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North of England

Bishops on the run

todayJuly 17, 2018 20

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Bishop Christine is raising money for the West End Refugee Service (WERS) Hardship Fund, and Bishop Mark is raising money for youth work in Byker carried out by MINE (Mission Initiative Newcastle East).

They both believe Christians are called to be fully engaged with every element of society, not just what goes on inside the four walls of a church, and so are keen to be part of such an iconic event. Bishop Mark said, ‘Being a bishop in the north-east, it would simply be wrong not to engage with the Great North Run. I’m so looking forward to being part of this great community event.’

Bishop Christine wanted to support WERS in the extraordinary work they do. She said, ‘The way they support people coming to this city who are desperately in need of friendship and support is extraordinarily professional and yet compassionate. They help people who often have nowhere else to turn, and what I really like about WERS is that many of the volunteers are people who came seeking help, and are giving to others the same friendship they received.’

Bishop Mark says, ‘I chose MINE for their focus on young people. The church can be weak at reaching out to teenagers, but this is something youth work at MINE do incredibly well. They are at the heart of what we are about as a Diocese – reaching out and showing God’s love to people who are often overlooked.’ Rather than asking people to give a one-off amount, he’s suggesting they donate a small monthly amount for a period 13 months (one month for each mile run): ‘If 400 people were to give £3 a month for 13 months, that would fund the project for a year’.

Bishop Christine has run half-marathons and marathons before. She said, ‘I used to run a respectable pace. I’m not sure I can match it now, but I’ll certainly give it my best shot!’ Bishop Mark, who is a regular in the region’s parkruns, said, ‘I thought it would be a laugh. I enjoy running’. So is there a sense of competition between the two bishops? Not at all – the question got a laugh from both bishops. ‘I really wish there was’ said Bishop Christine, ‘but I couldn’t keep up with Bishop Mark in a million Sundays!’

Written by: Rufus Olaniyan

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