Women priests take to the pulpit in South Shields and Jarrow

WELCOME PARTY ... the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham, right, and Mayoress Stella Matthewson, second from left, with the Rev Gillian Maude, left, and the Rev Elizabeth Campbell.
WELCOME PARTY ... the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham, right, and Mayoress Stella Matthewson, second from left, with the Rev Gillian Maude, left, and the Rev Elizabeth Campbell.
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SOUTH Tyneside’s churches are embracing girl-power at the double as two new vicars step up to the pulpit.

The Revs Gillian Maude and Elizabeth Campbell have taken up their ecclesiastical roles following a ceremony at St Paul’s Church in Jarrow.

Rev Maude is now priest in charge for Jarrow, while Rev Campbell will look after St Simon’s Church, in Wenlock Road, Simonside, South Shields, which has been without its own vicar for the past four years.

Both priests received their licences from the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler.

Rev Maude has moved to the borough from Torbay in Devon to take up her position to look after the churches of St Peter’s, St John the Baptist and St Paul’s, once home to the Venerable Bede.

She said: “It’s wonderful to be in this position. You meet so many different people in all phases and struggles of life.

“It is a huge privilege to be with people during significant points in their lives.

“Three years ago, I visited Jarrow as part of a pilgrimage to the Holy Island, so when I saw the post advertised, I applied.”

The service held at St Paul’s was attended by family and friends of both new priests from across the country.

Rev Maude added: “It was a wonderful celebration. Everyone has been extremely welcoming both within the church and out in the community, and I’m hoping, over time, to be able to visit local schools and community groups.”

Rev Campbell has moved to South Tyneside from Stonehaven in Scotland.

Rev Campbell said: “I was ordained with the Church of England and wanted to return.

“I have always been drawn to the North East of England so had been looking for posts that were available.

“I had never been to South Tyneside, but what I found was that when I arrived the people were so welcoming and friendly.

“I have already had inquiries for baptisms, and I am looking forward to getting out and meeting people within the community.”

The two new vicars were also welcomed to South Tyneside by the borough’s Mayor and Mayoress, Coun Fay Cunningham and Stella Matthewson.

Coun Cunningham said: “On behalf of the borough, I’d like to welcome Rev Maude and Rev Campbell. I am sure they will soon feel very much at home in South Tyneside.

“South Tyneside is a place where community spirit is still very strong, and I’m certain our two new vicars will play a key role within their respective parishes, offering pastoral care and support to those who seek it.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazette