The Revd Keith Lumsdon Reviews 160 year celebration materials at St Luke's, Ferry Hill.

 The Revd Keith Lumsdon Reviews 160 year celebration materials at St Luke's, Ferry Hill.

The Revd Keith Lumsdon Reviews 160 year celebration materials at St Luke’s, Ferry Hill.
A County Durham church is preparing to celebrate its 160th anniversary, led by a vicar who recently marked a special achievement of his own. The parish church of St Luke in Ferryhill will mark the occasion in September and The Revd Keith Lumsdon has himself just completed 42 years as a clergyman and 25 at his current parish. Born in Cramlington, Northumberland, and trained as a teacher, he first worked as a clergyman at St Michael’s in South Westoe, South Shields. He said: “It was the days of the shipyards and there were four priests at the church, including an industrial chaplain who worked in the yards at Jarrow. We also had 120 Sea Scouts.” In time, he moved to work in Jarrow himself as part of Curate Jarrow Team, re-opening St John the Baptist Church and building the congregation up. After 14 years in Jarrow, he moved to St Luke’s at Ferryhill where he has been ever since, the parish eventually being expanded to take in Holy Trinity at neighbouring Cornforth. For Keith, it was a similar parish to those in which he served on South Tyneside, industrial but battling economic decline. Keith, who also does some teaching at local school Broom Cottage Primary, said: “When I came to Ferryhill, the pits had long gone. The last closure was in 1966 and people tended to look to Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor for work. “The job has constantly changed and evolved. Over the years, we have developed the parish, including the idea of lay leadership, which is important to us as it supports the work we do.. “I covered Holy Trinity on an interregnum a couple of times before it was decided that it made sense to expand the parish. “There has been a slow decline in congregation numbers down the years. We do get new people coming in but, unfortunately, we are losing our older people quicker. “For all that, we continue to develop the parish, which is exciting. The celebrations in September will pay tribute to that work.” St Luke’s itself had been dismantled and moved brick by brick to its current site between 1849 and 1853. The 160th celebrations between September 20-29 will include special services, including one with the Right Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, on Sunday September 22, a flower festival and a special concert. Keith, who also leads exchange visits to Germany, said: “I still enjoy the work, I retire in two years time and need to be planning for this new life, it’s the next stage in what has been an exciting journey.”

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