On Saturday 6th September, on the eve of the Great North Run, two brief events were organised in St Thomas’s Church by the Rev’d Catherine Lack on behalf of Newcastle University’s Chaplaincy, and Dr David Golding CBE, a leader of North East CALL TO ACTION, the region-wide campaign on global poverty and climate change.
In addition to the main speakers, special guests included Judith Kirton-Darling MEP; Cllr Anita Lower, Leader of the Opposition on Newcastle City Council; and Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central. Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Engagement & Internationalisation) represented the University.
In the first, campaigns event, Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, thanked the university and region for its support for the campaign from its earliest years and spoke about current problems resulting from resurgent irresponsible lending. Paul Brannen MEP spoke about the challenge of responding to climate change, when we now have a major political force, UKIP, which is climate sceptical.
The second event, led by Rev’d Lack, was a ‘Service of Blessing for the Great North Run and those in need at home and abroad’, and focussed on peace and conflict. Readings included first hand accounts of those caught up in the First World War, on both sides of the conflict. Rt Rev’d Frank White, the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, based his address on the words of the Prophet Micah, “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”.
About 60 people attended the events, including a number of those participating in the Run on the following day, and several students displayed the logo’s, during the final blessing in the Service, of the various charities which benefit from the substantial fundraising efforts of the University/NE-CAP team.
‘Eve-of-Run’ Events: special guests, speakers and organisers outside St Thomas’s Church. Photo courtesy of David Golding, NE-CAP