Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham


Council of Laity Meeting - Friday 6 October 2017:

Pat Kennedy writes:

On February 18, 1994 the first meeting of the Council of Laity took place in St. Joseph’s Gateshead. Bishop Ambrose chaired these meetings to begin with and later a chair was elected. On Friday 6 October 2017, Bishop Séamus celebrated Mass for the Council at St. Cuthbert’s House and we shared supper together, marking the end of this format of the Council. The renewed Council will be smaller and made up from Partnerships.

Over the years the Council has been a consultative body to the Bishop, we have also as a body looked at Bereavement Groups, Homelessness, Supporting Prisoners and their families, Safe Families for Children, the work of the SVP, Parish Pastoral Councils, Management, Communication, Leadership Training, Living the Sacraments, Studied Documents from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference and have had joint meetings with Clergy and Youth. We held a competition to design a logo for the Council and another to make a Diocesan Banner for Processions.

Bishop Séamus thanked all for their contribution over the years, including Julia Firbank whose term as Chair has just ended and also Pat Kennedy for her work as Clerk. Some present had been on the Council from the beginning. Margaret Lee from Newton Aycliffe presented the Bishop with a framed, cross-stich prayer of his favourite prayer from Ephesians.

Margaret Lee making her presentation to Bishop Séamus.

The Bishop reminded everyone that as Jesus commissioned and sent out his disciples to call others to follow, also that this task, by Baptism was also ours. There is a great need he said, "for Missionary Disciples today, we are all to be living stones, fed by word and sacrament, to go out and to feed and serve others."


Pat Kennedy, Clerk to the Council