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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.

One Diocese, 18 Partnerships, Unlimited Potential

A ‘Great cloud of witnesses’ from across the Diocese gathered at the Lancastrian Suite in Gateshead and Carmel College in Darlington to hear the decisions made by Bishop Séamus following the residential Diocesan Board meeting in January.

They heard how the 150 parishes in the diocese are now gathered into 18 partnerships. The message from Bishop Séamus states that,

"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".

He is convinced that partnerships will enable formation programmes to be developed and delivered locally; that smaller communities can be supported; the gifts, talents and financial resources in a wider area can be put at the service of more people and that a thorough review of all property will need to be carried out in the near future.

Everyone present was given an eight page document which included maps of every area of the diocese and which spelled out in detail the new partnership arrangements.

The full document is now available, along with responses to the 50 questions noted at the two meetings at Gateshead and Darlington.

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.