On Saturday 11 February 2023, around 60 people from across the Diocese gathered at St Aidan’s, in Ashington, for a day organised by the Charismatic Diocesan Service of Communion in partnership with parishioners from the Northumberland Vicariate and the DCMA (Diocesan Church Music Association).

We very much appreciated the welcome from Fr Purdy and the refreshments, kindly provided by Margo, throughout the day. The day started with praise and worship led by musicians and singers from Couples for Christ, interspersed with two members sharing how they had found joy at particularly challenging times in their lives. Fr Shaun O’Neill then shared a reflection on the theme for the day.*

The international website for CHARIS reflects that, ‘Present in the largest parishes and also in the humblest ones, prayer groups are the main actors of the great mission of CHARIS.’ One possible outcome of the day the CDSC hoped for was the formation of a prayer group in the Northumberland Vicariate. Cherryl Lucero, from the CDSC, shared her experience of being in prayer groups to encourage others and an opportunity was given for people to express as interest in being part of a new group.

After further praise and worship, Fr Shaun O’Neill then guided people through personal reflections on five words from scripture on joy:

  • I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. (John 15: 11)
  • For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14: 17)
  • By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. (Galatians 5: 22 – 23)
  • Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4: 4)
  • Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18)

The day concluded with Mass in St Aidan’s Church, celebrated by Fr Shaun O’Neill, with music provided by Paul Berry and members of the DCMA. Following a period of exposition, people were invited to receive a blessing from members of the CDSC team.

The CDSC looks forward to being with people from across the Diocese again for Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral at 1.00pm on Saturday 13 May 2023.

John Wheeler, CDSC Coordinator for Hexham & Newcastle.

*To find out more about Couples for Christ visit their website here.

View a collection of images from the day in the Flickr album below:

CHARIS Event: Find Joy in the Journey