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Durham: prayer walks highlight 'passion and commitment'

Bishop of Durham Paul Butler has spoken of the importance of "community, love and fellowship amongst different people from all faiths and none" on concluding his 2017 prayer walks ...

The Bishop of Durham has completed his 2017 round of Prayer Walks. He began on Ascension Day (May 25th) walking in Gateshead for three days and then last week 3 days in Hartlepool ending on Pentecost Sunday (June 4th).
 
The walks featured an opportunity for the Bishop to meet people from across the Gateshead and Hartlepool areas; walking, talking, and praying with them. This year marks the third year of prayer walks in an eight-year-cycle walking across all 16 deaneries of the Diocese – two deaneries per year.
 
Bishop Paul said: "I was delighted with the response and welcome I received everywhere I visited throughout the two weeks."

"Particularly poignant this year were the terror attacks in Manchester and London. In both cases there were opportunities to speak and pray about the importance of community, love and fellowship amongst different people from all faiths and none in our communities.
 
"As in previous years, it's the stories of people and their communities that never cease to amaze me. There is real passion and commitment here. I hope the prayer walks go some way to bring these forward so we can celebrate the good in our communities, and keep praying for them, then that is exactly why I love doing these annual prayer walks."
 
During the Prayer walks, Bishop Paul has visited schools; community projects; civic locations; fire, rescue and RNLI facilities; sporting and cultural centres; churches; other faith leaders and their communities; as well as a whole host of local people in their places of work and leisure.

Bishop Paul also got to try his hand at golf, cricket, singing and taking the helm of an all-weather offshore lifeboat. At Hartlepool Football Club he was given a tour of the grounds and presented with a club scarf.
 
Bishop Paul added: "One highlight for me was to be able to join up with the Great Big Walk during our time in Hartlepool. This gave us a great opportunity to walk, talk and pray for the work being done and to discover some of the tireless community engagement that they were showcasing.
 
"This has been a fantastic two weeks – and I can't wait to do it all over again next year in two new areas."

PHOTO: Bishop Paul and prayer walkers by the Angel of the North. Photo – Keith Blundy.

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