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


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#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

Images from our powerful Passion Play performed on Good Friday 2017

Crowds moved by a powerful performance of a modern day passion play in the centre of Houghton-le-Spring.

Jesus dies

This Good Friday saw the return of the Crucifixion Passion Play in Houghton-le-Spring: a musical Stations of the Cross featuring powerful music composed by Stuart Clappison. Crowds followed Jesus as he was brutalised by the guards, saw women take pity on Jesus, and watched as the roving reporter tried to report events back to the anchor woman in the news studio. The play was watched by large numbers of people including those filming on their phones from the top of double decker buses driving past!
Debra commented on Facebook:

“I don’t know how I held it together!! I could have sobbed buckets!! Well done to all the actors, readers, singers & musicians and everyone who had an involvement with this play!! Thrilled for my non church going son who stayed to assist me to see this. 🙏🏼 😊 awesome job guys xxx”

Thank you to all who set up the sound system and made the area safe, performed the music, acted in the play and to all of you who came and took part.
A prayer for Good Friday

God of love,
let us find stillness and silence today
as we remember the death of Jesus on the cross.
Help us to stand alongside those who feel abandoned or in pain,
and give us a love for one another
that is stronger than the fear of death.

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These photographs were taken by John Lambton.

A free theatrical event you won’t want to miss this Good Friday in Houghton-le-Spring

This Good Friday 14th April at 12noon will see the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels Church, Houghton-le-Spring become the setting of Jesus’ last hours. Crucifixion is a modern passion play performed by local people outside. The play uses music written and composed by Stuart Clappison and spectators walk with Jesus and become part of the crowd as he journeys to the cross.

In 2015 (when it was last staged) spectator Victoria Halpin said ‘It was an excellent performance. I really enjoyed it all’.

William Stott (22) who is playing Jesus this year said ‘I’m looking forward to literally walking in the footsteps of Jesus – I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing experience’.

All are invited to attend this free event. Gather at the archway of the church on the Broadway (opposite Rectory Park) in Houghton-le-Spring just before 12noon and come and walk with us to experience first-hand the greatest story ever told!

Here are some images from the last performance in 2015:

Jesus falls for the third time

Palm Sunday procession – photo gallery

We celebrated Palm Sunday in our usual style and were joined by two beautiful donkeys along with the fantastic Houghton Youth Brass band as we processed together from Rectory Park into church.

Sometimes they strew his way,
and his strong praises sing,
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then “Crucify!”
is all their breath,
and for his death
they thirst and cry.

Here might I stay and sing,
no story so divine:
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like thine.
This is my friend,
in whose sweet praise
I all my days
could gladly spend.

Many thanks to all those that made today happen and to John Lambton for the photos.

See you for our other services this Holy Week.

Crucifixion – a modern Passion Play for our times Good Friday 12noon – St Michael & All Angels Houghton-le-Spring

This Good Friday come and witness the greatest story ever told here in the grounds of St Michael and All Angels Church. Follow the story of Christ’s passion from his arrest through to his crucifixion in this unique, immersive experience. The performance begins at 12noon and is free admission.