‘Spirit in Stone’ – inspiring youngsters with stories of the Northern Saints and the North East’s Christian heritage

Posted on: June 27th, 2018

A celebration event at Newcastle Cathedral will mark the completion of an exciting new digital multi-media resource inspired by the historic church buildings and stories of the Northern Saints.

Exploring Churches in North East England: A Schools’ Resource to support teaching Christianity in Key Stages 1, 2 &3
Project Celebration and Launch Event
Thursday 28th June 2018 at Newcastle Cathedral, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Helping us to celebrate ‘Spirit in Stone’ will be the Bishop of Newcastle, The Right Reverend Christine Hardman, also writer and broadcaster John Grundy and other members of the project production team.

The project has been designed to support the teaching of RE in schools in the North East. Copies, in a choice of DVD, USB and downloadable formats, are now being distributed free of charge to RE teachers across the region.

The content has been especially designed to support the schools’ RE curriculum, including learning about Christian symbols and beliefs through visiting churches, stories of the Northern Saints (Aidan, Bede, Cuthbert, Hilda, Oswald and Wilfrid), and the role of the arts in expressing Christianity.

It may also be used by churches, youth workers and Sunday School teachers, and in support of heritage engagement activities in and around historic churches.

The resource features dynamic multi-media materials for classroom and on-site use, including videos presented by John Grundy, animated cartoon characters and other actors including school children. Interactive screens feature a host of pop-up content, images, teachers’ materials and pupil activities.

The series of short video films, whilst aimed at school children, are also of wider public interest and enjoyable to watch. These are therefore being made available online through the Spirit in Stone website and YouTube and may be used in support of the promotion of visitor trails and themes related to the Northern Saints and the historic churches of the North East region.

Andrew Duff, who leads the Spirit in Stone project, said: “This has been an exciting and challenging project, involving a team of creative writers and presenters, filming at locations around the region, and building a unique interactive presentation to bring the content to life for classroom use. It has been such a privilege to have the opportunity to produce something that will help to equip teachers, engage youngsters, and celebrate the remarkable Christian heritage of the North East.”

The Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman said: “Our region is rich in Christian heritage and this video has brought its stories to life in a way that I’m sure will captivate children. It’s wonderfully creative and brilliantly delivered. Teaching our children about our Christian heritage and the lives of the Northumbrian Saints is a very stimulating and engaging way for them to better understand our faith, and to be inspired about how it can impact our everyday lives. John Grundy, the production team and everyone involved with the ‘Spirit in Stone’ project have given us a wonderful resource and I would urge our schools to consider adopting it.”

Archdeacon of Lindisfarne and Chair of the Newcastle Diocesan Education Board, the Venerable Peter Robinson said: “This video resource has succeeded in capturing everything that is special about the North East’s Christian heritage. I must congratulate everyone involved in the project for working so hard to bring this to a successful conclusion, giving us an exciting tool that I’m sure our schools will love.”

Elizabeth Baker, Tillytoo Tales Storytelling said: “The North East is such a rich resource for teaching Christianity in Religious Education: it was once part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria; the powerhouse for Christianity in the North. We hope that this resource will encourage and enable schools to explore their local church and other historic churches and sites in the region to learn more about the Christian heritage of the North East and the lives of some amazing northern saints.”