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Partnerships at Pentecost

When the disciples left the locked room after they had received the Spirit, there was no stopping them! It’s as though they burst out of the room and began to preach and teach and heal and let people know about the presence of the Risen Lord among them. At Pentecost we celebrate that moment and have a number of documents to help us. A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Séamus inviting us all to you to pray for our Diocese as we formally acknowledge our new Partnerships. The prayer said to inaugurate our Partnerships (Prayer for our new Partnership) is available for everyone in the Diocese to use at any time they please.

There is a final Forward Together in Hope leaflet entitled 'Pointing the Way' for every parishioner with a note from Bishop Séamus, a reminder of our whole journey over the last three years including the luggage label used in our first leaflet inviting everyone to explore once again what it means to be a disciple, and a final note from the Forward Together in Hope team.

'Reflections from across the Diocese' offers a wide range of topics which Bishop Séamus and the Diocesan Trustees explored in their meeting in January and shows how seriously they took all the comments and observations from across the diocese. All clergy and parish representative have a copy and there are some hard copies available for each parish.

Partnership Guidelines – First Steps

Following the announcement in February of the 18 new partnerships across the Diocese we are now able to provide more details about how these partnerships will work. The document ‘Partnership Guidelines – First Steps' (pdf - word versions) sets out some key information that will help partnerships to get up and running.

Developing our new arrangements will take time and energy on lots of different levels. Any new group, team or partnership needs careful nurturing, particularly in the early stages, to ensure that foundations are put in place that are strong enough to weather any future storms. This ‘First Steps’ guide offers some initial ideas and direction that we hope will be helpful to partnerships regardless of their starting point. The contents have been endorsed by Bishop Séamus, Episcopal Vicars and the Diocesan Board. The document is available here along with a letter from Bishop Séamus where he announces the appointment of Partnership Deans for each of the partnerships.

This is a real opportunity to think differently about how we do things and how we access and share the wealth of untapped potential available within our Diocese. Let’s grasp the opportunity and who knows where the Holy Spirit might lead us.

Bishop Séamus' Open Meetings message

Watch Bishop Séamus' video message from the open meetings discussing the new partnership arrangements.

The powerpoint presentation from the meetings is now available.

Video reproduced courtesy of Carmel College, Darlington.

A New Prayer for Partnerships

God of all Creation,
You have constantly poured out your Spirit upon our Diocese
and kindled here a light which has spread throughout the world.

Lord Jesus, you gathered disciples to yourself
To learn from you
and to model their lives on you.
Your Holy Spirit empowered them to continue your work in the world.

Come upon us, Holy Spirit,
deepen the faith you invite us to share
and inspire us to become faithful witnesses.

As we begin to develop our partnerships,
help each one of us to use the gifts you give us
to nurture one another,
to serve the world
and to live in harmony with the whole of creation.

All of this we ask in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Most Beautiful Face of the Church

Each and every one of us is made in the image of God. If you are interested in discovering how you might be able to help with lay formation in our Diocese, full details can be found here, by clicking on the poster below, or by contacting Amy Cameron by email:, or
tel: 0191 243 3304.

The work of Forward Together in Hope is fully funded by grants from external organisations; we are very grateful for their generous support.