A group of Christian German churchgoers were guests of honour in South Tyneside last week.
The visitors were from the borough’s twin town of Wuppertal.
And during their time in the borough, they paid a visit to meet the Mayor and Mayoress to celebrate their strong ties with a South Tyneside church.
This is the latest in a regular cycle of reciprocal visits by members of the Lutheran congregation in Germany and members of St Paul’s Church in Jarrow.
The get togethers are all part of the borough’s town twinning arrangements with Wuppertal, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, established more than half a century ago.
The group of 20 visitors, from Ronsdorf Lutheran Church, were welcomed by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Alan and Coun Moira Smith, with a special civic reception to celebrate their 40 years of friendship with St Paul’s.
Mayor Coun Smith said: “The Mayoress and I were honoured to be able to meet the congregation from Ronsdorf Lutheran Church and to help mark the tremendous 40 years of friendship between the Christian families and friends in Germany and England.
“The group’s latest visit further cements the already strong bonds between our twin communities, which we are extremely proud of, and long may it continue.”
The friendship between St Paul’s and the Ronsdorf Lutheran Church began when St Paul’s choir were hosted in Wuppertal-Ronsdorf by the town’s male voice choir.
Since then the exchange has continued and many close friendships have been formed between families in Jarrow and Ronsdorf.