St James and St Bede Church
St James & St Bede Church
Sunderland Road, Gateshead
A History of St James & St Bede’s
St James and St Bede’s Church Centre has a relatively short but none the less rich and interesting history that reflects the congregation’s response to the challenges of being a church in today’s world.
Today the church meets in what was the hall of the now demolished Venerable Bede Church, in the heart of the Sunderland Road community. The congregation was formed from those of the Venerable Bede Church and St James’ Church (also now demolished and where the Vauxhall Garage stands at the corner of St James’ Street.) The congregations were of very different traditions and wonderfully came together in 1982 under the leadership of the Vicar, Revd. Tom Jamieson, to give the present congregation its unique and diverse character.
We have a wonderful building that has been completely modernised . Its ‘small and local’ character welcomes many from the local and wider community and the actual building surprises many by its varied and flexible use.
The whole of St James & St Bede’s buildings has been further restored in three phases over a period of 8 years giving us a wonderfully versatile building that will serve us all well as we face the challenge of mission and ministry in the years ahead.
Building improvements at St James & St Bede’s have happened more recently in three phases, The first was the refurbishment of the central worship area that made a cold, draughty and dark hall into an attractive, warm and versatile space. The second was the development of the cellar and garden areas at the south end of the building (2000). This space now houses a resource shop for nurseries, toddler groups and families allowing them to access quality low cost craft items as well as an advice service for families and Under 5’s groups and organisations (formerly Gateshead Pre-school Learning Alliance) . Finally, the significant improvements (2004) to the north end of the building, which is used daily for many community, parish and deanery groups. There is a large, well equipped, newly-built kitchen, new toilets and good access for all. There is a small new reception office and a refurbished Community Room with comfortable chairs and an efficient heating system. The full restoration of the building enables us to operate as a ‘seven days a week’ church and there is rarely a day when the church building is not in use. Apart from regular and varied worship at the core of our life as followers of Jesus Christ, the building has many stories to tell about its use. It has been transformed into a ‘restaurant’ for a Harvest Supper, Family Fun Days, Barbeques, theatre productions, bi-annual fairs, concerts,cCourses for learning, an annual Community Christmas Party, and a host of other occasions that welcome people from the area.
It is a wonderful call from God to share the good things he has given us with others and to have our doors open into what we pray will be the journey of a lifetime – the journey of Faith – and for the privilege of seeing God’s Kingdom come among us.
“Do not be afraid little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)