Christmas Services and Events at St Michael’s – dates for your diary


Join us in celebrating the greatest news of all this Christmas – God with us!

These are our Christmas Services and Events:

Tuesday 13th December, 7.00pm – Light of Life Service 

A service to remember loved ones and dedicate a light on our Christmas tree

Wednesday 14th December, 7.00pm – Gilpin Singers Christmas Concert

£3 entry, enjoy a varied concert of music old and new, get in the Christmas spirit!

Saturday 17th December, 11.00am – Carol Singing in the Wild Boar Pub

Meet us in the Wild Boar for some carol singing – wear a Christmas jumper!

Sunday 18th December, 3.00pm – Christingle

A magical family service – all proceeds to Children’s Society

Christmas Eve

3.00pm Interactive Family Crib Service – a chance to take part in a nativity play and sing some carols

7.00pm Our Traditional 9 Lessons and Carols Service

11.30pm Midnight Mass

Christmas Day

8.30am Eucharist

10.00am Festival Eucharist


Please share this information on Social Media using the buttons below. Thank you!

Our Pastoral Assistants are recommissioned in a special service at Durham Cathedral

On Thursday 22nd June a special Commissioning Service was held at Durham Cathedral at which four of our Authorised Pastoral Assistants (APAs) were recommissioned. It was an opportunity to celebrate the often unseen work of our vital Pastoral Team here at St Michael’s in visiting those in our community with a variety of needs.

Our newly re-commissioned APAs

Thelma, Jacqui, Elaine and Evelyn have been serving as APAs for five years already and at this service re-dedicated themselves to continue in this ministry. Bishop Mark prayed this prayer after recommissioning the APAs:

Give to your servants the gifts of faith, hope and love, that they may execute the office of pastoral assistant to your praise and honour. May their hands be ready to do your work. May their eyes be open to recognise those in need. May their ears hear words of pain or sorrow. May their voices speak of healing and peace. As we welcome their ministry among us, may we support them and love them. Bless them with your presence and protection in all that they do; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pastoral care is at the heart of our ministry at St Michael’s and we are very blessed to have such a wonderful team and are delighted that they are willing to continue in their role here in Houghton-le-Spring. Please do pray for them and also for yourself. Might God be calling you to serve in a new way in the church? If you’re feeling a ‘nudge’ do speak to one of our APAs or to a member of the clergy.

“Ministry is the responsibility of the whole people of God. We are all ministers! Trained and equipped pastoral ministry is an invaluable part of this whole ministry of the whole church” – The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham

Walking in the footsteps of Bernard Gilpin – our #gilpin500 pilgrimage

On Saturday 17th June a band of happy pilgrims walked in the sunshine all the way from Houghton-le-Spring to Durham Cathedral as part of our Gilpin 500 celebrations.

Bernard Gilpin was an itinerant preacher, spending much of his time walking around Northumbria in order to preach the gospel. So following in his footsteps we had a pilgrimage together to Durham Cathedral, helping us to appreciate a slower pace of life and enjoy the sights on the way.

Once at the cathedral we had a short service of prayer in the Galilee Chapel and then our Gilpin Banners were processed as part of Choral Evensong.

Thank you to the Rev’d Margaret Lee and Rev’d Judith Howes for organising the pilgrimage and to Canon David Kennedy and Durham Cathedral for their hospitality.

We are all on a pilgrimage of faith together:

May God the Father who created you, guide your footsteps,
May God the Son who redeemed you, share your journey,
May God the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you, lead you on life’s pilgrimage,
and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you wherever you may go. Amen.

Here are some pictures from the walk on a rather hot but glorious day:

Setting off from Houghton

On our way towards Pittington

Leaving Pittington – about half way

Walking through fields

We can see the cathedral in the distance with its ‘hat’ on!

We reach Durham Old Gardens

Walking by the river while a cricket match is on

A welcome sight indeed!

Ready for a short service in the Galilee Chapel

The Bernard Gilpin window in Durham Cathedral


Houghton Deanery All-Age Pentecost Praise: Sun 4th June, 4.30pm, St Mary’s West Rainton

To finish our pilgrimage of prayer and worship across the churches of Houghton Deanery we are holding an all age service to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The service will be part of the fun day celebrations at St Mary’s West Rainton on Sunday 4th June at 4.30pm – bring all the family for a service of worship, praise and prayer as the people of Houghton Churches come together.


#PrayforManchester with us at Houghton Parish Church open 11am-1pm and Eucharist at 7pm

We are praying for the victims and families of the horrific attack in Manchester and giving thanks for the dedication of emergency and medical services.

Compassionate God and Father of all,
we are horrified at violence in Manchester.
It seems that none are safe, and many are terrified.
Be with all those in pain and anguish that they may know your healing love.
Hold back the hands that kill and maim; turn around the hearts that hate.
Grant your strong Spirit of Peace –
peace that passes our understanding, but changes lives,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

St Michael’s Church will be open between 11am-1pm to light a candle, reflect and pray for all those involved.

We will praying for and remembering all those killed, injured and traumatised by the bombing at 7pm Eucharist.

Saturday 17th June – #Gilpin500 Pilgrimage from Houghton-le-Spring to @DurhamCathedral

On Saturday 17th June we will be walking in the footsteps of Bernard Gilpin, Apostle of the North, from St Michael and All Angels Church, Houghton-le-Spring to Durham Cathedral.

Gilpin spent much of his ministry as an itinerant preacher, visiting the dangerous parts of Northumberland to bring the Gospel to the people – this gave him the epithet ‘Apostle of the North’.

Join us on a pilgrimage on Saturday 17th June as we walk the 9 miles from Houghton to Durham in companionship as we remember the ministry of our former Rector Bernard Gilpin.

Walkers will leave the church archway at 10.00am, bring a packed lunch if you wish or buy food en route.

At 4.30pm we will meet in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral for a short service of readings and prayers inspired by Gilpin. Then we will be processing our banners for Evensong at 5.15pm.

To take part in the walk, please sign up on the list at the back of church.

If you would like to attend Evensong only, you can meet us there or book a place on a minibus from Houghton Broadway – again, please sign up on the list at the back of church.

#Pledge2Pray Thy Kingdom Come with us in Houghton Deanery


“In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.”

– Archbishop Justin Welby


In Houghton Deanery we are going to gather for prayer and worship along with thousands of others around the world for the 9 days (traditionally called a Novena of prayer) between Ascension and Pentecost to bless our communities in Jesus’ name. Will you join us as we visit each other’s churches and pledge to pray? See how many of the churches in our Deanery you can visit in the 9 days!

Pledge to Pray with us

Please join us for our special services on Ascension Day and Pentecost Sunday. During the days between we will gather for prayer and then share lunch together at the times & churches outlined below – so bring a packed lunch!

Thursday 25th May at 7pm St. Barnabas Burnmoor, Deanery Ascension Day Eucharist

Friday 26th May at 11.30am St. Michael & All Angels Houghton

Saturday 27th May at 11.30am St. Aidan’s Herrington

Sunday 28th May at 12noon St. Oswald’s Shiney Row

Monday 29th May at 11.30am All Saints Church Penshaw

Tuesday 30th May at 11.30am St. Andrew’s Chilton Moor

Wednesday 31st May at 11.30am St. Matthew’s Newbottle

Thursday 1st June at 11.30am St. Barnabas Burnmoor

Friday 2nd June at 11.30am St. Michael & All Angels Easington Lane

Saturday 3rd June at 11.30am St. Cuthbert’s East Rainton

Sunday 4th June at 4.30pm St. Mary’s West Rainton, Pentecost All Age Praise and Worship Service (bring the bairns!)

If you can’t attend in person, you can pray in private each day through the ‘novena’. Take this as an opportunity to renew your own prayer life.

Why not use this prayer to pray for particular individuals?

Loving Father,

in the face of Jesus Christ

your light and glory have blazed forth.

Send your Holy Spirit that I may share with my friends

[Name & Name]

the life of your Son and your love for all.

Strengthen me as a witness to that love

as I pledge to pray for them,

for your name’s sake. Amen.

Find more ideas and resources online:

We are looking forward to praying with you!


The Gilpin 500 Music Festival 4-13 May 2017 Programme of Events

We are delighted to be offering as part of our Gilpin 500 celebrations, along with the Friends of Houghton Parish Church Trust a special Music Festival in May this year. There is literally something for everyone! Do put these dates in your diary – see you there!

Click on the following headings to find out more about each event:

4th May Houghton Brass and Houghton Area Youth Band

5th May A Night at the Musicals with John Barron from TV’s The Voice

8th May The George Whitfield Organ Concert with Dr Gordon Stewart

12th May Choral Evensong with Durham Cathedral Choir

13th May The Flytes in Concert live at the Kepier Hall