The Monkwearmouth Catholic Partnership
Bishop Séamus shares his vision of how he perceives a partnership could be, he said:
‘A partnership is a group of parishes agreeing to work together, to share resources, both human and material, to become stronger and better equipped for furthering the Kingdom of God.’
You can now visit the Monkwearmouth Partnership website for information about all the parishes, schools and communities that are included:
Who? What? Why?
Our Partnership is made up of the 11 Catholic church communities that serve the city of Sunderland and surrounding area. Monkwearmouth is one of eighteen Partnerships which were formally established by Bishop Séamus at Pentecost in 2017. Each of the Partnerships has been given a name rooted in our Christian heritage and a Partnership Dean. Monkwearmouth was chosen by the Diocese to represent our newly named partnership because of its links with the great Catholic heritage of our local area. The Monkwearmouth Monastery and the church of St Peter’s, situated on the banks of the River Wear, date back to 674AD and were of course home to the community who had the great and venerable St. Bede as one of their members.
Our Partnership is in many ways not a new initiative. Our 11 church communities have worked together for many years as a deanery, frequently coming together for joint events, initiatives and celebrations. However, the Partnership does give us an excellent opportunity, not only to reflect together on our current practices but importantly to evaluate and plan how we can ensure that we have vibrant and flourishing communities in the future.
The Partnership Development Group
The Partnership Development Group (PDG) is made up of representatives, of both clergy and lay people, from each of our 11 church communities. The overall aim of the PDG is to create a forum that is genuinely representative of our parishes. The PDG is an interim arrangement and has a 2-year lifespan. Longer-term arrangements, informed by the work of PDGs, will then be put in place across the Partnership. The PDG is led by the Partnership Dean and is chaired by a lay person from one of the parishes, Fr Michael McCoy is our Partnership Dean and our Chair is Adrian Brooks. The Diocese has recommended that the remit of the PDG is to further God’s Kingdom through:
- Co-ordinating and supporting the development of effective partnership arrangements.
- Developing an initial action plan for the partnership.
- Communicating the work of the partnership across the area.
The details of the PDG representatives for each parish can be found on the following page. The PDG has met three times already and is in the process of developing an action plan for our partnership and has identified 6 different areas of focus. They include:
- Youth & Young Adult
- Spiritual & Liturgical Formation
- Pastoral Outreach
- Social Activities
If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved please talk to your PDG representative or parish priest. Please keep the work of the Partnership and the PDG in your prayers.
The Monkwearmouth Partnership Magazine
This Magazine is published with the intention of communicating partnership news and events and in this first issue we have included a short introduction to and brief history of each of our 11 church communities. There is also news from some of our local Catholic schools and other events that are open to our Partnership. This magazine is one of the ways that the PDG has decided to strengthen communication links between our church communities. It is our hope that this magazine will also be a place where the very best of our Catholic community can be shared and celebrated. It will be published quarterly, and all the content will be provided by our parishes. In order for it to be a success, we need people to come forward and volunteer to collect and write material for it. Please consider whether you could help with this initiative and discuss how you can get involved with your PDG representative. A Partnership website is also under development and will be completed in the new year.
Two thoughts to finish with, one from St. Peter and one from St Paul. At the birth of the Church, on the feast of Pentecost, St. Peter declared to all people in the words of the prophet Joel that God had great things in store:
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young shall see visions,
and your old shall dream dreams.
St. Paul, writing later to the Church in Corinth:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Cor. 12: 4-7
All of us have dreams and visions of what kind of Church we would like to see in the future, and as a Partnership we are encouraged to share these with each other. The same Spirit who inspires us, also gives each of us the gifts and talents to realise those dreams. As a Church, we undertake nothing on our own. We mourn, comfort and console together. We rejoice, praise and celebrate together. We are never alone in our struggles, for the Spirit helps us in our weakness, binds us together and gives us the grace to build up God’s kingdom here and now. We are the Church, the Body of Christ in the world. Wear Catholics and proud of it!
The faith is alive and flourishing in and around Sunderland and together we can help the dreams of today become our Church of tomorrow.
The following editions of the magazine have been published so far:
Christmas 2017 (December)
Spring 2018 (March)
Summer 2018 (July)
The next edition will be Autumn 2018 published in October. To provide content for this edition please email
firstname.lastname@example.org by 17th September 2018.
Written on behalf of the Partnership Development Group,
Adrian Brooks Chair of the PDG
Fr Michael McCoy President of the PDG and Dean of the Monkwearmouth Catholic Partnership