Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

Meaningful Ageing Course

Sign up NOW for Sep-Nov Meaningful Ageing Course in building at Woodhouse Close Church and Community Centre or remotely via Zoom.

8 weeks in Sept-Nov for 2 hours per week

Thu eve 7-9pm at Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre

       and on Zoom – participants welcome either in building or remotely

Please can you pass this information onto anyone who you think may benefit from or be interested in this course.  It is especially appropriate to those working in a care setting, but also for anyone who interacts with those struggling with the ageing process in a professional or a personal capacity.
It has also been beneficial for those struggling with the ageing process themselves.
Those who have done the course previously have spoken highly of its benefits. 

23rd Sept ‘Understanding the Ageing Journey’
30th Sept ‘Spirituality in Ageing’,
7th Oct ‘Good Communication’
14th Oct ‘The Power of Storytelling’
21st Oct ‘Dementia’
28th Oct ‘A New Home and a New Way of Life’
*4th Nov ‘Loss, Grief, Death and Dying’,
*11th Nov ‘Roles, Boundaries and Self-Care’

This course is funded by Gaunless Gateway and is free to all participants.
If they contact us in advance, there is a free course workbook that goes with the course and we will get it to participants if possible in advance of the first session.

Video Trailer for Course

Kindness, Compassion and Respect

Meaningful Ageing works to enable those who are supporting older people to be their best selves. There is a wide range of practical resources for organisations to develop and support capability in emotional support for older people. This includes building empathy, kindness, compassion and respect. All of these are fundamental to contemporary spiritual care.

Spiritual Care

Spiritual care in its widest sense which the course embraces, looks at giving purpose, meaning and value to the lives of those in the ageing process.  All of us are ageing and we should hold spiritual care and ageing in high regard, not just content to care about the medical / physical needs but to appreciate the spiritual life and changing needs as we age. Spirituality is about what gives us a purpose to our lives. It is about our sources of meaning and hope, which in turn is closely related to our connectedness to ourselves, to others and to the world. And the good news is, as we age, and as we decline mentally and physically that does not mean a spiritual decline. In fact, with advanced years, greater life experiences, and a history of spiritual lessons under our belt, we can have a healthier spiritual life than when we are younger.

Is this for me?

Are you ageing? – then yes, it’s for you. Are you caring for a loved one who is ageing and struggling with what it all means? – then yes, it’s for you. Do you visit and/or care for those who are ageing in a community or family setting or have a role in church or community where you meet older people and want to offer the best love and care? – then yes, it’s for you.

Sign up

To book your place or find out more
contact Rev John Purdy on 01388 603142
or use the contact form to contact him and book your place.

Messenger needs your articles!

August approaches, and Kath’s thoughts turn to the next issue of “The Messenger”, due out on September 5th. Deadline date- August 22nd.

So a reminder for our members and friends that Kath would be grateful for other contributions.

Get your creative thinking caps on! Is there any news that you could share or stories that are worth (re) telling?

The Bible and Ecology Course

A Five week -session course facilitated by Rev Ruth Newton of the Diocese of Leeds on behalf of the North East Churches Environment group

  • What are the connections between ecological concerns and faith?
  • Does the Bible help or hinder us when thinking about creation-care?
  • Is Salvation just for humans?

These are some of the questions addressed in The Bible and Ecology Course. Using online material from the University of Exeter, you will have the chance to hear from expert theologians in this area, followed by discussion in a local group.

Taking place on Zoom Thursdays in Jul from 7.30 to 9pm.
Thursday 1st July and continuing on  8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of July.

Rev Ruth Newton is parish priest of St John’s, Sharow, near Ripon and author of Ruth is studying for a Doctorate in eco-theology and mission. She is member of the Church of England General Synod and Area Environment Champion for Ripon Episcopal Area (South).

To register, please contact the North East Churches Ecumenical Environment group on this email.   Places are limited.

What previous participants said about the course:

“This course has helped to pull to gather lots of disparate thoughts I have had on the environment and enabled me to place them on a strong Biblical framework.”

“I’ve found it really helpful to try to see eco issues form others’ perspectives. Thank you Ruth for your excellent facilitation.”

“The group discussion on the course has been really stimulating. I have learnt a lot from others”

The Green Church Showcase

Could a group meet on Wednesday mornings? asks Rev John having read the idea on the Green Christian Website which links through to a project in the Church Times

Has your church, church school, diocese or Christian group done something amazing to combat climate change or to protect nature?

We want to share your story with a wider audience.

The Church Times, in collaboration with members of both the Church of England and Roman Catholic environmental working groups, is looking for inspiring church initiatives which protect the planet….

Rev John read in the blogpost that caught his attention in the first place:

“Could you create a wildlife hedge on your church boundary, or to mark off a piece of land within it? Plant “whips” of hawthorn, hazel and other suitable native trees and shrubs, and in several years’ time get a volunteer group to lay it in the traditional fashion. Your local Wildlife Trust or the National Hedge Laying Society websites are good sources of further information.

A traditionally managed hedge provides many opportunities for wildlife to flourish, including cover for nesting birds, a wildlife corridor and shelter, a growing environment for shade loving plants, food for birds and other animals and a home for a wide variety of invertebrates.

“Incredible Edible” is a nationwide project, with many groups scattered around the country. It’s well worth looking at their website to see where your nearest one is. A church could easily partner a local group by setting aside part of its grounds to grow edible plants, making a raised bed or simply siting a planter somewhere to grow herbs and edible flowers (great for pollinators as well as providing food for humans). A mini orchard with a few apple trees on dwarfing stocks might be another possibility.

If there isn’t a local group, why not start one? It’s an effective way for a church to connect with the local community – people who will work with you on the plots and planters and those who will take produce from them.” 

Circuit News from Jenny

Weekly newsletter 30th April

Bishop Auckland and Shildon Methodist Circuit

For a week in May there will be a number of “Gifts outside the box” events.  Bookings need to be made by 3rd May. Click here to book


We have updated the plan so that Vanessa is preaching at the Zoom service on Sunday 16th May and Susan on 30th May.  Please let me know if you would like the link to join in the Zoom service.

The details of preachers can also be found on the Circuit website.


A small group discussion on living with ‘Joy in Enough’ over Zoom

Wednesday evenings 7pm-8.30pm beginning on Wednesday 12th May,                                  

a two-week break, then 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th June 


Let us know if you want to come along and we will know to send you the Zoom code and the pre-reading.

God bless,

John and Vanessa

Children and young people – if you would like the link to join in on Zoom, please get in touch.

A reminder that our next gathering for workers/volunteers with children, families and young people is coming up on Wednesday 19th May, 11am-12.30pm.  The focus will be on Mental Health and Wellbeing and we will be joined by Lynne Norman and George Dixon-Gough of the Connexional Children, Youth and Family Team to share some of their experience and encourage further conversation on supporting ourselves and each other as well as how we might go about supporting the children, families and young people we are working with.  Lynne and George are trainers on the Mental Health First Aid (Youth) certificate course. 

Regular events and links

SundaysVisit YouTube to see a recorded service from Bishop Auckland Methodist Church.
Or visit the website for lots of other opportunities for worship  
Worship sheets are on the Circuit website
Sundays 11amBishop FM 105.9 will have a recorded service from Bishop Auckland Methodist Church  
Sunday 6pmWorship takes place on Zoom, please get in touch for the link  
Monday 12.45 pm    The President and Vice President of Conference are hosting a series of events on Facebook Live.  
Tuesdays 12.45pm      During this Year of Prayer there is an opportunity to join with others across the Methodist Family in a weekly prayer session, on Zoom and Facebook     Next Tuesday’s service will be led by Barry Sloan, Partnership Coordinator for Europe.


Within our Circuit and churches, we have been completing the Data Checklist.  We should be careful how we use people’s data, so I thought I would let people know about the “BCC” function, in case you are not familiar with it.

If you send an email to more than one person everyone can see all the other email addresses used. 

You will see from the emails I send that I send it to my own email address and then list everyone else using “BCC”.  In Gmail it is on the right-hand side and once you click on it, email addresses are listed on a separate line.

It is still possible to send to everyone and have their email addresses visible if the group have agreed to this, but please ensure that if the email is sent outside of the group that the email addresses are deleted.

Click here for the District worship at home sheet.

District Environmental group formation

Bill Offler has advised us of the formation and work of an Environmental group within NECAT (North East Christians Acting Together).  The NECAT environmental group consists of officially appointed representatives and other interested people from some of our ecumenical partners.

Bill advises – At the DPC it was agreed that we might appropriately form some kind of federation of people across the District who are interested in or practitioners in ecological/environmental issues: including those relating to climate change. Before beginning his sabbatical Richard Andrew set aside the evening of Monday July 26th for an on-line meeting for anyone interested to meet up and to see where this might lead.

If you would like any further information, please let me know and I will pass your details on to Bill.

From Connexion

 As India grapples with the devastating impact of a Covid-19 second wave, please support vulnerable communities by giving generously to the joint Emergency Coronavirus Appeal. All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain will be responding through All We Can’s local partner in Odisha to the unfolding crisis, helping rural communities in the state to pull together, and providing vital help at this most desperate moment.’ Read more here.

In this podcast to mark Earth Day, we hear about the eco-district initiative and the importance of the COP 26 climate summit. The youth president tells us how young Methodists feel about the planet they are going to inherit and we consider meta ethics, faith and the environment over the kitchen table. Listen here.

The latest edition of the Connexion magazine is available now, featuring inspiring stories of Christian calling with testimonies that demonstrate the breadth and depth of God’s imagination as God calls people in so many and various ways to follow Jesus. Download a copy here

A number of Ecumenical events are being organised in the North East.

Wednesday 5 May 2021 18.30 – 20.30hrs: Community Organising in the North East: An ecumenical conversation.

Over the last five years Christians have been working alongside people of other faiths, and none, to challenge the injustices that shape our communities in the North East. During this online event we want to share some of the stories of how together we have empowered people to tackle low wages, mental health provisions, hate crime, free-school meal access and climate change. Along with the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, and the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Robert Byrne, we will be asking how community organising is part of our faith journeys.

Storytelling is at the heart of challenging injustice and we hope our stories will engage and inspire you.

Please sign up here [1] and login details will be sent out the week before the event.

Save the date: NECAT are organising a series of 5 evening on-line sessions on ‘Creation Theology’ Thursdays July 01st-29th.  I will send further details once they arrive.

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