Berwick hosted 13 church leaders from across the north east recently.
They visited Berwick Academy, Tweed Dock and Berwick CAB to learn more about issues in the local community.
The leaders of most of the Christian denominations in our region met with local congregations in Berwick and Horncliffe at the beginning and end of the day, and listened to how local churches are engaging with their local communities, focusing on local challenges and opportunities.
The church leaders also are keen to understand areas in their patch, enabling them to serve local congregations as they seek to serve local communities, and so having listened to a local county councillor and local churches in the morning, the group moved on to the Berwick Academy, meeting with head teacher Alexis Widdowson. The visitors learned a great deal about the challenges and opportunities of education in Berwick.
Next the group moved on to Tweed Dock, and the chief executive Alan Irving brought home the human side of a hugely important industry, and brought out the particular features of the Port of Berwick in relation to our surrounding community and economy.
The visitors then made their third and final visit to Berwick Citizens Advice Bureau, meeting with former manager, Jennifer Hall, and other staff, to hear about issues of homelessness, debt and poverty and struggles faced by many requiring benefits advice.
The church leaders left Berwick with a better feel for life in Berwick after such a stimulating and informative time. The church leaders are all extremely grateful for the time given them by local congregations and ministers, Mr Irving at Port of Berwick, Ms Widdowson at Berwick Academy, and Mrs Hall at Berwick CAB, and County Councillor Jim Smith, whose contributions were integral to a valued and successful day.
The Church Leaders were Mark Bonnington (House Church Movement); Mark Bryant (Bishop of Jarrow; Paul Butler (Bishop of Durham); John Claydon (Regional Minister, - Pastoral – Northern Baptist Association); Seamus Cunningham (RC Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle); Terry Drainey (RC Bishop of Middlesbrough); Lis Mullen (Interim Moderator of Northern Synod, United Reformed Church); Leo Osborn (Chair of Newcastle Methodist District); and Frank White (Assistant Bishop of Newcastle); Paul Revill (Regional Minister – Mission – Northern Baptist Association).