Jarrow schoolchildren celebrate first anniversary of 'Way of Learning' pilgrimage route to Durham

Primary school children came together to celebrate the first anniversary of a new trail through the North East which helps showcase the region’s religious heritage.

The ‘Way of Learning’, one of the Northern Saints Trails, launched in 2021 as a pilgrimage route between Jarrow and Durham, running some 38 miles, or 61 kilometres.

Pupils from schools in Jarrow took part in a special event with the Bishop of Durham, The Right Reverend Paul Butler, to make one year since the route was founded.

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The event began with the bishop leading an assembly at Jarrow Cross CE Primary, discussing the importance of pilgrimage and informing students that ‘Jesus is always with us, wherever we go’.

Revd Lesley Jones and Bishop Paul (left) alongside the Jarrow students.

Bishop Paul then greeted 100 students from six schools - Jarrow Secondary School, Jarrow Cross CE Primary, Valley View Primary, Hedworthfield Primary, St Joseph’s RC Primary and Dunn Street Primary - at St Paul’s Church in Jarrow.

The pupils took part in an ‘All Age Service’, featuring interactive prayer stations that explored the world, the community, family and school within pilgrimage.

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Revd Lesley Jones, rector of Jarrow and Simonside, said: “The children really enjoyed being able to mingle with others from different schools.

“The children were so engaged. It was a fabulous morning with a great atmosphere.”

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Students were asked to write prayers for their school community.

Creative tasks included sticking post-it notes on globes, attaching felt leaves to a prayer tree and creating a path of paper footprints from the entrance of the chancel to the high altar.

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The Northern Saints Trails project has seen six long distance walks developed in the North East, to promote the role that the area had in the spread of Christianity.

The others are The Angel’s Way between Seaton Sluice in Northumberland and Chester-le-Street, the Way of Life from Gainford in County Durham to Durham City, the Way of Light from Heavenfield in Northumberland to Durham City, the Way of Love from Hartlepool to Durham, and the Way of the Sea from Warkworth to North Shields.

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They add to existing routes in the region marking the lives of its historic saints, including St Bede’s Way between Jarrow and Monkwearmouth in Sunderland (the twin monastic sites).

Bishop Paul led a service at St Paul’s Church in Jarrow.