IMAGINING THE FUTURE: A DIOCESE IN NORTH EAST ENGLAND TAKES THE COLLAPSE IN CLERGY NUMBERS AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR RENEWAL
Fr Jim O'keefe
There is no roof on the Priory on Holy Island – there hasn’t been for centuries. In the 1790s there were around 200 priests in Sunderland and 100 in Berwick. In 2012, after more than 200 years of service, Ushaw College, that magnificent campus of historic buildings outside Durham, ceased to train men for the Catholic priesthood. The story of the Christian faith in the far north-east of England has been one change and decay, turbulence and revival.
In January, the bishop of Clifton wrote to his diocese asking ‘in the light of the Gospel’, What is it to be the Church for our day and our culture? What do we need to do to make our imaginings come true?
Members of A Call to Action worked together to identify the issues these questions raised.
This is an edited version of what they said.
We have become familiar enough with placards and posters proclaiming 'Justice for....', where some good cause is the subject of a campaign seeking a positive outcome.
More and more we hear talk in the West of our unjust society, of communities living side by side whose work and living circumstances are in stark contrast.