.uk

For a Synodal Church

We’ve now held 4 meetings in the parish as part of the Synodal process. Thanks to all who have participated so far for your contributions. It’s not too late to join in the conversation – our next meeting will be on Thursday 16 December at 7.00pm, on Zoom when we’ll be talking about Listening: how do we listen to young people who do not see church as relevant, and how do we engage with the world which is very secular, individualistic and has no concept of objective truth?’ Details of how to join the call will be available in the Parish Facebook Group or from margaretdoyle1066@sky.com

We’ve also added some more resources about the Synod on our webpage, including links to talks by Prof. Myriam Wijlens and Sr. Nathalie Becquart.

Parish Reading Group

The parish has a Reading Group which discusses all sorts of literature (not just theology, nor only Christian writing). All members of the parish are welcome to join, including undergraduates and postgraduates. The group is currently meeting on Zoom.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 7 December at 8pm, when we will be discussing Derek Scally’s The Best Catholics in the World: The Irish, the Church and the End of a Special Relationship

Contact Margaret Harvey: email margaretharvey@uwclub.net or phone 0191 3840080, if you would like to join the group.

For a Synodal Church


Pope Francis has asked the whole Church to begin a process of listening and discernment, in preparation for the Synod of Bishops to be held in 2023. The theme is:

For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.

Every member of the Church is asked to contribute to this synodal process, and we’ve already had 2 meetings in the parish .

We’re planning more meetings so that you have the opportunity to join discussions face to face or on-line, during the day or in the evenings. Our next meeting is planned for Monday 29 November at 7.00pm, on Zoom. The joining details are available in our Parish Facebook group or from margaretdoyle1066@sky.com. We’ll be talking about ‘Celebrating: Lockdown made several people think about the importance of being part of a congregation, and of good liturgy and preaching.  It made others think more deeply about scripture as we introduced on-line Gospel reflections’.

We’ll also be meeting face to face, in the parish room, on Thursday 2 December at 2.00pm when we’ll be talking about Listening: how do we listen to young people who do not see church as relevant, and how do we engage with the world which is very secular, individualistic and has no concept of objective truth?’

For a Synodal Church

Many thanks to everyone who attended our first meeting as part of the synodal process. Our discussions identified some themes for our next meetings. In particular, people raised issues about:

  • Celebrating: Lockdown made several people think about the importance of being part of a congregation, and of good liturgy and preaching.  It made others think more deeply about scripture as we introduced on-line Gospel reflections
  • Listening: how do we listen to young people who do not see church as relevant, and how do we engage with the world which is very secular, individualistic and has no concept of objective truth?
  • Authority and Participation / Discerning & Deciding: why do we always try to fit things into our existing structures? Church is very institutional, institutions are very defensive and society is unforgiving of the church’s institutional failings. How do we address this at parish and Diocesan level?

The first of these, Celebrating, will be the subject of our next 2 meetings, on Wednesday 24 November, when we’ll meet in the parish room at 10.30am, and on Monday 29 November, when we’ll meet on Zoom at 7.00pm. See our Facebook group or email margaretdoyle1066@sky.com for the Zoom dial in details. You don’t have to have been at the first meeting to join in the discussion. And you’re welcome at either (or both) of these meetings. Although they are both on the same subjects, there will be different people there and different views to listen to.

Synod 2021-23

Pope Francis has asked the whole Church to begin a process of listening and discernment, in preparation for the Synod of Bishops to be held in 2023.

The theme is:

For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.

Every member of the Church is asked to contribute to this synodal process, and we had our first discussion in the parish on 30 October. We talked about our experiences of church during the pandemic, the challenges we face in a secular world and practical issues about our parish and diocese.

We’re planning more meetings so that you will have the opportunity to talk about these issues and anything else you want to raise, and you’ll be able to join discussions face to face or on-line, during the day or in the evenings. Our next meeting is planned for Wednesday 24 November at 10.30am, face to face, in the parish room, and there’ll be more information soon about the subject for that meeting.

If you aren’t able to attend, you can still contribute your views by contacting Fr. Andrew or Margaret Doyle. Full contact details, information on our meetings and resources about the Synod are on our new webpage.