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Television broadcaster and historian John Grundy gave an illustrated talk to 130 people at a Hartlepool church at the weekend. Entitled ‘Understanding the Heritage Significance of your Church’, the event took place on Saturday 15 February  at St. Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool. The event, which was for clergy and church volunteers, was part of the ‘Spirit in Stone’ project launched by the dioceses of Durham and Newcastle, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to celebrate the rich Christian heritage of the North East of England. Spirit in Stone, involves over 60 churches of all denominations and will provide training for church volunteers to enable them to tell their story, as well as events for adults, families and schools. There is also a printed guide to over 125 of the North’s historic churches. The project, which covers an area from north Northumberland down to south Durham, is based round eight hubs, which will in turn coordinate dozens of other churches. The  talk was the first Spirit in Stone training event for clergy and volunteers from the  churches in the Hartlepool cluster, which included: St. Hilda’s; St. Aidan’s,Hartlepool; Holy Trinity, Seaton Carew; St. John the Baptist, Greatham; St. Mary Magdalene, Hart;  All Saints, Stranton and St. Mary Magdalene, Trimdon Village. John’s talk considered the role all these churches play in the story of Hartlepool; from the Anglo-Saxon period of St. Hilda right up to the present day.  John told volunteers that Hartlepool was an area with a rich history, and the churches represented served  as a wonderful example of living places of ancient and present day stories and artistic skill. For more information on Spirit in Stone, or to get involved in the project, see the website: www.spiritinstone.info The event, which was for clergy and church volunteers, was part of an exciting project launched recently to celebrate the rich Christian heritage of the North East of England. Involving 125 churches of all denominations, and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Spirit in Stone will help churches tell the story of Christianity down the centuries via everything from displays and heritage trails to art and craft workshops. There is also a printed guide to the North’s historic churches. The project, which covers an area from north Northumberland to Darlington and south Durham, is based round eight hubs, which will in turn co-ordinate dozens of other churches. The hub churches include St Hilda’s, Hartlepool, and Saturday’s event was the first Spirit in Stone training event for clergy and volunteers from the church.

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