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 170 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 ordination students from St Johns College, Durham spending time with
us as part of their training.
We have also, regularly, had 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)
Also, over the years we have had several of our own congregation who have entered
ordained ministry, the most recent becoming a priest in 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.
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 other members 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
Our Ministry Team is a group of 6 lay members and the vicar.
They 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 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 and Gateshead Metro Centre Chaplaincy.
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.