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Durham diocese: delegates gather to plot future course

More than 500 delegates from the Diocese of Durham made up equally of Clergy and Laity and will gather together next weekend (12-13 October) at the Waymark ‘19 conference in Newton Aycliffe.

Waymark’19,  is a two-day conference being held at the Xcel centre which will see parishes come together, share, reflect, pray and discern together what God is calling them to do in order to chart a course for the next five years that will develop and grow the Diocese’s vision to ‘Bless our communities in Jesus’ name for the transformation of us all’.

Conference organiser Ian Goulding said: “Since Bishop Paul became Bishop of Durham, we have worked to be a Diocese whose calling is to ‘Bless  our communities in Jesus’ name for the transformation of us all’.  We have expressed this through three core priorities ‘Growing churches’, ‘Children  and Young People’ and ‘Tackling Poverty’. 

“The Waymark ‘19 conference will be an opportunity to encourage us all to reflect on the mission of God in our Diocese and to chart the next part of that journey.”

Bishop Paul said: “I am convinced the Waymark ‘19 conference weekend will be a fresh call from God to us to be those who live as exiles, aliens, as pilgrims in our communities who are called always to live, work and pray for the good of the whole community. As we do so seeking God’s blessing in the communities in which we are set, and in the Diocese as a whole, then we will discover the future and hope that God has for us as his people.”

As well as looking to chart the course the Diocese will take in the coming years, the conference will also set the scene for the 2020 Year of Pilgrimage. Bishop Paul comments: “It has been a long process started five years ago when I became Bishop of Durham that has led us to call for 2020 to be simply a year of Pilgrimage; of continuing on our journey with Christ.

“It was never intended to have lots of activities but simply to encourage us all to see and know ourselves to be a Pilgrim people. It has grown a bit from those first thoughts but the core remains. Primarily we simply want to encourage everyone – church members and those who are well outside the church, to explore what it means to be travellers through life, and what happens when we do so with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“I am really looking forward to discovering more of what it truly means to be a pilgrim through 2020 and to the direction that Waymark ‘19 sets us on.”

The conferences will welcome a number of ecumenical guests as well as Anglican guest speakers Emma Ineson (Bishop of Penrith) and Matthew Frost (ex-Chief Executive Tearfund, Member of the Archbishop’s Council).

PHOTO: Conference organiser Ian Goulding. Picture by Keith Blundy.

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