From flash mobs to pig races – taking the gospel to all in our communities

Rev Canon Sophie Jelley writes about how more than 450 events are to take place between Thursday and Sunday in Durham Diocese as part of the Talking Jesus programme

Picture by Keith Blundy

Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, a new season begins – a time to reflect on the way life has been, and to look ahead to a new and different future.

On the second day of Lent we begin Talking Jesus Durham, a very special weekend of mission with Archbishop John Sentamu and 25 bishops from the Northern Province joining us with their teams.

After a launch service in Durham Cathedral taking in the history of Christianity in our region with inspiration from St Cuthbert and St Bede and all the northern saints we will go out to ‘Talk Jesus’ in every Deanery across Durham. From the Tyne to the Tees and the Dales to the Sea, more than 450 events will be happening in every community led by people from churches right across the region, helping us to ‘Bless our communities in Jesus’ name for the transformation of us all’.

There will be ceilidhs and comedy evenings, flash mobs in shopping centres, pub nights and pig races – there is no end to the creativity and fun. There is a sporty event at the County Cricket ground in Chester-le Street on Thursday evening, lots of visits to schools and colleges on Friday, youth and children’s’ events and family fun days in lots of places on Saturday. Park runs will be blessed by Bishops and there are music events to suit people of every taste.

The bible tells stories of Jesus at parties, Jesus at picnics and Jesus with every type of person in all kinds of places. The same is true today – as we put on events large and small, as we meet with people of all ages in all kinds of places across the Diocese of Durham, Jesus is with us. We want to tell people about him. Who He is and what He has done and the different He can make in our lives. Jesus is the Son of God who loves us, so we have a message of hope and new life; offering a new and different future for all people.

97% of people never go near a church. Talking Jesus is about taking church to them. To go with Jesus, to those He leads us to, to Talk Jesus and help the people that we know and care about to meet the One who cares so much for us. For those who want to know more after any of the events there are over thirty ‘Start! Courses’ being run all over the Diocese following on from Talking Jesus.

The final celebration takes place at Durham Cathedral at 3pm on Sunday afternoon. Archbishop Sentamu will be speaking. Music will be led by the oldest and newest churches in our Diocese:  Durham Cathedral Choir & the worship band from St George’s, Gateshead. Why not come and see for yourself.

Revd Canon Sophie Jelley is Diocese of Durham Director of Mission, Discipleship & Ministry and Canon Missioner at Durham Cathedral

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