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Sylvia and Rob Wilson

The Reverend Sylvia Wilson, formerly OLM Associate Minister at All Saints, Preston on Tees, was licensed to be SSM (self-supporting) Priest-in-Charge of Egglescliffe St John the Baptist at 6.00pm on Sunday 30th March. The church was packed for the occasion, with every seat taken. There was still room to squeeze a small band, to lead some great worship songs, alongside the choir and organist, reflecting the traditions of the church.

Sylvia’s gift of time to the church is a challenge and an inspiration. She will be working 30 hours a week, aiming to keep Saturday free for her family. Sylvia joins a supportive team in the locality, so weddings won’t pose a problem as others step in, and Sylvia will no doubt share her talents across the area as we grow closer in mission.

The welcomes she and Rob received during the service included a moving video of encouraging messages from the Stockton town centre churches. The local welcomes were equally warm, and clearly Sylvia’s involvement in community, church and school life is warmly anticipated. Bishop Mark spoke challengingly of what it means to be light bearers in the world, and – most appropriately – the occasion was rounded off with fireworks from the tower.

A new website for St John the Baptist was launched to coincide with the licensing.

Consultation has begun on plans for a new Church school to be located at a site yet to be announced on the edge of the Wynyard development in the Stockton Country Parish. The community continues to expand, and as part of that a church school will be a key part, and a focus for the community.

Wynyard CofE Primary logoThe Ven. Stuart Bain, Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, said: “This is a great proposal and working in partnership with the local community is crucial. We want this to be a neighbourhood school.” Consultation revolves around demonstrating to the Department for Education (DfE) that there is sufficient demand for the proposed school.

Children at work

A dedicated website, facebook-page and twitter feed have been created to provide information and to gather opionions. There was also a successful drop in session at Wynyard Hall Hotel on the 31st March 2014 attended by a number of enthusiastic parents. Once the consultation is completed, the application will be sent to the Department for Education and, if successful, the school will open in September 2015.

The proposal for a school is part of a whole new era for community development on Wynyard. With the support of Elwick and Grindon Parish Councils, and Stockton and Hartlepool and Stockton Borough Councils, the Wynyard Neighbourhood Area was designated on 6th November 2013. Grindon Parish Council is the lead body for this neighbourhood area, and Wynyard Residents Association will undertake most of the neighbourhood planning activities.

Wynyard Neighbourhood Area map

Neighbourhood planning is a way for communities to guide future development in their area. It is about promoting developments, such as new business premises, community facilities or housing. For more information on Neighbourhood Areas, including links to details of the Wynyard Neighbourhood Area, visit Stockton Borough Council’s - Neighbourhood Planning page.


The licensing of Laura McWilliams and Bill Braviner to the Billingham Team Parish


St Aidan’s Church reverberated with the spirit of welcome on Tuesday 28th January as we welcomed Laura and Bill and licensed them to the Team Parish of Billingham.

The Right Reverend Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow led the ceremony. His sermon focussed on the two readings chosen by Laura and Bill. Laura’s reading (Romans 8: 1-17) reminds us that God has chosen and adopted us as his children. Bishop Mark said that this meant that we had a secure relationship with God that would hold and support us through the changes that we will undoubtedly undergo in the coming months and years. Bill’s reading (Matthew 5: 1-16) teaches us about the kind of people God wants us to be. Bishop Mark suggested that we take this example to lead us on our way in our mission to create a better Billingham.

With these supportive words still resonating loudly, Laura and Bill were licensed. The keys of the churches were handed over and Laura rang the bell with great gusto signifying her acceptance of the pastoral care of the people of Billingham.


A new era for the Stockton Country Parish

Country parish boundaries

After many years of working more and more closely, particularly under the present Rector, the Revd David Brooke, the five former parishes of Great Stainton, Bishopton, Redmarshall, Stillington and Grindon have been united to form a new single parish to be known as the Stockton Country Parish. The scheme came into effect on 1st January 2014.

A single PCC is being formed, which will have legal responsibility and give overall leadership. Congregational committees will look after the day-to-day life of the congregations, but free from administrative burden. The goal is better and more coordinated mission, not just simpler administration.


The parish is fully up and running, with a new PCC, committees for each church, and special committees looking at Mission, Finance, and the development project at Stillington church.