The leadership of churches across Wearside will be strengthened with a host of ordinations this week.
The Diocese of Durham will welcome 17 new clergy with the ceremonies for deacons and priests as the Bishop of Durham, The Right Reverend Paul Butler leads the celebrations at Durham Cathedral.
Among them will be Simon Grundy, who will serve Herrington, St Aidan’s, Penshaw, All Saints, Shiney Row and St Oswald’s as a deacon.
The 36-year-old is also poised to raise cash for Christian Aid by running for sponsorship, and plans to set up a running club in his parish.
Simon, who studied theology at Durham University after training as a lawyer, said: “Running also became something that was a spiritual experience for me, where I’d let go what was on my mind or weighing me down, sometimes I’d pray as I ran.
“Realising that I was running away from what God was calling me to do and who he was calling me to be was a really significant point in accepting that God wanted me to become a vicar.”
Realising that I was running away from what God was calling me to do and who he was calling me to be was a really significant point in accepting that God wanted me to become a vicar.Simon Grundy
Others to also become deacons include Carol Harris, 50, who will serve in Wheatley Hill, All Saints and Wingate with Hutton Henry, Mark Mawhinney, 49, who will be based in Seaham, and Graham Young, 33, who will serve in St Mary’s and St Peter’s in Sunderland.
Those to become priests include Petrica Bistran, 32, who will serve Silksworth, St Matthew’s, John Estall, 35, who will serve at Washington, Holy Trinity, Muriel Peters, 66, who will work in Haswell, Shotton and Thornley, and Jacqueline Tyson, 61, who will be based at Sunderland Minster.