Church leaders from around the North East of England came together in an ecumenical service in the historic surroundings of Finchale Priory to mark the 900th anniversary of the arrival at the site Godric, its founder.
Among those attending was the The Rt Revd Paul Butler the Anglican Bishop of Durham, who was on the second of a series of prayer walks round his Diocese, aimed at allowing him to find out more about the area and its people.
The Right Reverend Paul Butler gave the main address at the service at the Durham priory, now an English Heritage site, to help celebrate the life of its founder Godric, and the other church leaders assisted with the service.
Godric was an English hermit who arrived at Finchale 900 years ago this year and created a hermitage after being given the land by the then Bishop of Durham. The hermitage evolved into the priory after his death.
Previously a great traveller on pilgrimages, he is recorded to have lived at Finchale for the final sixty years of his life, where he was known as a man of prayer and wisdom. His Saint’s Day is in May.
Joanne Thornes, Regional Officer for the ecumenical body North East Churches Acting Together, which organised the service, said: “The service celebrated the 900th anniversary of the arrival of Godric and gave the church leaders an opportunity to spend some time reflecting and focusing on what our churches should be praying about for the North East.”
Bishop Paul, whose walk took him past Finchale, said: “The service was part of the Prayer Walk. It is great that we can celebrate Godric because he was known as a man of prayer and was consulted by other people about prayer. To worship on the site, like the walk, was a fantastic way of reminding ourselves about the importance of prayer.”
Bishop Paul shared the service with: Leo Osborn – Chair of the Newcastle Methodist District, Revd John Claydon – Regional Minister of the Northern Baptist Association and Fr Martin Stempczyk – the Vicar General of Hexham and Newcastle.