Churches celebrate North East's rich Christian heritage

Elizabeth Baker, Andrew Duff, Peter Biggers review the 'Spirit In Stone' display material set in a backdrop of Sunderland Minster.(Photo: Keith Blundy)

A rare exhibition of the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham this summer has spurred churches in the area to celebrate the North East's rich Christian heritage.

The Spirit in Stone project is bringing together 125 churches of all denominations in telling the stories behind some of the region's best loved buildings and major figures like Bede and Cuthbert.

Churches from Northumberland to Darlington and south Durham will be running a range of activities, such as heritage trails and art and craft workshops. There will also be a printed guide to the North's historic churches.

The project is being supported by Inspired North East and a £38,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Project coordinator Elizabeth Baker said: "Everyone has been galvanised by the visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the region and it seemed a good opportunity to tell the story of the North East's remarkable Christian heritage and of some amazing people.

"I do not think a lot of visitors to the region know about the story and this project will help churches to recount the area's great Christian heritage."

Inspired North East Development Officer for Durham Diocese, Peter Biggers said: "Even people who worship at a church may go into the building without fully realising its fantastic heritage. This project will tell that story."

Andrew Duff, Inspired North East Development Officer for Newcastle Diocese said: "The area has a fantastic Christian heritage which is under-recognised. The arrival of the Lindisfarne Gospels provided an opportunity to tell that story."