Rev Neil Walpole (left) with the Archbishop of York

The Archbishop of York plans to celebrate stories of faith in the north of England, as part of renewing the missionary purpose of the Church in the region over the coming years, reports Premier Christian News.

Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell held a launch event for Faith in the North at Dewsbury Minster, remembering the life of St Paulinus who established the Church of Saint Peter in York in the year 627 and who became the first bishop of York.
Archbishop Stephen, now the 98th Archbishop of York, led a time of prayer in the Chapel at Dewsbury Minster which is dedicated to St Paulinus. He was joined by many church leaders from across the north.

The Faith in the North project will be a large focus of the Archbishop’s mission over the next five years. 2027 will be the 1400th anniversary of the baptism in York of Edwin (the first Christian King of Northumbria) by the missionary bishop Paulinus.

Archbishop Stephen said: “I’m so inspired by the forthcoming anniversary of the establishment of the See of York. This is a small beginning of something which we hope will grow and grow, encouraging churches, dioceses, cathedrals, to think about their history and to think about how we can connect with people today.

“Paulinus came in dark and difficult times in the seventh century. And he established something which has shaped the life of our nation. I think it’s what our nation needs today.

“If I had to sum up faith in the north in a couple of phrases, it will be about encouraging the church to tell its story and to reconnect with that story, which is, of course the story of Jesus. But it’s also the story of the saints who brought the Christian faith here, and it’s about doing that ourselves today.

“Exploring our spiritual roots in this way offers a wonderful opportunity to share the Christian faith in churches, schools and in all the communities we serve.

“I hope we can equip the Church for its service and mission today, find ways of reaching out to others, and plant new Christian communities.”

As part of the launch, the Archbishop blessed the outreach ministry of a bus known as the Destination 211 Bus. This is part of his teaching and preaching ministry, praying along the routes he walks with others.

Rev Neil Walpole, Associate Priest at Dewsbury Team Parish said: “Destination 211 bus ministry reaches out to communities that struggle from high deprivation with the love of Jesus. It provides a warm space and a listening ear for the community in winter as well as offering emergency food.

“It is an after school drop in where real discipleship takes place with craft and a Bible study for parents and children, and we have our worship ‘Thrive on the bus’, where all can learn and grow in faith.

“Time and time again we see children sprint down the hill with parents following to join us for drinks, cakes, conversations and to hear the good news of Jesus.”