St John's has a long history of developing it's ministry with the times.


The Church was originally built to meet the changing needs of the community 160 years ago and has adapted, right up to the present, trying to meet those needs as they continue to change.

Such moves as trying to involve congregations more in worship by re-ordering the Church through the 1960’s - 1980s,  and the ' Restoration and Renewal'  during the 90’s, to bring the Church into the 21st century, demonstrate this.


The Parish has been a training Parish for new clergy for many years and has had a steady flow of newly ordained ministers spending 2-4 years with us to develop their ministry. Several of our Vicars (including our current one) have been involved in the training of candidates for both ordained and lay (non-ordained) ministry, and we regularly have ordination students from St Johns College, Durham spending time with us as part of their training.   

Over the years we have had several of our own congregation who have entered ordained ministry and one of our former Readers has  recently completed her training and was ordained Deacon in July 2011 and Priest in July 2012.


Although at the moment we do not have any training clergy with us, we have a recently retired priest from a nearby Church who has joined our congregation and regularly assists at some of our Services.


Liturgy, the act of worship by the people, has also changed with the times.


In the late 1960’s the Church of England embarked on a major project to develop and modernise it’s style of Services.  

St Johns has actively embraced the various forms of Services since then and currently offers a broad variation mainly based today on the Common Worship range of Services. For more details look in Services


The Church has, for many years, had an actively involved congregation in both Church worship and ministry to the wider community. We currently have 2 licensed Lay-Readers, and a Ministry Team, along with a good number of the congregation involved less formally (but no less actively) in the daily Church life.


Between them, the Readers assist or preach at many of the Eucharistic Services and regularly lead or preach at other Services. One of our Readers is also licensed to conduct funerals.


Our Ministry Team is a group of 7 lay members and the vicar who take a lead in the sharing of the Church's wider ministry in various ways, often assisted by other congregation members.


Some members have a particular interest in Healing Ministry, others in Baptism preparation and follow up, and some in local community work.


Most are involved in delivering Home Communion or visiting. Birtley has a large number of care homes and sheltered accommodation with a significant number of less able people. St John's has a regular rota of visiting these homes, and other less mobile people, with Home Communion for those who wish it. We also have some Ministry Team and congregation members assisting with local hospital Chaplaincy, Gateshead Metro Centre Chaplaincy and prison visiting.


There is an active area of children's work, notably in the Sunday 10.00am Service. Although the number of children can vary considerably, we have a small team providing various activities and teaching to a 'toddlers to teens' range of children.


There is also active involvement with the local schools. We have regular visits to some of them, as well as most of them using the Church for teaching visits and special occasions such as Christmas or Easter presentations.  

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