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We are congregations called to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ guided by the Holy Spirit to proclaim God’s Word. We seek to be inclusive and also to cooperate with churches of other denominations. We stress the importance of Bible Study, private and corporate prayer and worship and express our faith by engagement with the wider society and by stewardship of natural resources.
The five United Reformed Churches in the area covering lower Teesdale and Swaledale work together in a Mission Partnership, supporting each other’s mission to the area. The five churches are in Darlington, Northallerton, Barnard Castle and the two Swaledale villages of Low Row and Keld. The Tees-Swale Mission Partnership is still a growing concern seeking a meaningful relationship amongst the five constituent churches and the Keld Resource Centre (see link). The move towards a shared ministry, both ordained and lay, has made the churches seek a new vision that recognises the individuality of each fellowship and the realities of the geographical nature of the area but is committed to the teaching and preaching of the Gospel message and the importance of Christian involvement and action in both the local community and society in general.
The Northern Synod of the URC stretches from Northallerton to Berwick and the East coast to the Pennines. It includes over eighty congregations of varied size, urban and rural, linked together for fellowship, and ready through Mission Partnerships to be part of God's continuing mission to the world. Its churches are drawn from Congregational, Presbyterian and Churches of Christ traditions, and share a commitment to work and pray for the unity of all God's people. It is a Synod with a challenging geography, having the city of Newcastle as its operational hub and many of its churches within easy reach of Newcastle. Outside Newcastle, particularly to the north, the churches become more widely-spaced, in terms of travel time. To the south, communications are in general more enabling of joint enterprises by groups of adjacent churches.
The two Mallards could represent the area served by the Tees-Swale Mission Partnership. The famous steam locomotive was built in Darlington, a town renowned for engineering that has a unique place in the history of railways. The other mallard in flight epitomizes the rural freedom of the Yorkshire Dales.
The Mission Partnership’s geographical centre lies somewhere near Scotch Corner or the town of Richmond. Within an hour’s travel can be found the Museum of Modern Art in Middlesbrough, the Cathedral and Castle in Durham, the Sage and Baltic in Gateshead, the Metro Centre (shopping) south of Gateshead, and the varied attractions of York to the south. Within each of the churches localities: Barnard Castle has its castle and the Bowes Museum, Darlington its Railway Museum, Northallerton has nearby abbeys and stately homes while Low Row and Keld have everything for the walker and lover of the outdoors.