CMS Link Visit to St. Andrew’s Church, Tudhoe Grange, Spennymoor

My first CMS Link Visit of the new year, and off I went on a wild and windy Saturday morning over the A66 to Co. Durham, yippee!

St. Andrew’s Church, Tudhoe Grange has been supporting me for many many years, starting when their former vicar, Neville was in action there ~ he’s now retired with his wife to Whitburn, on the coast just north of Sunderland.  So first stop was to see them to say hello and have the most delicious lunch ~ oh yes and a paddle in the freezing cold North Sea – with the dog!

My departure from Whitburn coincided with the end of the home game at Sunderland Football Club, so the traffic was incredible!  What should have taken 45 minutes to get to Spennymoor took a whole extra hour on the Sunderland Ring Road ~ ah how I love traffic jams.  And ring roads. NOT!

And so to St. Andrew’s Church, and my lovely hosts, Rita and Cliff who were so welcoming!  As were the whole church, such wonderful people. These days, St. Andrew’s Church is affiliated with ‘Forward in Faith‘ and comes under the pastoral care of the Bishop of Beverley.  In recent years, they’ve joined with Christ the King Church in Bowburn, just outside Durham, under vicar Fr. John Livesley.

So yesterday, Sunday, was the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, and first off to St. Andrew’s Church for the 9:00am service ~ I filled the sermon slot with a 10-minute talk, all followed by coffee in the church hall.  Oh yes, and photos with the congregation ~ John is such a delightful vicar and everyone’s so friendly!

And then off give the same talk at Christ the King Church in Bowburn for their morning service at 11:00am.  Also lovely people!

And back to St. Andrew’s Church for their Epiphany-tide lunch, followed by my power point talk about life in Taiwan….

This morning, Monday ~ and a free morning to wander round and discover the delights of Spennymoor ~ originally a bleak moorland, it became a hub of industry at the end of the 1800’s with all the mines and factories.  St. Andrew’s Church just celebrated its 130th anniversary ~ it was built right next to the Tudhoe Ironworks and just up the road from Tudhoe Colliery.  Now all the mines and ironworks are long gone and housing covers the whole area…. but they have a beautiful new leisure centre, historic town hall and a lovely park, with musical pipes for visitors to hit and play music ~ I loved it!

This afternoon, gave a short talk to the St. Andrew’s Church Mothers Union group, and then off back to Sedbergh, across the A66 ~ bit windy, but sunny YEAH!

A big THANK YOU to all at St. Andrew’s for their support over the years, to Fr John and all the congregation, and to Rita and Cliff for their hospitality ~ amazing!

(And in case you’re wondering what the chalk writing is on the photo next to St. Andrew’s Church, it’s an Epiphany blessing for the home, which Fr. John introduced this year, and everyone loves it!  Check it out here…)

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