From the 2nd to the 5th of March Stephanie and I spent time with the local people of Gateshead as part of a wide spread mission across the Diocese of Durham. The mission titled ‘Talking Jesus’ included bishops, teams of clergy and laity from all parts of the Northern Provence. Although the mission was a fairly big scale event, for the small teams like us, it was about getting involved on the ground with the local community. We shined peoples shoes on the street, visited schools to take assemblies, took part in various social events and many other things. The theme ‘Talking Jesus’ comes across as quite evangelistic, and in many ways it was. But we felt that the real fruits of the mission were the ways in which we helped engage the local Christian community with the local people and local organisations. It wasn’t about a short-term top up of evangelism and outreach; it was about forming relationships and small building blocks for God to build on in the weeks, months and years to come. We had the privilege of both blessing and being blessed by the local Christians we met, and our prayer for them, is that in their continued witness to Christ, through the Holy Spirit, the people of Gateshead will come to know and experience the Good news of Jesus Christ.

Toby Artis