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Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham

Permanent Diaconate - News and Events


A Mission to Explain

For many people across our diocese the weekend of 21st January was a bit of an eye opener. In his pastoral letter about Permanent Deacons, Bishop Séamus spoke about the history and ministry of a group that many knew little, if anything, about. Within our diocese the Permanent Diaconate has been slowly growing both in numbers and experience over the last few decades. However, whilst in some of our partnerships there are quite a few deacons, in others that is not the case. So unless you live or worship in a parish where there is a deacon much of what Bishop Séamus spoke about in his letter may have been news to you.

Even where deacons are present we found that the letter gave people a much better insight into the role of the deacon and its possibilities. Perhaps that just indicates that our deacons have been busy getting on and 'doing' rather than forever explaining who they are. It does indicate, however, that in this time of change that maybe it is time to spend some time letting people know a bit about the permanent diaconate in the diocese.

Bishop Séamus' letter was the start of that communication process and in it he mentioned that over the coming months deacons would be visiting all the parishes in the diocese to give a personal insight into their vocation and ministry. Those visits have already begun and it is hoped that by Pentecost 2018 most parishes will have been visited by one of our deacons. Feedback from the visits so far has been positive, with comments such as,

It is really powerful to hear someone share the reality
of how their vocation unfolded
”.

So, if you haven't seen one of our deacons yet keep your eyes open, we hope you soon will.


National Diaconal Community Conference - Tuesday 7 - Wednesday 8 November 2017

The National Conference of Diaconate Directors and Diocesan Representatives was held at Hinsley Hall on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November 2017. Fr. Michael Campion, Director of Post Ordination Formation, was accompanied by Pat Kennedy from the Formation Team, and three of the Diocese’s Deacons; Malcolm Jackson (St. Peter’s, Low Fell), Peter Linsley (St. Cuthbert’s, New Seaham) and Martin Bell (St. Mary’s, Hexham). This two day conference brought together those responsible for the formation of deacons from across England and Wales, and the gathering was joined by Bishop McGough, the Episcopal liaison on behalf of the Bishop’s Conference.

The full notes from the conference, including the address by Bishop Marcus Stock (Diocese of Leeds), are now available and were prepared by Deacon Martin Bell, Vice-Chair of Council of Deacons, Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.


Kick Off weekend - Friday 1 - Sunday 3 September 2017

13 Trainee Deacons of the Permanent Diaconate Community and their wives, together with the Formation team met over the weekend of 1-3 Sept. New additions to the group for the four year training journey together are Sibby and Lissy Thomas of Sunderland, Jeremy and Emma Cain of Hartlepool and Neil and Leigh Haggerstone of Peterlee. Time shared included business, training, and social time to get to know each other and form a support group for the journey. Everyone agreed that it had been a well worth-while experience; they all felt they belonged and it had been a very good beginning for their year.

Pat Kennedy MPS, member of Formation Team


Ministries Mass - Friday 14 July 2017

On 14th July at St. Patrick's Church, Dipton, Bishop Séamus celebrated Mass to mark the movement of Paul Nichol from St. Patrick’s Parish, Peter Smith from Lanchester and Paddy Jackson from Leam Lane, moving from Lector to their final year of Acolyte in their training for the Permanent Diaconate. They will be ordained next year. Tony Joy, from Washington, is moving from Candidate to Lector. They were accompanied by  family, friends, Parish priests, members of the Diaconate Community, parishioners and the Formation Team.

Pat Kennedy MPS Coordinator of Studies.